Celebrity gets (proverbially) knocked down, and the public is there to kick him every chance they get. The same holds true in pro wrestling, as fans follow the gossip sites and dirtsheets. What was Sunny arrested for again? Scott Hall’s in a wheelchair? Hey remember when the Hardy Brothers were doing drugs and being fat all the time?
When news of Jack Swagger’s arrest for DUI and possession of marijuana hit TMZ, the ‘beating’ began. Good god, lots of funny tweets. And a lot of dopes recycling the same ‘WEED THE PEOPLE’ joke. I sure did my part. It was a moment, and now it’s old (hours) news.
I have my own views on marijuana; as in, I don’t like it or get why people use it. I think it’s stupid to be caught with anything that’s illegal, whether you’re a nobody or someone who makes a living being on TV. So I already have formed a basis for an opinion out of the gate.
Yes, people make mistakes. I ‘know’ Jack Swagger, but I don’t know Jacob Hager, and it was Jacob who got arrested. Maybe I don’t have a right to talk about him like I do. The same is true for everyone else out there. We know Jack the wrestletainer dude on TV, the goofy all-American American, former WHC and current zealot. But in real life, the guy is a human being, husband, father, friend. Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re a fan of a character, not a human being. And the character isn’t the real guy. We know this by now in wrestling, it’s sort-of the general rule.
Do I feel a little guilty kicking the guy while he potentially pisses away his career and burns himself and others? Sure. I’m an imperfect human being, who hates when he makes mistakes. I can sometimes joke when I do something stupid or wrong; it’s how I cope with doing something wrong and fixing, or dealing with, that wrong. But I’m a nobody known for nothing, so for most, there’s no fun in making light of something stupid I do.
What he did was stupid. Why the hell would you do that? You’re not the first wrestler to get caught by the cops. You’ve been handed a second chance from the WWE, this big storyline and mainstream press, and you get busted for weed and an elevated BAC? It’s terrible judgement and no regard for anyone but yourself and your current place and moment.
I can only hypothesize what was going through his mind at the time…maybe he was celebrating this ‘career rebirth’ a little too much? But we don’t see Jack Swagger on TV with a beer and a bong. And I don’t even know ‘Jake’ Hager, the guy with the mugshot and police report.
I feel bad when I join the herd and kick someone when they’re down. I think more people do feel the same way, but we enjoy the humor involved. I think we also sometimes enjoy not having a spotlight on ourselves.
What should I tumble about next? I stink at this.
A year and a half ago, I split off my Twitter account (way to sound like the CEO of a Fortune 500 company) to serve two audiences: my friends, and everyone else. I am probably a bit of an over-sharer on social media, but I also am somewhat protective of my life. Since joining Twitter a few years ago, I have gone back and forth locking and unlocking my feed, switching between friends-only and complete access. When you’re online, don’t be a total coward, but also make sure what you say and do doesn’t blow back into your real life. However, I also like being a wise-ass. I’ll say things that are a bit off-color or lowbrow, and unfortunately, this doesn’t please everyone. So I keep my personal account locked.
Being unemployed, I understand the importance of managing your reputation online. Would one thing I said on Twitter two years ago really cost me a job offer? So a year and a half ago, I started a new Twitter account, open for all to see.
This was mostly spurred by my…adoration, obsession, need, whatever…to offer my opinions on pro wrestling, which I am a huge fan of. And baseball, too. It took me some time to figure out why all the wrestlers I was writing from my (now locked) personal account weren’t responding to my tweets. I’ve seen other people create and grow a respectable audience for their views and take on the world of professional wrestling, and so I threw my hat in the ring.
(FYI – I’m not giving that link out here. I can’t just tell a company that might hire me, ‘Hey, I may say these bad words, or make that joke, but I do it for fun!’)
