I remember a time back in 1993 when Monday Night Raw was first starting out. Ric Flair and Mr. Perfect were in a very heated rivalry after Perfect turned his back on Flair heading into Survivor Series 1992. Their feud culminated in a “Loser Leaves Town” match where Ric Flair ended up losing the match. Little did anyone that Flair would be heading back to WCW just two months later. Could you imagine if the internet, dirtsheets, and social media had been around back in 93? The match between the two Hall of Famers would have not been as special as it became. Personally, I consider it to be my favorite Monday Night Raw match of all time. In recent months, the launch of All Elite Wrestling has caused a frenzy and a media storm like nothing else since the days of WCW. With that frenzy there has been a lot of irresponsible reporting, more speculation than fact, and more rumors than there is truth. The biggest problem with pro wrestling today is are the so called wrestling “journalists”, the dirtsheets and the fact that a lot of fans claim their opinion as factual.
There are writers out there like Bryan Alvarez, Dave Meltzer, Ryan Satin and many others who do not remain unbiased or report objectively like a journalist should. Ever since the AEW announcement has happened, I see reports every day of a WWE Superstar being unhappy or that they are open to talking to AEW. The thing that’s so funny is that none of these stars have left the company. The only superstar that has been granted their release is Hideo Itami and my prediction is that he probably signed an agreement that he would not wrestling for AEW. I also find it interesting that more wrestlers are calling out the dirt-sheets in recent weeks. It started with Maria Kanellis addressing her and Mike’s status with WWE. Then Nia Jax addressed the rumors that her and R-Truth had heat over some issues at the Royal Rumble. She backed up her claims with photo proof, which made everyone who reported on backtrack and retracted their statements. The most recent is the reporting of AJ Styles signing a new WWE contract and that he is dealing with a hernia. AJ Styles was quick to dismiss these reports and let everyone know that these reports are false. All these recent events really shows me that these “journalists” have no clue what they are doing. They are either making things up, being fed false information or being paid by someone influential to cause the frenzy. If the journalists want to end the narrative that they don’t do their job correctly than start revealing your sources. One has to think they are sick of being made fools of in the eyes of the industry and the fans.
When I think of fans and wrestling news I have to say that some fans are no better than “journalists” who are reporting their “news.” My advice to the fans is not to believe everything you hear on the internet. You will either be disappointed or if you do believe it than that takes the element of surprise away. Some fans actually think their opinion is fact and considered news. When you make vague statements like “AJ Styles is going to AEW” you are not reporting news or stating a fact. It is your opinion and your prediction. If you make a statement like, “My prediction is that AJ Styles will go to AEW” you are less likely to encounter people trying to shoot you down. Using phrases like “I think,” or “my prediction” will save you a lot of time trying to argue with people. I think it’s great to have an imagination, an opinion, dream matches and hope for you better opportunities for your favorite wrestler. However, when you start making claims that someone is leaving a promotion without proof you only make yourself look less credible. Social media doesn’t help these issues especially those who create Facebook Pages. There are pages like The 434, The Spotlight and Ringside Roster News that are nothing more than fan sites who piggyback off other peoples work and often make up their own news to get clicks. Be careful on what you click because a lot of it is very misleading.
I personally feel that there has not been a respectable wrestling journalist since Bill Apter started working his way up through the ranks. Apter has always done his job with integrity, respect and with class. I can never recall a time where he used second hand information. He has always went straight to the source and reported with accuracy that we have not seen in this era. Another thing that’s happened in this era is the idea of WWE feeding guys like Meltzer false information to make him look like an un-credible source. I believe that this is payback for all the times that the news sites and dirtsheets have posted spoilers and ruined surprises that the company has tried to provide fans. I do think spoilers and surprises being leaked have hurt the viewership numbers over the years. In that regard, I blame the WWE for not making employees and people in the media sign a confidentiality agreement. At the same, journalists are suppose to develop a trust with people and companies they report on and wrestling “journalists” have broken that trust. It would be one thing if a news source teased a surprise, but to reveal the full surprise or spoiler is untrustworthy, disrespectful, and unethical to the company, superstars involved and to the business as a whole. My suggestion to the fans who don’t want spoilers is, stop following these news sources, Facebook pages and dirtsheets who report this information. In the end, you will be much happier watching the product.
Unfortunately, we are in an era that nothing is protected anymore because every super-fan out there thinks they have insider information. I have always believed in a free press and that journalists should always search for the truth. However, wrestling news is much different than sports news, celebrity news and political news. Journalists who make up stories, report false information and super-fans with Facebook Pages are hurting an industry to a point where people are finding wrestling less enjoyable. Not every wrestler is going to AEW, not every wrestler is leaving WWE, but I am sure every wrestler doesn’t enjoy reading false news about themselves on the internet. Irresponsible reporting only makes it harder for those trying to get the right information to do so. If you don’t have experience reporting or haven’t taken a journalism class than please shut down your sites, your pages and your newfeeds. Please leave it to the real professionals. Fake News may have been a term started in the poltical world, but the reality is that it’s showed it’s ugliness in the pro wrestling world.
Editors Note: I have been writing for 15 years. I at one point got caught up in rumors and speculation. Over time I stopped reporting on wrestling rumors and spoilers. I will not post anything until it actually becomes face and it happens for the whole world to see. If you’d like to be a part of a page that doesn’t report on rumors, speculations or spoilers head over https://www.facebook.com/HollywoodsWorldofSports/