Last week's debut blog on CM Punk sparked much debate amongst Wrestling Inc readers, many of whom branded me a 'mark'.
First off, I'd love to say thank you to all of those who read the blog's debut on Wrestling Inc – and an even bigger thank you to those of you who took the time to comment, whether you agreed with me or not.
Right, that's the pleasantries out of the way, now let's get down to business.
I took the time to read through many of your comments last week, both good and bad, and many came to the conclusion that I am a 'mark'.
What exactly is a 'mark'?
Well, a 'mark' is someone who generally thinks it's all real and likes what they are in effect told to. So, let's take CM Punk for example – he's now being used as one of the main attractions by WWE and overtook John Cena in shirt sales last year. This now means that it's deemed uncool to like Punk, especially by the IWC who notoriously big-up underused/indie talent.
I admit; I am a huge fan of Punk, because he's bloody good at what he does… I have been ever since I first saw him debut on WWE's ECW, long before he was anywhere near the top of the roster.
Many have followed Punk since he first started in the independents… Punk was an internet darling… but now that he's big time, it seems a large number of fans who read dirt sheets are no longer pro-Punk. Look up and down at the big names, and you will quickly see that Punk is far from the first this has happened to.
Randy Orton was once the hottest name on internet forums – say you were an Orton fan 10 years ago and you would have a lot of approving comments. Now, Orton is seen to be boring by the forums. Yes, a lot of the blame can go with creative for misuse of an incredibly talented performer, but is a lot of the criticism unfair?
I, like many, agree that Orton is much better heel (or at least a 'tweener'). He is unquestionably limited in what his character can do and it's no secret that Orton himself would much rather go back to being a heel. You could be forgiven for forgetting that Orton, towards the end of his heel run, was beginning to be heavily cheered by crowds – over or not, heels shouldn't be cheered. This led to his eventual face turn and his current character.
I much preferred Orton as 'The Legend Killer' rather than 'The Apex Predator', but sooner or later, Orton had to drop the nickname – there's only so many legends that one can kill. It worked to build him up to the stature that he has today, but it's hard to call a veteran on the roster with a Hall of Fame career a legend killer. Rather than having Orton go back to his legend killer days, I'd much rather creative continue to evolve his character.
Zack Ryder benefited from being an internet darling, although it seems to have died down a bit since he had a run on TV (not too long a run, it has to be said). You still see the occasional 'Ryder or Riot' sign. Would Ryder have such a strong following had he become a regular feature on TV? Or would the IWC have got tired of watching him shout out 'Woo Woo Woo, You Know It'?
If you read the blog before it made the move over to Wrestling Inc (you can view all previous entries at aarongratton.com) you'll know that I practically begged for Dean Ambrose to debut on the main roster. How did I know of Ambrose? Answer: the internet. I heard about him on the forums and proceeded to watch video after video of him on YouTube.
His matches against William Regal in FCW were amazing and from then I became a fan. I saw how good he was on the mic, in the ring and the sheer charisma the guy has. I felt that he could leave Christian without a nickname.
Here lies the predicament with the internet's current favorite son – how long until being a fan brands you a 'mark'? Surely it's only a matter of time? It happened with Orton, it's happened to Punk and, sadly, in a few years' time it will happen with Ambrose.
Am I a 'mark' because I continue to be a fan of someone now that he's one of the top guys and other fans don't like him? Or am I simply a fan with an opinion?
I'll leave you to decide that.
You can follow the author on Twitter: @ABGratton24.
Got a news tip or correction? Send it to us by clicking here.