Through hashtagging, search terms, and word-of-mouth, I slowly started to add followers. I really owe it to the few friends I have that like pro wrestling, and my brother, another fan. For some reason, most of my friends have zero interest in it (which is another reason I created the other Twitter account). I currently have 182, mostly human followers. I think I do a very good job weeding out spammers, bots, and people who have no interest in pro wrestling, so I feel it’s a fairly honest number. People don’t often go through their list to weed those accounts out, or they even buy followers to blow their numbers up. I only interact with a fraction of that number, probably because I don’t usually follow-back (seeing #TeamFollowback in a new follower’s bio generally gets them blocked). If you want to follow me, great. Talk to me or give me some idea that you’re a real person interested in my offerings.
And through this year-plus leading this double-life, I’ve mostly had fun with it. I remember my phone blowing up when CM Punk, THE top wrestler right now, re-tweeted something I wrote for his hundreds of thousands of followers to see.
I think my initial idea for the other account was to be a little different, and a bit removed from my ‘real’ self. That went out the window pretty quick. In terms most wrestling fans understand (or think they do), I ended up dropping my gimmick, and opted to shoot. And between the pro wrestling thing, and how bad my Mets have been recently, I don’t do a lot of tweeting about baseball. But I mix things up, and offer lots of views on totally unrelated, random things. This morning, I live-tweeted The Price is Right, a sign that I am very unemployed. I can get my sense of humor out to the few people that follow my personal account, but there’s millions more outside that bubble, and the other account serves that purpose.
However, I’ve grown frustrated — or jealous, to be honest — with how slow it has been for me to grow my audience. Maybe it’s an inflated ego. I see much less funny or thought out tweets, by people with many more followers, get more re-tweets and responses than what I come up with. Monday nights (and Sunday nights, when there’s a pay-per-view) are very busy for the people who tweet or follow pro wrestling on Twitter. With the WWE begging us to use hashtags all night, Twitter gets bottlenecked with users interacting with what they’re watching, and who they’re watching it with.
Maybe it’s trying to cut through the crowd to get myself out there. I don’t sell t-shirts, run a YouTube, or have boobs, so I have to rely on offering a humorous or unique point-of-view. In other words, being myself. I give some credit to people who have taken their interest in pro wrestling, and made it into something more. If you can’t BE a pro wrestler, I guess it’s the next best thing.
Some days, I feel like quitting. It’s stupid and petty to be looking at people’s followers, or how many retweets they get, and getting upset at it. I got chewed up by the social hierarchy in high school, so if I had to play amateur psychologist, that may be a contributing factor. I may go through a Monday night with maybe one reply, or one or two RTs. Yuck.
No, it’s probably an ego thing. And a bit of a lack of effort. Even with all this time on my hands, I don’t have all the time in the world to tweet non-stop about pro wrestling. I’m getting married in three months. I’m looking for work. I try to not sit in front of the computer all day, unless I’m tweeting AND looking for work at the same time. Which is a pretty bad combination. I also am somewhat aware, maybe too much, of the stereotype around pro wrestling fans. Fat males, losers, obsessive, etc. I’d rather not play to the stereotype, and I challenge my followers to be different, too.
I also don’t take as much time writing other people. Twitter is about conversation, as much as it’s about flouting your ego and feeling like the center of the universe. People use the search function to do this, or use the hashtag feature to follow along with something happening in real-time. Outside of what I see on my time-line, I don’t generally look at what strangers have to say about anything. So I’m not using social networking to necessarily network, but to maintain the current network I have. I will be rethinking that in 2013.
I realize this whole thing is stupid. File it under #firstworldproblems. I’m grateful to have a voice and be able to express it. I have some very cool people following me, some of them are actual wrestlers. I may crap on their company and express my negative opinion on a story, or on another wrestler (maybe even a friend of theirs). I’m glad to have the audience I have now. But it’s hard to put down the power of social media now, and it has become a playground of the electronic, worldwide variety. Where ‘everyone’ wants to be popular and the center of attention. I get annoyed seeing the same people RTed, or get responses from wrestlers. Rather than spam everyone else’s feeds, I have to look for a creative way to get my ideas and humor out there.
2013 will be a year of change for me, and how I handle Twitter will be one of them. It won’t be the most important thing I do. But how do I ask my fiancéeif I should live-tweet our wedding?
