The world is always changing. I think back to my teens as a wrestling fan and how information was received and passed on, it was a strange time. I didn’t know that RAW was sometimes taped, and when I’d hear about what was going to happen two weeks in advance, I’d be equally fascinated that anyone would know what happened two weeks in advance, but also really angry at the spoilers. The introduction of social media has brought everyone closer, for better or for worse. The idea of attempting to interact with those superstars you see on television is now only a couple of clicks away. It’s also created a bit of a conundrum for professional wrestlers.
Becky Lynch is a great example of using social media to enhance character development
With kayfabe being dead, along with the idea that anything can be kept secret behind the curtain in this day and age, it’s not surprise that Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have become extensions of today’s current performers characters. This creates a great way to continue the existing space between an existing weeks television show, and gives the character room to manoeuvre a little bit and grow a feud or story. Unfortunately for every good use of social media there is at least 100 bad uses for it, and some performers in the wrestling space choose to sometimes die on a hill they maybe should have left well alone.
Seth Rollins was engaged in a Twitter exchange with Will Ospreay
Seth Rollins took to Twitter last week after Stomping Grounds and proclaimed that the WWE had the best wrestlers alive, ‘Period’. Pretty standard statement from the company’s top guy. Will Ospreay quipped back that he was still ‘alive’, and thus began an unnecessary verbal attack from Rollins who referred to Ospreay as ‘little guy’ and mentioned that they had a better version of him in Ricochet. Ospreay and Rollins retorted each other for a short time and Rollins went low brow inferring that both men should compare bank accounts. Now I’m not the biggest Will Ospreay fan in the world, but when you have to mention your bank account to someone that you are arguing with, it makes you look pretty pathetic in my view because money doesn’t always reflect talent. If that were the case, nurses, firefighters and those that protect us would be making footballer salaries. Seth and Ospreay are both exceptionally talented, and whilst I agree that as the top guy Rollins should be shouting from the rooftops how great his company is, he sounds like an echo chamber for Vince.
— Seth Rollins (@WWERollins) June 24, 2019
The original Twitter exchange between Seth Rollins and Will Ospreay
EDIT: Rollins has since apologised publicly to Ospreay, and both men have put their differences aside, but the conversation will forever be out there.
Since the success of AEW Double or Nothing and the more recent success (sans chair shot to the head and pre-show) of Fyter Fest, wrestlers have found social media to be a perfectly acceptable place to air their grievances with the WWE mainly. Sasha Banks is a prime example of that, with passive aggressive behaviour after her and Bayley were booked to drop the Women’s tag team titles at WrestleMania 35. Banks posted a lot of cryptic messages on social media trying to infer that she was done with the company, and decided to run off on holiday once she was told to think about what she wanted with regards to her contract with the WWE. Whilst I will admit I agree with her frustrations, there is a much better, and professional way to handle your displeasure with an employer.
"There was nowhere to go but everywhere…" pic.twitter.com/QgGPFyE6fd
— $asha Banks (@SashaBanksWWE) June 9, 2019
One of Sasha Banks many crytic tweets
Take Jon Moxley as an example. Granted he had just under a year left on his contract when he realised he no longer wanted to be a part of the WWE going forward, but he simply let his contract run down, and understood that fulfilling commitments would help him in the long run. Sure the wait can be crappy at times. I mean, they had him job to EC3, among others but never once did I hear of him not showing up to work, or being unprofessional. Sure, he did bash the company as soon as he was gone, but at no time during his employment did he do any of that.
The former Dean Ambrose in a losing effort against EC3 on RAW
Rusev is another example. A great performer, talent and widely outspoken on social media. He’s currently on sabbatical from the WWE, which is probably the right thing for him at this moment in time, but he has voiced his displeasure with certain things within the company, including a hilarious tweet poking fun at Sasha Bank’s aforementioned issues with the company in April that simply read ‘BOTCH Master is unhappy! Be gone’. Aside from laughing hysterically, it is an incredible viewpoint into the psyche of pro wrestlers today. Ten years ago, there was nowhere else to work, so performers either had to hold their tongue or air it with management. Now, that fear has actually done a 180 and is now entirely on the company because wrestlers like Rusev with as much TC exposure as he has could earn a mint on the Indies or working for one of the other bigger companies.
Botch Master is unhappy! Be gone
— Here comes THE PUSH (@RusevBUL) April 12, 2019
Rusev’s alleged swipe against Sasha Banks after she went on hiatus from WWE
Social media is a strange animal in the real world. As soon as anyone thinks something, everyone can be informed of it almost instantly. Social media for wrestlers is very much a double edged sword. Great for continuing feuds between television (working almost perfectly for the 24/7 title, that stuff is gold), and at other times, it can get you into trouble. But one thing that things like the Seth Rollins/Will Ospreay disagreement does do is bring a level of controversy, and as a very smart man (who is now Executive Director of SmackDown Live) once said, controversy creates cash.
All photos courtesy of WWE.com