So apparently there's been this thing brewing around tonight's Raw in Chicago. We all know a Chicago crowd is going to be raucous no matter what, but adding in the recent friction between WWE and WWE fans, coupled with CM Punk's departure the night after the Rumble is probably going to result in the boiling point of all this... whatever it is you want to call what's been happening to WWE lately. My personal word of choice is "frustration."
So some elements of the internet, I hesitate to say Chicago crowd because I think a lot of folks on the bandwagon don't even live in Illinois or the surrounding area, have taken it upon themselves to start the #HijackRAW movement. Here is their mission statement of sorts (I hate the phrase 'mission statement,' by the way):
Now, I've spent the better part of the five years I've been writing about wrestling slamming this kind of self-entitled, put-ourselves-over nonsense, but quite frankly, I'm tired. Instead of talking about why this is wrong and stupid, let's make it better. Let's #MakeRawFun.
In all honesty, most of this stuff is pretty harmless if done right, so let's go down the list of Dos and Don'ts:
DO: Turn your back to Batista/Orton/HHH/Stephanie McMahon segments
Definitely do this for Triple H, that would be awesome. If you could get a sizable portion of the TV audience to literally turn around when HHH is on-screen, it would be the greatest crowd reaction since Miz Girl. Hell, they'd put that in his TitanTron.
You can turn your back for Randy Orton too, but when you turn around, keep walking up the stairs and buy some nachos.
DON'T: Chant "same old shit" if any of those people wrestle.
Unacceptable. Don't mess with a TV broadcast by chanting stuff that's going to cause them to pull the audio or mess with the delay. Besides, making noise is all that matters to WWE, if you're chanting, they're doing their job. If you genuinely don't want to see Orton, Batista or HHH wrestle, go to the concession stand. Did you listen to John Cena on Steve Austin's podcast? They were talking about the Rumble and the crowd revolt against the match, Cena's reaction? He loved it. Saying the only time a wrestler needs to worry is when the crowd goes to get a t-shirt. Want to send a message? Leave the crowd during Orton's match and go buy Daniel Bryan's t-shirt.
DO: Chant "NO NO NO" at HHH/Bryan, chant "YES YES YES" for Bryan
Perfectly acceptable. Have fun, blow the roof off the place for Bryan, cheer whenever the prospect of Bryan as WWE Champion comes up. Nothing wrong with booing when a match with HHH comes up either, just like the crowd let JJ Dillon know that Sting wanted Hogan when he could only communicate via sign, like Wile E. Coyote.
DON'T: Chant "CM Punk" relentlessly
Is Punk coming back tonight? I don't know. If he's on-screen, chant "CM Punk!" if he's not, don't. If Punk's coming back tonight, you'll get to chant your little hearts out. If he's not, there's clearly nothing that can be done to bring these two parties back together right now, so just let it go. WWE knows you want to see CM Punk, say what you will about their creative direction of the last year, they want you to see CM Punk too. But maybe Punk doesn't want to be seen? In that case, respect his decision to walk away and cheer for the people that are there.
DO: Chant "We Want Ziggler."
But, buyer beware, you also chanted "We Want Ryder" and we know how that turned out.
DON'T: Cheer "Let's Go Wyatts"
They're bad guys. Bad guys with a cool mystique. Respect the mystique and respond to them appropriately, boo them. I know this one's a bit of a stretch, even WWE encourages you to cheer for who you want, but the Wyatts don't need a pep squad, they need to be feared. Booing a heel who's doing their job is the ultimate sign of respect, I loved Edge, but booing him at his peak was some of the most fun I've ever had at a wrestling show.
And I'm going to add some that aren't on the list:
DO: Be a part of the show
A lot of people are bashing this movement as a bunch of delusional nerds, but let's not automatically dismiss the entire thing. Isn't it nice that there are people who care enough about wrestling who are willing to make some noise and have fun out there? A hot crowd can make a bad show good and a dead crowd can make a good show bad, so let's celebrate the fact that we're almost guaranteed an exciting show. I'd much rather have a loud, if perhaps slightly unruly, crowd than one sitting on their hands.
DON'T: Be the show
But don't take that as an excuse to be an asshole. "JERRY LAWLER!" "JBL!" "HUSKY HARRIS!" and "YOU FUCKED UP!" chants have got to go. Permanently. Remember, you are the third man in the ring, you are not the man in the ring, a very important distinction that "smart" crowds often don't get. This is not ECW, ECW's been gone for a long, long time, this is WWE. It's not the theater, you don't have to applaud politely, it's not stand-up comedy where your job is only to laugh, but there is a line that we as fans often cross.
At the end of the day, you paid your money, you get to do whatever you want, provided you don't ruin someone else's experience or jeopardize the show by getting the audio pulled, throwing something in the ring, or hopping the rail (though I do love when wrestlers beat the shit out of rail hoppers). Basically... have fun. I know it's been a frustrating time to be a wrestling fan, I'm so annoyed as of late with the mind-boggling storytelling they have going on, but being an asshole isn't going to do anything except widen the gap between the industry and its fans.