With the season finale of Game of Thrones behind us all, (thank god ammiright??) I found myself confronted with the similarities between GoT super fans and pro wrestling fans. Who’d have thought I would even write that sentence? But ultimately, this comes down to expectations and whether or not it’s truly satisfying to get exactly what you want.
I mainly saw this similarity during the Game of Thrones finale and WWE’s Money In the Bank PPV. Both groups of fans would go on to pine longingly on Twitter for their favorite conclusions to come true. Ultimately, when all was said and done, both groups of “super fans” would feel let down. Now for me personally? I feel the Game of Thrones hubbub was completely overblown. It suffered from a rushed plot, but it still should be commended for all of the extremely talented artists that helped craft that world. In the case of WWE, and from years of being let down, the results of Money in the Bank were nothing new. Let’s dig into Game of Thrones first.
My one and only review of Game of Thrones season 8 was that it was rushed. Not that it was bad, it was just painfully obvious that once the Night King was dead that the show lacked the steam it needed to bring everything to a satisfying conclusion. It suffered from rushed scenes, foreshadowing that felt like you were being hit over the head with a lead pipe, and a feeling that most of the expectations for key characters were “subverted”. Thank you Rian Johnson for allowing us all to subvert our own expectations.
WWE on the other-hand, has lived in this territory for years. Fans clamor for the new hot star, but in only a short time, they find that star relegated to some inferior position. There are tons of examples of how WWE has destroyed a new hires’ momentum, so I won’t even bother naming names here. Okay, just a quick list: Samoa Joe, Finn Balor, Shinsuke Nakamura, Asuka (MAKE IT STOP). This all takes us to Money in the Bank this past weekend, and the indelible image seen below:
Now truth be told, I started my night watching Money In the Bank. By mistake, I let my WWE Network subscription renew after Wrestlemania and I figured, why not peek into this PPV to see where things lie? Within minutes, I witnessed a trove of rule mistakes and I was acutely reminded why I’ve chosen to primarily watch a more sports-centric wrestling brand like NJPW. It was clear from the outset that WWE was treading its old worn path back to the image above. A right, “screw you” to anyone who expected anything different. Heck, they even threw Ali up there for a moment to make us feel they weren’t going to mess with our heads!
So now I’ve set the table to show you that both groups of fans were seemingly pissed off that their favorite show/PPV did not end the way they wanted. In wrestling, you really can’t always get what you want. In a serialized HBO fantasy drama, they tried to get to a satisfying conclusion, but instead left most folks going “Now what’s his name and what happened to him?”. But here’s where the similarities diverge in an interesting way.
Somewhere around the mid-point of season 8, I started to see a lot more opinions like the one above. Wrestling fans who also likely watch Game of Thrones chiming in to let us all know that, “HEY! We haven’t been satisfied with a great conclusion for some time!”. Then, and here is where things get completely stupid, some GoT fans took it on themselves to start a petition to redo all of season 8. I don’t want to rip into these folks too much, but as a former 3D artist, I have to simply say these fans need to grow up. These individuals do not understand the amount of time that is needed to complete a visual effect, they do not understand the time it took to pour through GRRM’s giant books for possible stories, they do not understand the physical and emotional stress the show put on both the actors and everyone else working on it. It is said the production for Game of Thrones is on par with any major motion picture. The petition completely removes the human element from the picture. In short, these folks are completely stupid.
So I guess this all leads me to the conclusion that wrestling fans are more mature than some of the folks who invested their time with Game of Thrones? That’s a bit reductive I know, and believe me, I really do think there were problems with this latest season, but surely you’d agree with me that wrestling fans take bad conclusions better than GoT fans.
I also take umbrage with fans of GoT speaking from some high horse about how “bad” the writing was this year. What exactly constitutes bad writing? Have you ever written for a major motion picture or television drama? I can’t even contend to make a point about this because I never have. Again, were scenes and key plot-centric moments rushed? YES! But was the writing something I could call bad? No. If you want bad writing, let me point you to what I consider, the worst movie someone ever asked me to see:
I want to make one final point here and that is how pervasive social media has been for both of these subjects. Imagine if you will, that Twitter didn’t exist, go on, dream of it for me. What an amazing alternate universe right? It’s almost like we didn’t know about all these people complaining until we gave them some crap platform to complain about things on. The nature of the “super fan” these days is to immediately voice your opinion about something that you feel you are personally invested in. GoT fans do it, wrestling fans do it. And SURE! I totally do this with wrestling ALL THE TIME. I have literally sat in judgement of so many bad WWE conclusions, it’s mind-boggling. But if none of these platforms existed, would we get a petition drive to redo an ENTIRE SHOW? Would we have wrestling fans lamenting that their favorite thing doesn’t satisfy them anymore? Would that larger narrative of, “I will never be satisfied if *blank* doesn’t happen” even exist? I contend that most folks would just accept what they are seeing at face value and wouldn’t immediately go to social media to find that validation. It’s not to say that commentary of what you are watching isn’t necessary, it’s that most folks watching either GoT or wrestling have an unearned sense of what those shows SHOULD be.
Im not a wrestler. The only bumps I’ve taken were when my friends and I would take suplexes on an un-mowed backyard lawn. I’ve only half-heartedly created 3D work and composite work that could barely be considered VFX. So those are the only dogs I have in the fight. But even I know that it doesn’t give me more sway over the stories I love in both fiction and wrestling. I would rather not make the point that we should just accept these things at face value and not complain and I am well aware that both shows deserve a little criticism. But if we can just sit back and enjoy the things for how they are and not how we would change them, well, I think we’d all be in a better place.
P.S. AEW’s Double or Nothing takes place tomorrow May 25th so there is relief coming for wrestling fans. If you’re only a GoT’s fan, good luck to ya.