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"Smart" Fans


Guest Steffie
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Guest Steffie

What is your opinion on the hardline 'smart' internet fans?

 

The most memorable moment I have when thinking of ?smark? fans is the night I looked up what they were saying about Jim Duggan, after I watched a video tape of his retirement speech from a 1998 edition of ?WCW Thunder? right before he was to go into an operation to try and avoid his bout with cancer.

 

In his very emotional speech Hacksaw referred to the internet smarks making fun of him, because of his low ?workrate? and, perhaps intentional, limited wrestling repertoire. When I watched this, I couldn?t help but think this though;

 

I'm watching a man who began his career before any of us ?smart? guys were even about. A man who has entertained fans for 20 years. A man I?ve always respected and loved to observe walk the aisle with his American flag and 2x4 when I was a young child. A man who forever had a smile for the kids and a temperate approach towards everybody I?ve listened to on shoot interviews who?ve met him. And through all this, he felt it needed to refer to the heartless denigration the ?smarks? laid upon him.

 

I went on the net that evening, and the common of references to Jim?s retirement were loaded with triumphant merriment. I couldn?t fucking believe it! These ?geniuses? were celebrating about a man having cancer! And for what reason? Because of his, in their words, low ?Workrate?

 

Well there?s nothing ?Smart? about that at all.

 

Complain if you must about an ex-footballer with low-rate who is stinking up the ranks of Pro Wrestling; complain if you must about a man with no passion for the business taking the big roles; complain if you must about someone constantly dominating the mainevent picture.

 

But when I heard things like ?Ric Flair should retire? ?Undertaker is overrated? or ?Shawn Michaels is too old? it always reminds me of Jim Duggan. These men have given us all special moments in our childhoods, hours of entertainment and have sacrificed their bodies for their love of this business. We have no right to tell a man who loves this sport to leave it, we?re merely on-lookers who they?ve proudly and readily entertained for their adult lives.

 

In truth, we have no idea what these men go through, in terms of family and bodily sacrifices, to be in the sport of kings and do what they love to do, so imagine what it must feel like for one of those men like Flair or Benoit, men who truly love the sport, to venture onto the net and see some new-age fan diminishing their skills and saying they should go away. Like I said, there?s nothing ?Smart? about that whatsoever.

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Guest The Man in Blak

Honestly, I don't call those fans "smart fans" or even "smart marks" - I call them "smarks", just as a reference to some of the idiots that used to crawl around Scott Keith's old community.

 

This habit comes from a lot of the writing on wrestling in general - fans who are newly initiated to the internet read recaps by Keith, CRZ, etc. and see comments based almost completely in the present (bitching about the Undertaker squashing people and holding guys down, for example). There's no context or history mentioned, so a lot of smarks grow into the "what have you done for me lately" mode, only caring about guys who can work four-star matches now.

 

I think it will all come back around to these people in five years or so, when current smark heroes like Benoit and Angle become broken down, a fraction of the worker that they used to be. These smarks, now long time fans, will now have the context and history to properly defend their careers against new smarks who will shred them to bits for not popping five snowflakes in every PPV.

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What is your opinion on the hardline 'smart' internet fans?

"What is a smart mark anyway? A mark with a high IQ?" -- Brian Pillman

 

I don't know that I fully understand what a "smark" is. I sure hope I'm not one. I'm also glad I'm not part of anything as morbid sounding as an IWC.

 

:)

 

The most memorable moment I have when thinking of ?smark? fans is the night I looked up what they were saying about Jim Duggan, after I watched a video tape of his retirement speech from a 1998 edition of ?WCW Thunder? right before he was to go into an operation to try and avoid his bout with cancer.

 

In his very emotional speech Hacksaw referred to the internet smarks making fun of him, because of his low ?workrate? and, perhaps intentional, limited wrestling repertoire. When I watched this, I couldn?t help but think this though

 

I'm watching a man who began his career before any of us ?smart? guys were even about.

The fact that Duggan's work was criticized has nothing to do with him contracting cancer. I think it's possible to say "I was never a fan of Duggan and I don't think he was that good of a performer" in the same breath as "Duggan getting cancer sucks and I hope he beats it and is able to take care of his family." The second part of that is just being humane, but it doesn't have anything to do with him being criticized for having bad matches. I didn't see anyone throwing insults at Ray Traylor when he died. People chose to look back on his career and recall their fondest moments. John Tenta has been wished well on most boards I've visited.

