Hi, if you’re reading this then this website will self-destruct in three months! I penned this a few weeks ago as a last goodbye to the site and the the whole WrestleWipe concept, and I’m posting it now because my baby boy is due any second and at that point I’ll be taking some time away to concentrate on nappies, dummies and being a typical beer-bellied dad. So it’s best to take the time to do a proper goodbye and leave early before the curtains fall.
In the last half of 2020, I knew that at some point in 2021 I would become a dad (or I would at least be on the road to becoming a dad), but I still had plans to continue with WrestleWipe. It’s was a lot of work to keep tabs on all the stories and shrink them into a digestible bite-sized paragraph, but I felt I found my niche in a crowded wrestling-content market. The articles on the site would fall away a bit, but I’d at least keep up with the monthly recap threads. That was the plan. Unfortunately, two events happened in 2020 that had a huge effect on the pro wrestling landscape, and on my willingness to watch and write about it.
Firstly, the pandemic effected my enjoyment of the pro wrestling in that, lets face it, empty venue wrestling is the shits. Clap crowds are the shits. Spaced out fans struggling to create noise is shit. 99.99% of cinematic matches are shite. It’s all fucking shit, lets not cherry coat it here. Pro wrestling is a live medium and needs that organic feedback from a live audience to thrive, and this period of empty, soulless wrestling was not for me.
I often found that I was forcing myself to watch wrestling in order to have an opinion of it. I mean, how can I comment on ‘ONE. FINAL. BEAT’ if I didn’t strap myself down in front of a screen and cry through the pain in real time? How can I dissect the atrocity that was Money In The Bank 2020 without watching every single frame? How can I enjoy Ilja vs Walter without the typical WWE production killing the moment?
It was a crap time to be a professional wrestling fan but it made for some EXCELLENT content. Believe it or not, it’s fun to write about how shit professional wrestling is! So much fun! Not nearly as fun as actually watching excellent professional wrestling, but enough to justify watching the tripe in the first place. It’s not exactly hate-watching either because I’m not watching whole episodes of RAW on a weekly basis (God fucking no) but I tried to keep up with the talking points, and what I did see I hated. Hated with a passion. Even the matches I found myself enjoying were tainted by bad production or lack of atmosphere or, in a lot of cases, both.
So I wasn’t enjoying the wrestling, and I wasn’t actively watching as much I used to, but it was the bare minimum to develop a patter about the pro wrestling scene. Enough to have a say in WrestleWipe threads and on social media. For a few months, that was fine. The banter around how the various wrestling companies were trying (and failing) to cope was grand, it made for some interesting think pieces and set the stage for WWE to be the ultimate wankers when they started releasing people to increase profits. There was still a lot to write about, albeit most of it was very negative.
But then came June 2020 and the whole thing got fucked. We always knew that most wrestlers are bastard-covered bastards with a bastard filling (I don’t expect people who throw themselves onto the ground for money to have particularly good ethics),
but the sheer scope, tragedy, sadness and atrociousness of the accusations being leveled against the wrestling scene was overwhelming. You expect a few dodgy pricks in any business, and you gradually learn how to circumnavigate the waters and who to support, but it seemed EVERYONE was complicit in this. Everyone was guilty, and if someone wasn’t guilty of being an abuser then they were guilty of covering up abuse or ignoring it completely.
I looked at the older WrestleWipes, where I’m having a laugh about Travis Banks and Jordan Devlin experiencing NXT-UK follies in order to “create a WWE moment!”…but I was on their side. After all, WWE are guilty of “moment booking” even if it means removing advertised matches to put already-established talent over the new guys who need the good exposure.
Skip forward a few months, and I’m having a laugh about the David Starr debacle, where he upset Pete Dunne by stepping on the prestigious WWE UK Title (the worse crime a man can commit, apparently)…but I was on David Starr’s side. Pete Dunne has a whine on Twitter, hurr hurr look at Pete everyone, he loves the taste of boots, WE THE INDEPENTADNT, hurr hurr.
