A Typical Night of Watching Professional Wrestling
In Professional Wrestling there is currently only one major company, that being the WWE. They run that 3 hour flagship show, Raw, from 8:00–11:05 PM on Monday nights. I decided to observe the responses on a wrestling forum (Wrestling Figs forum) from last night’s show.
I decided to focus on their responses to a specific match between Roman Reigns and Samoa Joe.
Roman Reigns is someone who the WWE have chosen to push/promote as the face of their company. In doing so, they book him to decisively win the vast majority of his matches (as it is fixed/rigged), even when his opponents have thrown everything they have had in them. For this he and previous faces of the company (such as Hulk Hogan and John Cena)have been compared to Superman. However, the fans have been very resistant to this, to a point where the fans in the crowd were audibly chanting “Fuck you Roman” for a solid 10 minutes earlier in the year. Mind you, this is a PG rated product.
This is a good example of an imagined community as they are boasting a similar dislike for the drawn out product they are being given. An imagined community as described by Nicole Constable in Romance on a Global Stage is, “… the articulation of nationalism among individuals who would never meet face-to-face and whose identities and interests otherwise varied greatly.”
We near the end of the match, Roman sets up to perform his finishing maneuver, the Spear (a running shoulder block takedown). However, they cut to the parking lot where you see an Ambulance backing in. The doors burst open revealing a very large man, named Braun Strowman.
Braun and Roman have feuded since the beginning of the year, but Braun has been out of action for the past month with an injury. The forum is ecstatic for his return, mimicking the opening of his theme music, which sees him yelling his first name. Over the past year and a half, the fans have taken a real liking to Braun, even though he is supposed to be the villian.
Now you are probably wondering, what is the significance of the Ambulance? About two and a half months ago Braun and Roman got into a fight backstage where Braun in story injured Roman. When the EMTs are attending to Roman and putting him on a stretcher, Braun storms them and pushes the stretcher off a loading dock.
Roman is loaded into an Ambulance, but before they pull out, you here someone bellow “I’M NOT FINISHED WITH YOU YET!!!!!” You then saw Braun attack Roman again before exiting the Ambulance and then proceeding to flip it.
Back to the present, Joe locks in his finishing maneuver, known as the Coquina Clutch (a rear naked choke), as Roman is distracted. Roman passes out, giving Joe the win. Braun comes out and beats down Roman a bit and yells “I AM NOT FINISHED WITH YOU” at Roman before walking off.
The fans are relieved by this as they were not expecting the surprise return, nor Joe getting the victory. Fans have become so accustom to the same repetitive matches that do not lead anywhere that a surprise turned what started as an uneventful match into a great segment and probably the highlight of the show.