Hey if you need me, I’ll be over here ruining wrestling. pic.twitter.com/5RHfqODXR6
— Dan Barry (@thedanbarry) August 30, 2018
I regret to inform you that Jim Cornette is at it again. Over the weekend he told Dan Barry that he hated him and asked him to please ‘mildew and rot’ (whatever that means) because he had the audacity to try and make people laugh. Who does that son of a bitch think he is? Being funny? How fucking dare he.
These rambles aren’t really about Cornette, though. Cornette and his army of followers, who go around tagging him into any GIF that isn’t a headlock, are merely a symptom of a disease that has wound its way into wrestling’s heart. Wrestling is obsessed with its own history. From Hulk Hogan to Stone Cold, there is a section of the community who leap at any chance to look back and get all dewy-eyed as they reflect on their favourite from when they were a kid.
The problem is that most of these people are horrible. Hulk Hogan is a racist and Stone Cold a domestic abuser. Depressingly, when you put them up against their peers, they are some of the lesser offenders. Most of them have more than one charge on their rap sheet, yet wrestling fans will still hold them up as the Gods of all knowledge. They must be listened to because they once drew a good house. Well, guess what? They also destroyed people’s lives.
And today’s’ wrestlers aren’t perfect. We’ve still got racists and abusers coming out of every pore. However, we also have a lot more nice people. We have an industry packed full of dorks who like nothing more than doing something silly and getting a pop for it. Christ, the current IWGP Champion moved to Japan because he saw Kota Ibushi wrestling in weird places and figured that he wanted a piece of that. He’s spent a career trying to turn himself into a walking anime character. Plus, he was pivotal in drawing a pretty sweet house himself last weekend.
Yet, rather than praise our beautiful dorks, we insist on looking backwards. We turn to the people that made wrestling a stinking cesspit of toxic masculinity and racism. The people that sidelined women and made anyone who was slightly different into the butt of every joke. What do we tell the world when we make them our heroes?
I’m not saying that you can’t like old-school wrestling. You don’t have to get excited because some penis druids have kidnapped Hangman Page and you don’t have to enjoy the Young Bucks. The key is that it’s entirely possible to hold those views and not to be a dick about it. To realise that the world is large and that there is probably room for all of us in it, whether we want penis druids or headlocks.
So, yea. Fuck off Jim Cornette. Fuck off Hulk Hogan and fuck off anyone else who dares to try and keep wrestling stuck in the past. Some legends deserve to be praised, and by all means, do so. However, it’s time to dispense of the idea that they know better than our present. Wrestling’s past is horrid and the sooner we move on from that to embrace its dorky future, the better for all of us.