Then, go forward another few weeks to Starr vs Bobby Gunns at wXw 16 Carat Gold, and Starr loses his roster place in a Title vs Career match, and we all supported Starr in his quest for unionisation and the spirit of independence as we lay in the wake of WWE co-opting wXw right in front of our eyes in shitty little video packages. YES, FUCK WWE! WE LOVE THE INDIE LADS, OTT IS GREAT ISN’T IT? MAN, I CAN’T WAIT TO REWATCH THE STARR/DEVLIN/WALTER SAGA BEFORE THE MOXLEY MATCH! WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE!
Doesn’t seem real, does it? On the site, post-June 2020, I edited those entries to be less on the side of Devlin, Banks and Starr, and less mean to Dunne. However, you can still find the original tweets from the original WrestleWipe threads though, and it makes for uncomfortable reading knowing what we know now.
WWE are still shitheads, Pete Dunne was still whiney, but those other three names…what a complete fucking shower they turned out to be. Those are just the three names out of dozens and dozens that I care to bring up in this piece, but they’re also suitable as they’re three of the names that sting the most.
Wrestlers are always talking about working modern fans, and how difficult it is, but I applaud all of you motherfuckers for working me into believing that you weren’t disgusting human beings outside of the ring. I got worked, you got me. Well fucking done.
At worse, you did horrible shit. At best, you continued to communicate with people who did horrible shit. These were people that I had given my own time, praise and money to, and all they did in return was leave a trail of victims. As someone who grew up in the 90’s and 00’s, I’m built with the “Look at the art, not the artist” chip, but it’s so fucking hard to appreciate the gallery when every single person involved is culpable. I’ll identify as a decent person with a conscience first; being a “wrestling fan” is way, way down on my list.
Well, yeah that was that. I tried to carry on the WrestleWipe series through the summer and into winter, but I could barely scrape an August edition. As I said, I love talking about how shit wrestling is but I also love talking about how great is. You need both, and WrestleWipe quickly became a thread of despair, and as much as I love misery as company I also love joy as company to balance it out.
I initially planned to wait it out, take a much needed break, and maybe cover September 2020’s happenings in the cold air of January 2021, then do a mega October – December 2020 edition in February to get caught up. However, I came to realise that I didn’t care anymore. That moment came the very second I learnt that I was going to be a father. *poof!* There goes my give-a-fuck! Pro wrestling, and by extension WrestleWipe, is not worth my time and effort any more. Why dedicate my time to that when I now had something more important in my life?
The COVID-19 and Speaking Out one-two punch pretty much sealed the future of WrestleWipe. I could probably soldier on with the project if only one of those massive events happened, but both happening simultaneously was the death knell. I’m disappointed, because the other parts of the site (the Ladder Match reviews, H&H Podcast and the CZW rewatch project) were great fun and were getting regular positive feedback. It’s hard to work from home for eight hours then continue to work from that same desk for another six hours, and it’s hard work not knowing who’s going to turn out to be an utter shithead next. So it was best to call the whole thing quits, and just concentrate on watching what I wanted and when I felt like it.
I regret not starting the project and site sooner. Maybe if I started this in 2015 the outcome would’ve been better, as I could just as easily take the year off, but I barely got over a year out of this. All the excitement I had for this project drained away in the last half of 2020. That’s life though and it’ll mean nothing ten years down the line when I’m helping my kids with their homework.
Anyway, that’s that. The site will be shut down permanently in December, but until then it will remain as a bastion of one man’s charge into the dumbest hobby possible at the worst time possible. Professional fucking wrestling, baby.
Thanks a bunch, everyone. This would not have been possible if it wasn’t for Twitter, the world’s most toxic social media platform (well, it is if you ask pro wrestlers and pro wrestling promoters). I greatly appreciate every single retweet, like, comment, and share of my amateur hour nonsense. The support was immense and unexpected.
Also, thanks to those of you who have contacted me with help, encouragement, scoops, opportunities outside of the site and, of course, tremendous banter. Of all the people that I interact with on the hell scape that is Twitter, I’ve never met 99.99999% of them so it’s pretty cool that I managed to get as far I did with all this.
It was fun while it lasted. And hey, that AEW is a bit of alright, isn’t it?
Right, I’m off for a bit. I’ll see you all down the line, take care! Cheers!