One of the things I wanted to do with this microblog was to review Chris Kanyon’s autobiography, a very fascinating and ultimately heartbreaking book about Mortis/Chris Kanyon, former WCW and WWE wrestler. I never really got that off the ground, one of many little ideas floating around in my brain that will probably never really get fleshed out.
I’m big on nostalgia, and as a fan of pro wrestling for 15 years, I get nostalgic about that, too. As Mortis, Chris Kanyon was one of my favorites to watch in WCW. From the highly-detailed spooky outfit, to the flashy moves in the ring (and that theme music, which still plays in my head), to James Vandenberg and Wrath flanking him, he was one of the first of my favorite ‘undercard’ guys.
I watched him go from this Mortal Kombat-inspired character, to aligning with Raven, to Hollywood superstar (via his involvement with the Ready to Rumble movie), to Alliance MVP. He would fall off the radar after he was released from WWE in 2004, and unfortunately, his life got cloudy after that. Depression. Bi-polar disorder. And, as I found out from reading his autobiography, trying to come to terms with his homosexuality. Chris took his life in 2010, a sad and unfortunate loss not just for his friends in and out of pro wrestling, but for his fans, too.
I’ve been aware of “Mor-Ta-Da” with the NWS group for a little while now - the promotion bills this character as a ‘tribute to Mortis’. Completely classless, in my opinion. Unfortunately, a precedent has been set with a varied number of people competing as masked wrestlers Doink and the Patriot, since their fall from the limelight in the 90’s.
Recently, I came across information on an event in my area for NWA New Jersey. Like many small-time groups, the show is a mix of former national superstars (in this case, Brutus Beefcake and Greg Valentine) and local talents. Also advertised for this show…well, see the poster for yourself:
Yes, ‘Mortis’ would be appearing on this show, too. Whether this is the same Mor-ta-Da from NWS, I’m not certain, but I also wouldn’t be surprised. I posted my displeasure on the event’s Facebook page, where one of the employees of the group stated that “Mortis will be in action at the event. Needless to say, Kanyon will not.”
I was never a fan of Doink or the Patriot, but I find the tarnishing of their individual legacies to be a crock of crap, too. Is there an official count of how many people have portrayed both these characters? This was a bit more personal, though. How can someone put on a costume and pretend to be Chris Kanyon? I watched Mortis and Chris Kanyon, and I respect the performer for what he did in the ring. He entertained me and millions of others. Chris had a family and a group of friends who knew him as Mortis AND as Chris. I’m just a fan, but Chris held, and still holds, my respect. That should be a high honor, for the performers in the ring and for the fans who invest so much time, interest and money in professional wrestling.
I’m a firm believer in the power of social media. A bunch of regular people in the Middle East prefer to use it for greater things. I currently use it for sports and things I say that I think are funny. I wanted to get the word out on this fraud and knew just how to do it - pass it up the food-chain. I made Shane “Hurricane” Helms, who was a close friend of Chris’, aware of the event. He, in turn, let his hundreds of thousands of fans and friends know. Shane was a friend and co-worker of Chris, and had every right to be even more pissed about it than I was. His fans sounded off on it as well, and many of them, like me, remembered watching Kanyon/Mortis on their TV. They didn’t want to let this pass, either. Other wrestlers sounded off as well, and the last thing you want to do as a promotion (I prefer calling these jokes a shindy) is piss off other wrestlers. Your reputation will be destroyed.
Lo and behold but a few hours later, the skeevy promoter of this shindy event put out word that the guy who claimed to hold the Mortis copyright DID NOT actually have the right to the name and image, and therefore, would not be appearing at the show. We exposed these phonies, and the shindy had no choice but to pull this joke off their show.
Let Chris Klucsartis rest in peace. He was Mortis, and he was Kanyon. In his private life, he was also a friend, a son, a brother to some. To me, he was a great wrestler. He was entertaining. And he earned my respect. It’s sad that people who may be or may think they are in “the business”, did not have the same respect for the professional OR the person.