When it comes to wrestling, there's usually a few ways to present everything. Over the years, everything has gotten repetitive and predictable. When a cake is brought out, someone's face ends up in it. When a heel tries to shake a babyface's hand, he's gonna boot him/clothesline/whatever. Its all the same and eventually the fans pick up on that. Well, some of the fans do....the ones that do usually figure out A LOT more. They think they know everything about wrestling and yet they still pay to attend shows. We call them smart marks. Ring of Honor is known for having a smart audience, yet they still draw decent numbers every single show. How is this possible if the fans know what's going on? Because ROH promotes athleticism instead of repeating the last 30 years of wrestling, a lesson the promotions and wrestlers around here could benefit from.
I recently met a small group of smart marks after a show in Tuckerman and it gave me the idea for this column. I ran in to them at the store and one of them told me they had to give me a hard time but that they appreciate someone with a good "workrate" whether they're heel or babyface. I had to laugh when they said workrate because I knew they were trying desperately to not sound like marks, but that statement proved they were indeed, marks. I understood what they meant and told them thank you.
Its moments like this that show me there are still people out there that will come to watch local wrestling looking for an alternative to WWE or TNA, unfortunately they usually find a very bad product and don't come back. It sounded like the night in question they got lucky and said they'd try to come back. I forgot to mention this group came from Poplar Bluff, MO also. So it just goes to show you, be different and look what happens....people start to come out in support.
I used to really get annoyed by smart marks til I realized that entertaining and pleasing them, means a lot more than entertaining and pleasing just a normal crowd. Sure, its easy to go back to 1983 and be predictable because in some towns that still works. But when you can stop a smart mark from heckling you from the front row and make them watch the match, you've accomplished quite a goal. That's when they realize you're not like everyone else on the card and they watch to see what's going to happen next instead of trying to predict it. That makes my job harder and makes the rest of the crew work harder as well, or it should. So to the smart marks everywhere, come back and be impressed! And thank you for helping make me a better wrestler.