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Sign confiscation at wrestling events


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From 1Wrestling:

 

My name is Jeff Lorenc, I am writing an open letter to Vince McMahon and the WWE. Last night I attended the RAW show in Binghamton NY. I had 5th row on the floor (First row of risers on the floor). I was all over TV with my pink shirt and my signs. However, I felt violated as an American last night. I made signs that said "RUCK CENA" (The Cena shirt that says RUCK FULES) and "WE CAN'T SEE CENA... THANK GOD!". You could see these during the match. After the first commercial break sometime if you have RAW video taped, the signs disappear. I had a WWE guy wearing a RAW polo shirt walk by and without even looking at me or stopping literally rip the signs out of my hand and said "I'll be taking these". Everyone in my section was stunned as to why WWE would take these signs. Me now P.O.'ed decided to voice my opinion about how Triple H is hogging all the time on RAW and held up my "PUSH HHH" sign, knowing they would take it. That can be seen on camera. After the first commercial break before Tomko gets tagged in, you can see me jump off the bleachers. The WWE guy again ripped the sign out of my hands and told me to come with him. He pulled me off camera and told me that if he has to take one more sign from me, he would place me on the other side of the camera in the corner where no one could see me. (There were lots of empty seats in the arena on the camera side. The place was NOT sold out like they claimed). I then asked him what was wrong with my signs. I said they were not in bad taste and had no bad words on there and they did have to do with wrestling. His only response was "They don't want them in the back". I asked him what was approperate he said "If you don't know what is then don't hold any up". I am a HUGE Christian fan, and i can't stand Cena that's why I made the anti-Cena signs. To have the WWE rip the signs out of my hands with no explanation is totally wrong. The WWE always preaches freedom of speech, and they claim to listen to us fans, well how can we voice our opinions if they keep doing this? Why did the WWE not take my # 1 PEEPS sign that I held up for Christian? I BOO AND CHEER FOR WHO I WANT, NOT WHO YOU TELL ME TO WWE. Why didn't WWE take away the newspapers the whole second row put in front of their faces and read during the Master's segment (Funny stuff). Congratulations Vince and company, I was planning on giving you $150 + for ringside Great American Bash seats and $40 + for SmackDown! seats two nights later. After last night, I will NEVER attend another WWE event. You screwed me last night Vince, now SCREW YOU!

I personally hate signs and wish they'd go back to the old days of darkening the arena, because I think the only reason to hold a sign is to put yourself over as clever when the show is not about you, but I know I'm in the minority, and WWE really shouldn't take away any signs unless they have obscene language. Vince does go on and on about free speech and listening to the fans, but when something is said that contradicts his vision, he snaps. There was nothing on any one of these signs that should have been confiscated, and it can't just be coincidental that around the time they started doing this (the Austin/Rock build to WM X-7), the product started to suffer. I can't see any fan who has a sign taken away ever paying to see WWE again. Your thoughts?

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I am on the complete opoosite side of the fence. I think that if a fan makes a sign, that does not obstruct the view from someone else during a match and has no bad words then they should be able to display it. That was one of the great things about the Monday Night wars environment, seeing the signs. Watching each show to see what some jackass would put up.

 

If you really want the fans to feel like they are a part of the show, confiscating signs is not the way to win back fans yo ualready lost or keep the ones you already have.

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Signs are annoying live, you spend your cash on a ticket only to spend most of the show looking at the back of someone's poorly made "HHH IZ TEH SUX0R" sign.

 

On TV it's distracting because everyone in the crowd on the camera side seems more interested in seeing if their sign gets on TV than what's going on in the ring.

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Do you think the idea of taking a sign to an event is self-absorbed and is just a way to get on TV? I agree that they shouldn't take them away if they're going to allow them at all, but I'd rather them stop allowing them altogether, even if I understand why they do.

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Sure, it can be self-absorbed but it is one of the few ways the crowd can interact with the product. Wrestling during the Monday night wars was as much about the event than the actual show.

 

If they just banned signs than you take away part of that atmosphere. You make your signs, you get on a few seconds of TV, you go home happy. No problem. But what kills me is this groupthink ideal and the fact that McMahon now does what he used to claim WWF never did AND what he would lambast WCW for doing. If the crowd is too smart ofr your product than maybe you need to smarten your product up instead of trying to dumb down your audience.

