Friday, 21 February 2014

But I Will Always Hate You More

What does it mean to hate a professional wrestler?

Then question's more complicated than you'd think. After all, there are at least five different aspects of any given wrestler that can be loved or loathed.

For example, if I say "I hate Zema Ion" (which I did in my last review), what exactly do I mean by that?

Image © Mike Kalasnik via Flickr.

Do I hate him because he's a heel and we're supposed to hate the villains? Or do I hate his wrestling style? His acting? The performer Michael Paris himself as a person?

And the answer is none of the above: what I hate about Zema Ion is his gimmick and the way that it's written (although I'll go into more detail about that another time).

The point is that in professional wrestling, hate can get complicated quickly. Unless you dive into a long explanation of what you mean, it can be difficult to make it clear exactly what you're complaining about.

For Zema, I could say, "I really hate Zema Ion, but I'm sure Michael Paris is a great guy."

Using the ring name for the character and the real name for the performer separates the two aspects and makes it clear that you hate the fictional personality, not the real one.

But that doesn't always work. What about people who perform under their real names? TNA employs Jeff Hardy, Dixie Carter and Eddie Edwards to name just a few. And there is no way to say "I really hate Jeff Hardy, but I'm sure Jeff Hardy is a great guy" without sounding like an idiot.

Image © StrongBrush1 via DeviantArt.

And that's why I'm making this post: I want to make it clear that I criticise characters, not people.

I'm not friends with anybody from TNA. I've done Meet & Greets before, and I follow a lot of wrestlers on Twitter, but that's the extent of my contact with them.

I don't know them as people. I can't criticise them as people. And I never will.

But we do know the characters they play. We see them on television every week and get to know them as intimately as any other fictional character. And on top of that, I'm a writer: evaluating and critiquing characterisation is my bread and butter.

As such, I feel well within my rights to analyse, criticise and contemplate the gimmicks that wrestlers play, and to point out the elements that I like and dislike as I please.

I will always try to explain why I have the opinion that I do. Sure, sometimes, I'll just end up going on a long, exasperated rant if I feel that a particular character is irredeemable and should just be scrapped.

Image © chriscoven via DeviantArt.

But I will always give reasons for the way I feel, and – if I can – suggestions on what could be done to improve the character or fix the problems it has.

So what does it mean to hate a professional wrestler?

Almost anything you could want it to mean. So don't forget to elaborate.

– Stark

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