 

A man who has entertained fans for 20 years. A man I?ve always respected and loved to observe walk the aisle with his American flag and 2x4 when I was a young child. A man who forever had a smile for the kids and a temperate approach towards everybody I?ve listened to on shoot interviews who?ve met him. And through all this, he felt it needed to refer to the heartless denigration the ?smarks? laid upon him.

I know this has nothing to do with what you're saying really, but anyone who would call Duggan a bad worker for the entire duration of his career is either ignorant or stupid anyway. I've seen Duggan in great matches. Granted, by 1998, when he went under the knife, those matches hadn't happened in well over 10 years, but Duggan is a man, and like pretty much every wrestler that rose to stardom in the generation he did, he kept on going far longer than he should have. Look at Hogan. Flair. Savage. Piper.

 

I went on the net that evening, and the common of references to Jim?s retirement were loaded with triumphant merriment. I couldn?t fucking believe it! These ?geniuses? were celebrating about a man having cancer! And for what reason? Because of his, in their words, low ?Workrate?

I was online that evening in a pro wrestling chatroom, actually, and I remember it well. People actually were classy and wished him the best. I remember this same point and same scenario, almost word-for-word, being written in an article called "Smart Is As Smart Does" in the first issue of the now-defunct WOW Magazine back in 1999.

 

;)

 

I think like anything else, you're going to find both good and bad online. You probably wouldn't have found anyone at a board where there were adults who conducted themselves as such making fun of his plight. You would find, however, a lot of teenagers, looking to blend in and be cool, saying what they think is the right thing to say to "get over", if you will.

 

Well there?s nothing ?Smart? about that at all.

Agreed. I don't think anyone would call them smart.

 

Complain if you must about an ex-footballer with low-rate who is stinking up the ranks of Pro Wrestling; complain if you must about a man with no passion for the business taking the big roles; complain if you must about someone constantly dominating the mainevent picture.

 

But when I heard things like ?Ric Flair should retire? ?Undertaker is overrated? or ?Shawn Michaels is too old? it always reminds me of Jim Duggan. These men have given us all special moments in our childhoods, hours of entertainment and have sacrificed their bodies for their love of this business.

And they haven't done it for free, either. Flair, Undertaker and Michaels are all millionaires. Lord knows they've gotten plenty of my money over the years. They've been well-compensated for their efforts. Wrestling is about youth and it's a business. Taking someone like Ric Flair, who is my favorite wrestler ever, and giving him credit for the things he has accomplished in his career is nice. Being fair is pointing out that he is past the point of usefulness, is destroying his own legacy and should have left the business a long time ago.

 

We have no right to tell a man who loves this sport to leave it, we?re merely on-lookers who they?ve proudly and readily entertained for their adult lives.

Wrestling is not about wrestlers so much as it is fans. We can say whatever we want to say. Wrestling is not a sport, either. When they do those sappy vignettes with Shawn Michaels talking about the goosebumps he gets at Wrestlemania or whatever, you have to realize that's a lie. Wrestling is all a lie, a fabrication, a dirty secret, a con artist's game. I think there are a lot of wrestlers who love performing and who enjoy what they do for a living, striving to do it as well as they can. I think that's admirable. I think any of them who live and breathe the business all the time are pathetic and they have my pity.

 

In truth, we have no idea what these men go through, in terms of family and bodily sacrifices, to be in the sport of kings and do what they love to do, so imagine what it must feel like for one of those men like Flair or Benoit, men who truly love the sport, to venture onto the net and see some new-age fan diminishing their skills and saying they should go away. Like I said, there?s nothing ?Smart? about that whatsoever.

It's a tough business. They usually aren't forced into the profession, but they are often forced out, because wrestlers are worse than just about anyone in terms of knowing when to quit.

 

No offense, but your post made a lot of sweeping generalizations about the people who talk about pro wrestling online, and when you do it yourself, you're just as much a part of it as anyone else. There is no clear cut majority of a "type" of fan who goes online.

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I think it will all come back around to these people in five years or so, when current smark heroes like Benoit and Angle become broken down, a fraction of the worker that they used to be.  These smarks, now long time fans, will now have the context and history to properly defend their careers against new smarks who will shred them to bits for not popping five snowflakes in every PPV.

