A few weeks ago, Eric Bischoff gave an interview to a popular website where he talked about a group of wrestling fans that he calls “the 10%’ers.” According to Bischoff, a 10%’er is defined as follows:
…they don’t know what they’re doing, they don’t report facts, they frame everything in a distorted, twisted, backwards way…
I believe that within the internet wrestling community, if there are 100%, if you look at the population of the IWC as 100%, the smallest portion of that community – in my opinion 10% – makes 90% of the noise. Meaning, 90% of the people that go on an internet wrestling community site and want to check in with news and who’s doing what or if they missed a show and they want updates are not the people who are the most vocal. They’re not the people that are complaining whether or not a finish is a great finish or a bad finish. Or whether there was 17 minutes 45 second worth of wrestling versus 22 minutes and 13 seconds worth of wrestling. Those 90% of the people that are a part of your community just enjoy wrestling and probably have more than a passive interest in wrestling which is why the would seek out a website or blog that talks about wrestling in more depth. But I still believe that only a very small percentage of them make are the ones that make 90% of the noise. And those 10%’ers have a such a myopic, distorted, convoluted view of the world when it comes to what works in television today, the entire television industry, the distinction and significance and nuance of a network/promotion producer relationship. They’re so limited in their purview of the industry itself that their opinions are so skewed and distorted and baseless, yet they’re the loudest – they make 90% of the noise. So when I criticize the 10%’ers, I’m not talking about people who are hardcore – I’m not talking about internet wrestling community fans – I’m actually in this community, I am a part of it! I’m not criticizing myself!
I’m criticizing those people who have this obsessive, compulsive, distorted, twisted view of the world and who feel that it’s necessary to impose that view on other people and try to convince the other 90% that they know so much more about the wrestling business than anybody else when, in fact, they know less because they are of such limited experience.
I completely agree with Bischoff’s definition of a 10%’er and – worse yet – I’ve seen these creeps trolling around the internet. In fact, one of those creeps even knows me! Let me briefly explain and please bear with me if I jump around a little bit. This column will all come together in the end, trust me!
Many years ago, I used to write for a bunch of different wrestling websites. One of the utter disasters of a website that I wrote for (which no longer exists and hasn’t for years, by the way) tried to publicly trash me for including links in my columns to pages that existed on my own website. This was and is a common courtesy in internet writing and any good webmaster welcomes these links on his/her site for a variety of reasons that I won’t get into in this column. Well, it turned out that one of the other writers on that horrible website actually went to the same high school as me, but graduated a year before I did. During the few days where the moron webmaster of that now-defunct website was trying to trash me (by the way – he lost the battle), this kid from my old high school reached out to me just to let me know that we were from the same place in New Jersey, but that was about the extent of our interaction.
I’m writing about this interaction because I remember the kid’s name. I went to high school in the mid-to-late 1990′s and there were about 1,600 students enrolled there at the time. During my time in high school I was captain of the wrestling team, a starter and one of the leaders on our championship football team, the President of the student body, President of my class every year, etc. When I tell folks about all of the “stuff” that I did in high school, they pin me as a “big man on campus” during the time. My general response is, “Whatever.” Honestly, it was so long ago that I don’t think much about any of it now. What I do remember, though, is that having all of those leadership positions put me in a place where I knew almost everyone who went to that high school. The only folks that I didn’t know where the kids who were a little weird or the ones who were just terrible slobs who had the social skills of a rat.
Truthfully, some 99% of the 1,600 students that went to my high school all had fun together. We never had any of those bullying problems, the “jocks” would frequently hang out with the “nerds” and vice versa, it wasn’t uncommon to see a quiet girl wind up dating a star football player or a not-so-attractive guy wind up dating the head cheerleader. Everyone really enjoyed everyone else’s company and since the town was kind of small, everyone knew everyone else (and everyone’s family knew everyone else’s family). Unless, of course, you were some type of mutant who didn’t want to hang out or be social, but again – there might have been at most 10 – 15 of those kids in the entire school.
So when this kid reached out to me to tell me that we went to the same school, I didn’t recognize his name at all. That struck me as odd and that’s the end of this part of the story… until a few months ago.
I read Bischoff’s Facebook page and listen to his various interviews because I like the business sense the man brings to professional wrestling. For lack of a better phrase, Bischoff “gets it” when it comes to professional wrestling and the television industry and, really, when it comes to programming for that highly coveted young male demographic. And yet, when I go to his Facebook page and read through the comments I often find that there are people who are just hateful and angry towards Bischoff. There are people who think that everything he says or does is deceptive and that his “impact” in TNA Wrestling has been useless or downright negative. I always wondered about just who would be the type of person to write such hateful garbage and then a few months ago I noticed a comment left by someone who had the same name as the kid from my high school.
