Professional Wrestling

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RPF Fandom
Name(s): Professional Wrestling
Scope/Focus: There have been "fans" of wrestling since its carny days, but the more modern fandom first developed around the 80's, and continued on from then.
Date(s): 1980-present
See also: World Wrestling Entertainment, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, World Championship Wrestling, Extreme Championship Wrestling, Ring of Honor, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, CHIKARA
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Professional Wrestling is a relatively large, albeit disorganised, fandom, that straddles the line between RPF, media fandom[1], and shares numerous aspects of its make up with bandom (i.e. attending live shows, enjoying interviews, and attending meet 'n greets more often than fans of other genres might). It also has a devoted vidding element, located primarily on YouTube, and a large fic-writing section, located formerly on LJ and Fanfiction.net, and now primarily Archive of Our Own and Tumblr. [2] A smaller fan-art segment of the fandom can be found on DeviantArt. Many fannish sites were located on Geocities, and have been either lost or archived by fans/OOCities/documented as a part of the Geocities Rescue Project. One such site that has been archived by fans and documented is Shadows of the Moon.

Companies in wrestling are known as 'feds', and only certain feds are popular in fannish circles, though there are many, many more. World Wrestling Entertainment, as the most popular federation in the world, is the main focus of fannish attention. WWE's own developmental brand, NXT, has also cultivated its own separate fanbase. Extreme Championship Wrestling, World Championship Wrestling, New Japan Pro-Wrestling, Impact Wrestling, and Lucha Underground also feature in many works. Well-known indie feds like Ring of Honor and Pro Wrestling Guerrilla have their own smattering of fanworks. The notorious and well publicized (and fictionalised) sale of WCW and ECW to WWE in 2001 has lead to much cross-continuity between feds, and the usual back-and-forth of talent (especially with the rise of WWE's practice of 'raiding' the indies for talent, rather than utilising its own developmental feds) has encouraged this. However, canon is at the constant mercy of Retcons, swerves, and fanon.

Although professional wrestling has always had some level of fan activity, the fandom experienced a surge in popularity around the year 2013. This could have to do with the rising popularity of the 3-man faction The Shield, as since their debut in 2012 most fanworks have revolved around at least one member of the Shield (Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, or Seth Rollins).

The fandom is characterised by terminology unused in other areas -- Wikipedia gives a good list.

Predominance of Slash over Het

The fandom is hugely dominated by slash fanworks, and het and Femslash are obscure, more than likely due to the poor treatment of women by the big feds. (The) one big het pairing was Chris Jericho/Stephanie McMahon, a pairing dominated by misogynist taunts on his part. However, in recent years, Femslash has become more popular as female wrestlers receive better treatment and become more popular among fans.

Influence of Fans

Professional Wrestling is unique in that the fans are present while the show is being filmed, and thus are in a way a character with a voice in the shows.

WWE occasionally will change plot lines and plans for certain wrestlers according to how fans react to them at shows. Dwayne Johnson came into WWE in 1996 as a traditional Face named Rocky Maivia. He flopped, drawing chants of "Rocky sucks! Rocky sucks!", drawing more heat than even some of the biggest heels at the time. This led to him turning heel, deepening his voice and reinventing himself as The Rock. Along with improving in the ring, he ultimately had to do two big heel turns (joining The Nation of Domination in 1997 and The Corporation in 1998) for the fans to finally accept him.

Fanboys & Fangirls -- The Division in the Fandom

Like Star Trek, games, such as Final Fantasy, and other fandoms, Professional Wrestling fandom is sometimes split by gender lines. For example, fanfiction (especially the slash portions), is primarily done by people who generally identify as female, while news reports and scoops seem to be reported by and commented on by a more male-identifying audience. However, as this Fanlore editor will attest, some writers of both will cross the field quite regularly -- the existence of such blogs as Ringside Confessions attests to that.

Notable Pairings

Notable Works

Notable Sites

Tropes/Fanon

  • Triple H is NXT's dad. Triple H is always evil unless one of his NXT kids is involved.
  • Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins had an intense relationship, even more intense breakup, and will always carry a torch for each other.
  • Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns love each other. (platonically or romantically)
  • The Demon living in Finn Balor is a separate entity to him. (This is semi-canon)
  • Any member of the Shield and occasionally Finn Balor are treated as Fandom Bicycles.
  • Everyone wants Samoa Joe to put them in the Coquina Clutch.

Old Fandom Tropes:

Manhug2.jpg
  • CM Punk likes sex a lot, contrary to his legitimate 'straight edge' lifestyle, which dictates no promiscuous sex.
  • Shane McMahon is insecure. Fanworks did depict him somewhat as a rich snot, but his depature from the family company has changed this opinion somewhat.
  • Edge/Christian are OTP, and everyone just ignores the retconned fact that they were introduced as brothers.

Wrestling fans, like all other fans, like tropes:

Aliens

Zines

References

  1. In Defence of Wrestling Slash
  2. Professional Wrestling @ AO3
  3. worst kept secret on the indie circuit by Nera Fiore

Notes

  1. On AO3, combinations of The Shield are the OTP/OT3 for both WWE and for professional wrestling stories in general, with Charlotte/Becky Lynch filling the same role for Femslash.