Again, I have to ask which people you're talking about?

 

Chris Benoit is a shell of his former self. Anyone who purchased his DVD and saw the matches he was putting out a decade ago compared to what he is doing now should be able to see that quite clearly. He's even been referred to as "Fat Elvis" in some circles because he's slipped so much. So this has already happened. That said, anyone who attempts to look at everything objectively can acknowledge that he was one of the best in the world at one time and the way they see him now doesn't affect the way they remember him at all. Benoit is still good -- he's Chris Benoit and as long as he can do at least a fourth of what he was doing in the ring in his prime, he'll always be passable, but he's not the same Benoit he used to be. I still think he's one of the 10 or 20 greatest wrestlers of all time. I say that knowing he's regressed considerably.

 

In Kurt Angle, you have someone who has spent the majority of the past few years injured because he tried to do too much too soon. You won't find nearly as many people going to bat for him in 2005 as you would have in 2002. I'm sure those who praised him then still think just as highly of that period of work for him (at least some of them), but they're not deluding themselves into thinking he's the same Kurt Angle. Even Dave Meltzer, Angle's biggest cheerleader, has acknowledged it.

 

Look at how Shawn Michaels has been received by online fans since coming back. Look at how he was regarded before. The Undertaker wasn't really criticized all that much for his professionalism until he started doing things that were unprofessional.

 

When it comes down to it, wrestlers are all going to be judged on their actions, and those of us watching on who have been watching for a long time and are level-headed about it will be able to appreciate the past without giving false praise to the present.

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Guest TheShawshankRudotion

Holy Romanticism Batman.

 

A fan has a right to look at the product any way he/she wants to. I don't freely give out respect to wrestlers because they stepped in the ring, it's a seedy profession that inherantly and traditionally looks down on the fans. You think "mark" is an affectionate term? Once someone pays to watch wrestling, the wrestlers are not owed anything other than a paycheck for their performance, while the fan is owed their money worth. If the fan feels like he/she is not getting his/her money worth, then they can either make their feelings known or take it into their own hands and make it enjoyable for themselves.

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Guest The Man in Blak

I think it will all come back around to these people in five years or so, when current smark heroes like Benoit and Angle become broken down, a fraction of the worker that they used to be.  These smarks, now long time fans, will now have the context and history to properly defend their careers against new smarks who will shred them to bits for not popping five snowflakes in every PPV.

Again, I have to ask which people you're talking about?

 

Chris Benoit is a shell of his former self. Anyone who purchased his DVD and saw the matches he was putting out a decade ago compared to what he is doing now should be able to see that quite clearly. He's even been referred to as "Fat Elvis" in some circles because he's slipped so much. So this has already happened. That said, anyone who attempts to look at everything objectively can acknowledge that he was one of the best in the world at one time and the way they see him now doesn't affect the way they remember him at all. Benoit is still good -- he's Chris Benoit and as long as he can do at least a fourth of what he was doing in the ring in his prime, he'll always be passable, but he's not the same Benoit he used to be. I still think he's one of the 10 or 20 greatest wrestlers of all time. I say that knowing he's regressed considerably.

 

In Kurt Angle, you have someone who has spent the majority of the past few years injured because he tried to do too much too soon. You won't find nearly as many people going to bat for him in 2005 as you would have in 2002. I'm sure those who praised him then still think just as highly of that period of work for him (at least some of them), but they're not deluding themselves into thinking he's the same Kurt Angle. Even Dave Meltzer, Angle's biggest cheerleader, has acknowledged it.

 

Look at how Shawn Michaels has been received by online fans since coming back. Look at how he was regarded before. The Undertaker wasn't really criticized all that much for his professionalism until he started doing things that were unprofessional.

 

When it comes down to it, wrestlers are all going to be judged on their actions, and those of us watching on who have been watching for a long time and are level-headed about it will be able to appreciate the past without giving false praise to the present.

I was referring to the "bad" segment of online fandom, which isn't really present here.