After about a second of thought, the synapses in my brain went off and I realized that this was the kid who reached out to me so many years ago. And now – the investigation was on!
Thanks to Facebook and Google, you can pretty much find anyone out there who you want to know more about. Since I was reading the comments on Bischoff’s Facebook page when I recognized this kid’s name, I just clicked on his name and there was his profile. One look at this kid’s profile and I thought to myself, “Oh boy. What a mess.” Now let me be straight here for a moment – I don’t know this kid. I don’t know anything about him. We went to the same high school and are one year apart in age, but I don’t know anything about him (re-read the paragraphs above and you can infer why). However, I think that there is a reason why “you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression” is such a popular phrase. One glance over this guy’s Facebook profile and I immediately understood what was going on – this kid was the type of mark that believes the “hype” and likely believes everything he reads about professional wrestling on the internet.
Hey look, I don’t run away from the fact that I’m a mark (and we’re all marks) for TNA Wrestling. I love the product because I think it’s entertaining! But I live my life in reality. Here is a piece of my reality: at my day job, I’m high level guy in the community financial services industry; I’m an adjunct professor at two local colleges where I teach leadership, political science, and management; I own a small business; I serve on local and national boards of directors that are comprised of local and national leaders and the organizations focus on improving the quality of life of people locally and around the country. And when you look at my Facebook profile or any other type of online profile that I have, you would immediately get that impression. You would think, “Oh, it looks like this guy is an executive or something like that.”
The first impression that I got from this guy’s profile was, “Oh my God. This is the exact type of person that gives wrestling fans a bad name.” Think about the last time you went to a house show or an independent show and think about the “know it all” guy who was there spouting off about how he knew about this wrestler or that wrestler or why this guy would win and that guy would lose. You know, the type of guy who believes his own bullshit.
That was the first impression that I had of this kid based off of his profile. Not good.
Now let me see if I can wrap all of this together. Stay with me, folks!
I was on another widely-read, “popular” professional wrestling website a few weeks ago. Without naming the exact site, it is a website that many smaller websites get their “news” from and we even use some of their material on TNAStars.com (properly cited, of course). Well, I was flipping around on this website and I was shocked by what I saw. That’s right – I saw this guy’s name listed as a contributor. This guy is a contributing writer to one of the most widely-read professional wrestling websites on the internet. And that, my friends, is where Eric Bischoff’s 10%’ers are – they are on the major websites, the websites that are seemingly populated by uneducated, hateful people with no social skills. Remember the kids who no one could talk to in high school because they had no social skills? Remember the outcasts? Well, they’ve had their revolution and their “victory” is that they are now populating the largest professional wrestling websites on the internet.
And I specifically use the word “uneducated” because I did my research into the particular person that I’m referring to in this article. He doesn’t even have a college degree! Sure, you may not need a degree to be successful, but this guy doesn’t even have a real job! And THIS is the person whose opinion is read by the masses as though he was some type of expert on professional wrestling? As though he was some type of expert on anything?! Give me a break!
That is where Bischoff’s 10%’ers are… this is where they are not.
The 10%’ers are not at websites like TNAStars.com – small, independent websites. We are fans of professional wrestling – we enjoy the product that TNA Wrestling puts out there. I’m a highly educated, high income guy who does this as a hobby. I don’t need to generate hits in order to live and eat. In fact, the money I make from this website is typically donated to charity or turned around and used to buy TNA Wrestling merchandise to give away to our readers. The other guys like this kid I went to high school with need hits so they can generate income and not have a real job. And, unfortunately, being a dirt merchant on the internet works.
It’s pathetic and, like Bischoff says, these idiots are actually hurting the business that they’re claiming to be fans of. And frankly, I would expect nothing less from these losers because they have no journalistic integrity, they have no training, they have no education, and they have no sophistication. Instead, they need to make that extra nickel off of someone clicking a banner ad or buying that extra subscription and in order for them to get that nickel, they need to sell trash. So who do they hire to write at these websites? Trash.
So let this be a call to all professional wrestling fans with some modicum of integrity. The more you patronize and believe the writing on those websites that are populated by horrible, uneducated individuals, the worse you make this business. Find sites like TNAStars.com (there are many out there) – sites that are the product of real wrestling fans.
Patronize sites like this one because this is where the 10%’ers are not going to be found.
joe1897 [at] gmail [dot] com