Here’s the thing about the WWE: I don’t get it.
Lots of people do, including some folks who write for this site. Some great friends of mine absolutely love WWE. People write about it, talk about it, enjoy watching it.
I’m not one of those people.
Believe me, I’ve tried. Two of my kids were into rasslin’ for a brief period of time in the 1990s, and I tried to enjoy it for it’s winking humor value and as something I could do with them. It didn’t take.
I see the difference between WWE and Dance Moms as merely being that the WWE is more scripted and the shrieking takes place as a different place on the audible frequency spectrum. I place WWE in a big bin of things-to-ignore along with whatever the Kardashians are doing at the moment. My interest in professional wrestling, tragically, peaked when Andy Kaufmann was in the ring.
But, please, I swear I’m not a snob. This is all coming from a guy whose sole rating criteria of major motion picture is the number and relative size of the explosions. Fury Road wins the Barry McBride Oscar for Best Picture. And I’m not against you enjoying “pro wrestling”, if that’s your taste.
Honestly. Seriously. It’s not you, WWE, it’s me.
Regardless, the bottom line, as well all know, is that despite the athleticism of the performers, professional wrestling can’t be defended as real news or real sports, any more than the athleticism of trapeze artists makes Cirque de Soleil competitive sports and each performance deserving of its own breathless recap.
None of which explains why ESPN, FOX Sports, the Plain Dealer, and others felt compelled to write stories about Johnny Manziel being called an “Idiot Face” and attending last night’s WWE affair, which I guess was held in the Q, in advance of tonight’s exhibition of real competitive sports.
That the Plain Dealer, which has horribly bungled coverage of real news in Cleveland for years, would devote precious resources to covering the WWE says a lot about how it regards its mission and its audience.
And Johnny Manziel giving an admittedly mature interview to WWE cameras instead of Browns reporters in Berea says a lot about what he really thinks of the media, although one hopes it was just a warm-up to some availability during mini-camp.
Maybe I just don’t get the joke.
Part of the reason I spend my days on sports websites instead of other more serious subjects is that I find it enjoyable, and frequently hilarious. There have been times I’ve laughed until tears came out of my eyes joking with fans on the forums. Heck, I felt compelled to write a story about Joe Thomas making a funny face at the camera the other day. So, perhaps I am not in a position to comment.
Or perhaps we should go further in that direction… people click those sort of stories more than they click salary cap analyses or depth chart reviews. I see the statistics. It’s not a hard “strategy” to come up with. So, perhaps the OBR should go “go with it” and pander to a seemingly insatiable appetite for junk news.
Still, it seems to me that when supposedly-respectable outlets start covering the WWE so that they might catch some guy in sequins and tights calling our backup quarterback a big poopyhead, we’ve hit some sort of tipping point in the over-saturation of NFL coverage and might be at a good point, as media, to consider our priorities.
Nah. Maybe a squirrel will run into the bullpen during tonight’s Indians game. Or maybe a rap star or a starlet will attend the Cavs-Warriors game in Cleveland. Or we could try to gin up a quarterback controversy for the page views.
Whatever. Let’s make sure that there’s a photo gallery of cheerleaders we can insert in the right rail. Gotta make the numbers. Every day. Any way.
The sports media, circa 2015, has its work to do.
If so compelled, you can write Barry at Barry McBride at Gmail dot com, or follow him on Twitter, where he’ll be making inconsequential comments on tonight’s Cavs game throughout.
Follow TheOBR on twitter: @TheOBR