I think we need to revisit the idea of “getting it.”
Two things happened this week. The Miz became WWE champion, giving us the third “new” champion behind Sheamus and CM Punk to really break out in the PG era. Secondly, John Cena was “fired” and Juan, his Mexican brother, was “hired.”
A little while ago, I made an argument that Randy Orton eclipsing Cena as WWE’s main man was the best thing to happen to Cena’s career. Fans of his know his well of talent, but the problem with being stuck at the top is that there were only so many stories he could tell. Without the albatross of holding the company together, Cena is now free to be used creatively. So we had him join the Nexus, fight it from the inside, and then lose his job. Now, we see him playing by what Chris Jericho used to call “The WCW Rulebook.”
I’m not sure if “Juan” Cena is going to be on television, but I think he should be. Cena’s comedic chops shine brightest when he utilizes “wrestling logic” (copyright K Sawyer Paul 2010), and the fact that he’s going to get to wrestle under a mask and be funny will do two terrific things: entertain wrestling fans, and piss off smarks.
Because when WWE doesn’t treat the SPORT of professional wrestling super, duper seriously, smarks have to face the fact that they don’t get it.
For those who haven’t waded knee-deep into the bowels of the Internet Wrestling Community, smarks are the folks out there who at once wish WWE could figure out how to clone Steve Austin and the Rock so we could go back to 1998, but also treat wrestling like the SPORT it’s supposed to be.
This is funny, because Austin and the Rock were entertainers first, second, and third, and capable wrestlers fourth.
Smark is god-awful short-form for “Smart Mark,” a stupefying term for someone who is aware that wrestling is fake, has read a few unverified rumours about Kevin Nash’s booking techniques, and does not approve of them. Smarks is not to be confused with Skarks, or a Skanky Marks; or a Mrark, the very rare and difficult to catch Pokémon Marky Mark.
By keeping Cena on the show in a comedic manner for the time being and giving the WWE Championship to a terrific heel in the Miz, it’s almost as if the WWE are rewarding the people who pay to come see the shows while at the same time completely ignoring the people who bitch about them on the internet. It’s almost as if that’s all they’ve ever done the whole time they’ve been in business. How dare they give two of their most popular and characters something interesting to do?
The people who do get it fully support The Miz’s championship win. And you know why? Because you can tell in every frame just how much The Miz loves what he does. That is the attitude that made John Cena a star, too. You have to love it, because that quality supersedes almost any other. Wrestling isn’t an easy thing to love. It’s incredibly difficult to defend. It’s almost universally pegged as a guilty pleasure. It’s looked down on by even the most back-alley sports and art forms. So when guys like John Cena and the Miz are rewarded by WWE management and the fans, it is because they don’t see any of that. They, like us, see the grace. And because they do, we put our support into them.
Smarks want to go back to a time when wrestling was better, but wrestling has never been better than it is right now. And until they square with that, they’ll continue to not get it.