Friday, April 24, 2009

Bobby Dempsey and the hypocrisy of ROH uber-smarks

In January of 2008, I went to a Ring of Honor show for the first time. I wasn't sure what to expect, I had heard stories about the crowds, but I lived through the glory days of ECW, my buddy almost broke a guy's hand over a chain New Jack threw into the audience, so I was prepared.

...I was not prepared. I was expecting a hardcore crowd of old school ECW fans who wanted their money's worth and would let you know if they weren't getting it, instead I got a room full of nerds who just wanted to sound cool. Keep in mind, when I say nerds, I mean people who are nerdier than me, the guy who has a blog about pro wrestling. I really enjoyed the show in spite of the crowd, Ring of Honor is a fantastic organization, it's just a damn shame they can't get a higher class of fan. It's not even all the fans, just the ones that never shut the hell up during a match.

This show was during Joey Matthews (aka Joey Mercury of MNM) run in ROH, aligning himself with Age of the Fall, that night he was in a tag match with Jimmy Jacobs and a guy next to me would not stop heckling him. I distinctly remember the guy going nuts when Matthews did his "snapshot" taunt before hitting a move and the guy screamed something to the effect of "That WWE bullshit doesn't work here!" The anti-WWE sentiment continued through the night, during intermission, a Q&A session with Austin Aries was held where some doofus asked him what could possibly be the dumbest question ever, "Has Connecticut (WWE) ever tried to hire you and if so, how did you tell them to stick it?" If you need this anti-WWE point to be more illustrated, check out the forums on Ring of Honor's website sometime, you'll see what kind of fan I'm talking about.

Okay, so we hate WWE, I get that, I've been reading wrestling websites for almost 15 years now, that's nothing new. But today, I turned on Ring of Honor on HDNet from Saturday night and I see the crowd going nuts for... Bobby Dempsey? Not only that, going nuts over him in a match that lasted all of maybe fifteen seconds. I've got nothing against Bobby Dempsey or Ring of Honor doing something a bit more comical, but let's be honest here, this is a WWE-esque gimmick through and through. You can't be the type of fan that hates WWE for not being "real wrestling" (there's an oxymoron), then goes nuts for the funny-looking fat guy. It's like Eugene meets Rikishi, he's the kid no one believes in and we sympathize with him, but it's funny because he's fat and does funny poses.

Again, I'm not taking issue with all ROH fans, just the more obnoxiously vocal ones who are on the internet within minutes of coming home from a show to talk about "workrate," how do they reconcile something like this, which is the very definition of the smark kryptonite known as sports entertainment? Maybe Ring of Honor needs more Bobby Dempsey, he gets the crowd to lighten up. It's a wrestling event, not a real life version of a message board, it's okay to have fun.


  1. Well, those workrate cynics probably hated the show anyways, because all I've heard since the show has debuted is how Ring of Honor has jumped the shark since Gabe left. And I haven't seen a match like say a match of Man Up quality yet, but good god, there's still some fine pro wrestling there.

  2. Hilarious when people are so anti-WWE. That's the reason why they're into wrestling and they can't deny that.