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Textual Chocolate: Friendly Fire

To loyal Textual Chocolate readers, all five or so of you, my apologies for not having a column up last week. Things were rather hectic in the day-to-day operations of a Ro Moran, and I just was not able to watch RAW in time to formulate any opinions. Now that I’m pretty much all caught up with things, however, I’m all good to go.

If you’ll remember, two weeks ago Seth Rollins inadvertently broke John Cena’s nose (for realsies) in the main event of RAW. The week after that, he does what any smart, good heel would do, and that’s to play up the accident as a deliberate move, the act of a man people underrate so much that they forget how dangerous he could really be.

What was disturbing about it was that even though a lot of fans who are anti-Cena and pro-his opponents are well aware of the machinations that drive our beloved sport, the San Jose crowd acted like the move was deliberate and actually broke into “Thank you, Rollins” chants. While Seth Rollins the bad guy played it up like he was supposed to, I imagine that couldn’t have been comfortable to hear, considering it was only an accident. I’m sure he wouldn’t have liked breaking Cena’s nose for real, for the same reasons he wouldn’t want Cena to do the same to him.

Meanwhile, a few days ago, we got word of a similar occurrence at a WWE live event. While working a match against Bray Wyatt, Roman Reigns got hit in the head by a flying homemade Money in the Bank briefcase, made by a fan. According to the 31-year-old (31 years old!) he was just egged on by his fellow fans to throw it in the ring, but the precise landing on Roman’s skull makes me believe that he really did intend to throw it at the poor guy.

So these two incidents beg the question: what the fuck is the deal, guys?

When did the fans become terrible human beings? How is it decent behavior to actually celebrate Cena breaking a bone for real? To actually attempt to hurt a guy like Roman Reigns, whose only real crime was not meeting your standards of entertainment? What did those guys do to all of you? Cheat you out of some money? Sleep with your wife? Insult your family? Reigns and Cena aren’t as despicable as, say, Vince McMahon, who’s been well known to deliberately lie and manipulate the people surrounding him.

I know what you’re thinking: hostile crowds have been a longtime wrestling tradition. We’ve all heard stories of riots happening in the dingy, sketchy arenas of Mexico and Puerto Rico, where all blood runs hot. Fans throw stuff at the wrestlers they hate as they walk down the ring, and it’s all part of the heel act. That’s why wrestling shows need security.

But here’s the thing: hostile crowds were marks. They hated wrestlers for the character each worker projected, for what they thought the guy stood for. Their passion flowed for the characters they loved. Those were times in which they didn’t know any better.

Why do you think riots don’t happen anymore?

That’s right—because most fans have been smartened up. We’re marks, but we’ve tweaked that definition. Being a mark is no longer being completely stupid; it now means having your own biases toward certain people. There’s a reason why Filipinos don’t storm a PWR ring and lynch “Classical” Bryan Leo when he calls us all “sons and daughters of jeepney drivers and pokpoks.” They know it’s part of the show, and to dispute otherwise would betray you as stupid and/or na├»ve. (Unless, of course, we actually know that someone is racist for a fact, like with Hulk Hogan.)

Which is why when you cheer Cena’s legitimate and scary nose injury, when you thank Seth Rollins for accidentally breaking it and making it swell and spilling Cena’s blood all over the canvas, you’re actually celebrating the fact that John Cena the person, professional wrestler, provider, husband, boyfriend, hero to children, and actual human being got hurt in the ring, where he expects and trusts his dance partner to not seriously hurt him.

When you attempt to hurt Roman Reigns by chucking a briefcase at his head, you, mere spectator, are actually attempting to hurt Joe Anoa’i the person, professional wrestler, provider, husband, father, hero to children, and actual human being. His opponent is trained to not hurt him. You’re not.

And that makes you a despicable human being. You’re free to love who you want to love and hate who you want to hate, whether you spend money on a ticket or a broadcast or not. You’re even free to cheer a guy who gets hurt for real, but that doesn’t make you a good person. And certainly none of that gives you the right to hurt a guy who’s literally killing himself for your entertainment.

This is why we can’t have nice things.


Romeo Moran (@roiswaris the Editor in Chief of Smark Henry and one of the three hosts of the Smark Gilas-Pilipinas Podcast. He gets by in this hard knock life through working in publishing. Smark Henry was his and Stan Sy's original vision of a watering hole for local wrestling fans. He roots for the undersized guys who hit hard, but really hates Davey Richards with his entire soul.

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