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I tend to agree a little with both sides. I don't think they should allow signs at shows, but since they do they shouldn't bust people's balls over signs that aren't obviously offensive.

 

I keep seeing people mention the Monday Night Wars, but those are long over and signs in the crowd seem as dated as the RAW set.

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Signs existed before, of course, but you didn't see people putting themselves over to the extent they do now.

 

I just think it's a distraction to the people who want to watch the show they paid to see without some moron's unfolded Piggly Wiggly bag in their face.

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Guest Cam Chaos

It's a live event and as long as the fans don't start jumping in the ring or breaking the law I think they should be allowed to do whatever they want. If anything they should take away duplicate signs like "Unleash The Beast", "Game Over" and "Y2J" signs, you see at least a dozen each week.

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I'm pretty much on Loss' side with this topic. Some signs are especially bad when they say "Hi Mike" or something else that basically states that wrestling is fake or something else kayfabe-breaking. Wrestling is the only sport where a huge number of signs is prominent, and people have taken advantage of that to go, in my opinion, beyond the extremes. It's the same level as going up to a wrestler and calling them by their real name, if they aren't using it on TV already. Fans like those are more a fan of themselves than they are of the product they're going to see.

 

Signs blocking my view bug me, like they would anyone. That's why I always carrying a lighter with me whenever I attend a show. :D

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I don't mind when people take the time to make their sign. When it's creative, witty and original, it can make for a few entertaining moments. I saw a sign in ECW once where it was RVD doing the point and splits at the same time. The guy had a string that he pulled to make it move. It was neat.

 

If more people took time and cared about what they were bringing, it wouldn't be so bad. Instead, we get stupid shit and that just pisses off the people behind the sign holder. I don't like sloppy signs or people that spell their shit wrong. Don't just buy a neon sign from the Dollar General then write Kane Rulez on it with a magic marker. Seriously.

 

If they banned signs from all shows, I wouldn't complain. They should certainly ban them from non-televised shows.

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I was at a house show in the summer of 2002 when some little kid who sat in the front row brought a sign (which he just held over the railing, so it wasn't bad). Christian and Lance Storm (who were doing the UnAmerican angle and thus were babyfaces) were cool enough to sign it after their match with Hardcore Holly and Val Venis. It was nice.

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See now, that's not bad because it was where people could at least see it, and it wasn't blocking anyone's view.

 

The problem is, despite it being entertainment during bad TV matches, it annoys the people who paid to be there.

 

Paid ticketholders > people watching on free TV.

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Guest Some Guy

If the sign isn't obsene then it should stay. It seems to me that the more signs that are in the arena the hotter the product is. During 98-99 virtually everyone brought a sign to the show because they cared enough to make one before hand, now there are fewer signs because there are fewer fans who care enough to put the time into it.

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Guest teke184

My views:

 

Signs with obscenities should be confiscated

 

Signs that obstruct the view of other fans MAY be confiscated, although I'd give the offending fan a warning first not to do it again.

 

 

Outside of that, I feel that anything goes.

 

 

 

Considering that the WWE announces before they go live "Cheer during the live shot and *be sure to hold up all of your signs*, they're giving their implicit permission to the fans to display their feelings. Censoring signs goes against this implicit permission, ESPECIALLY when they're being pulled for no good reason.

 

 

 

I'm just wondering if they'd have bothered to take my signs back in October 2001 if they were readable on camera...

 

(That was the show where Edge cut the "1998 called..." promo on X-Pac. I was about 3-4 rows off of the floor, straight across from the hard camera, and had an "X-Pac Is Wrestlecrap" sign facing it but it was illegible on TV because the lettering wasn't thick enough.)

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My views:

 

Signs with obscenities should be confiscated

 

Signs that obstruct the view of other fans MAY be confiscated, although I'd give the offending fan a warning first not to do it again.

 

 

Outside of that, I feel that anything goes.

I would add a rule against using signs to promote your own website, etc.

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Does anyone remember the gargantuan sign on RAW that stretched across almost the entire side of the arena, which DX took the time to mark out for? This was mid '98 but I forget the RAW it was on. I just remember my jaw dropping at how huge the thing was.

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