 

As you said, you're going to find good and bad anywhere you go, really. In your post, you spoke of the good - I don't see anything wrong with the "Fat Elvis" moniker (in fact, it's a very accurate description of Benoit's decline). In Steffie's post, the bad were the immediate focus. While some gross generalizations were made, I do think that Steffie has the right to be irritated by this particular subset of fans and, in my opinion, this subset is large enough that it can't be treated as though it doesn't exist.

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I think the biggest problem in the Smark community is the tendancy of fans to blindly follow the group. If the going opinion states that Wrestler X is a bad wrestler, or the latest move made by some promotion sucked, not many are willing to dispute it.

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Guest Hunter's Torn Quad

That also creates a counter culture of people who go against what they see as the majority opinion of the 'smart fans', for no other reason than to be seen as rebelling, and acting like they have minds of their own.

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I remember getting into huge flamefights with people because I dared to say something outside the Offically Accepted Opinon on things and have people just dogpile on me for the sake of it. So the evil side of online fandom Man in Blak spoke of does exist, we've just done a good job filtering that side out around these parts.

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I think devil's advocacy has a place, but when certain fans start doing it just for the sake of being different, as HTQ said, it's trolling. These are typically the people who say RVD was never over enough to be a main eventer, or HHH is the best worker in the company, or that Ric Flair held down everyone around him in the old NWA, or that Kevin Nash is great, or that Vince McMahon was in the right at Survivor Series '97, or that Chris Benoit was never really that good because he couldn't work the mic. If I thought those opinions had any validity or I thought the people saying them truly believed them, they wouldn't phase me at all, but message boarding is often more about ego than content.

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To be honest, I don't even know how to reply to this thread. Regardless of what I type, I feel that I'll come off as being hypocritical. How can an on-line fan, whom reads and types on "The SMART MARKS" website all day long not consider himself a "smark?" So, if I were to say anything negative about them, I'd be saying it about myself. If I were to say anything positive about them, or decline my being one, it'd be hypocritical.

 

That being said, some fans just plain suck. Regardless of if they're on-line or not, some people are just assholes. That's just the way that it is. Going against the grain, going with the flow, whatever. As a wrestling fan, you're not going to agree with everyone else about everything. There's going to be arguments, disputes, rebuttals, etc. It's the same with everything in life. Some people just straight suck.

 

Personally, I like to talk about and discuss wrestling. I love to read about it. I want all the information I can get from it. I love reading the wrestling novels just to hear the stories of shit that went down off-camera. I like knowing what's going on behind the scenes. All of it.

 

On the other hand, the day I stumbled across internet sites was the day that I quit being a "mark." Being a "mark" was actually more fun. I didn't take everything so seriously. I didn't worry about what a wrestler would say since it might bury someone else. I didn't care about who could "work" and who couldn't. I didn't notice things like botched spots, miscommunication, blade jobs, etc. It's like I can't "turn it off" and just watch anymore. It factors into every aspect of the business now. When a new wrestler is coming up I look to see what tools he brings to the table. If he has a good look, if he can wrestle, if he gains heat, natural charisma, etc. I didn't use to do that. I use to just watch him and be entertained. Now it takes different things to entertain me. Workrate for example.

 

Years ago, when I was still a "mark" I would've hated Muhammed Hussan's guts. I probably would've chanted USA at my TV. Now though? When he comes out, I anticipate a good, degrading, anti-USA promo. I look for similarities to The Iron Shiek, The Shiek and possibly even Sabu. I realize that he's subpar in the ring, and that if he gets in a feud with Benoit, it'll drop Benoit down to a level that he shouldn't be at. I don't look at it like "Benoit isn't going to take this shit! He'll suplex that arab and make him tap out!" I look at it like Hussan is green, has an unoriginal gimmick, probably would be outwrestled by his manager and Benoit has to try to make him look good so WWE can push Hussan.

 

I'm jaded. I'm fickle. I'm exposed.

 

I couldn't tell you if that's good or bad. I don't know if it's better to be a "smark" or a "mark." Each have their benefits, and each have their weaknesses. At least I get to talk about it more this way. It provides me with MORE entertainment, because shows don't have to be on for me to be involved with wrestling. On the other hand, it's hard to hold conversations with people that you run into in the streets. Said to say, but when I run into them, I almost feel like I'm better than them. It should never get to that level. What do I do when I run into someone that says Triple H is the Game and can beat anyone? I can't start talking about him porkin' Steph whom writes the shows.

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