Burning Ground: Pro Wrestling’s Information Pollution
“Wrestling… with Demons” is an open journal for the most part and not a traditional website. I wanted to take this time to give some perspective and insights into the pro wrestling media landscape with my personal experiences over the last several months.
I’ve covered pro wrestling off and on since my grade school newspaper decades ago. I always knew that there are “workers and cons” in the business. Those people were usually your stereotypical shady promoters. I remember different guys on the indie scene telling me that they were “working on getting television” or trying to get Hulk Hogan for one match before he went to WCW. Nothing ever came about and it was the usual pro wrestling lies and delusions of grandeur that everyone laughed at.
When I started this place I didn’t know that modern pro wrestling journalist are just as sleazy and unethical as some promoters. I learned quick and now see it each day.
Every pro wrestling fan should know that most of the major wrestling website priorities are always about WWE and AEW. Whether people like WWE or hate it, the news and results it brings in is what drives the major pro wrestling website’s traffic. AEW is the new big player on the block so there’s a mix of it being a hot product and a curiosity factor.
Unfortunately a lot of the major sites don’t have the time or desire to cover international, smaller indies, and women’s groups on their own full time because there is so much national TV pro wrestling to cover. That is why I started this site.
Earlier this year, a “cut and paste” site was taking my reports from PW Insider with proper credit. I had to correct them on some of the headlines and other things. They reported that I worked for PW Insider. I do not work for them or Wrestling Observer. Work means getting paid and having an official staff position. I collaborate with them in exchange for them giving my site credit on anything that they use from here on their sites.
The owner of this C&P site was nice. He told me if I ever wanted to let them directly use any of my news and results they would gladly post it too. I agreed because I felt that they were another big platform to help get the name of this site out there as free press.
Things were going good for several months. A majority of what I had to offer was used on their site. A few of my reports were even picked up on international wrestling sites from them. I was ecstatic and felt like I was beginning to make a credible name for myself, and for this site, fast out of the gate. I was away from wrestling for a few years and I needed to familiarize myself with everything again.
Months later, the C&P site owner wrote me and said he would like to have me contribute full time with a paid position. He said I would have to close down this site which was a fair request. At first I refused, but then I quickly reconsidered because it was a money offer. I would have been a fool not to take it.
The owner told me he would get back to me on payment arrangements a little later. I was cautiously optimistic because I know how life can be. Obviously I didn’t shut this site down and I continued to contribute to that site for about a month and a half more as I was waiting for him to get back to me on his offer.
As time went by, one of the other staff members over there was very patronizing towards me. He disputed a few of my reports which were correct. That started to make me angry and uncomfortable. I also never heard another word from the owner about the pay job again and I never received one penny from the countless items that I contributed after he said he would get back to me.
My articles for the longest time were not showing up from here on this site on Google. Other times you had to click through several pages to find them. It turned out that the C&P site had a far more powerful SEO than I did at the time. My articles would always appear on search engines but only from that C&P site. “Wrestling… with Demons” itself, the technically original source of the information, was getting buried in the internet searches by the C&P site.
I decided it was time to pull the plug on working with them and there was a falling out. They now no longer “copy and paste” any content from this site or the carbon copies of my items on PW Insider. If there’s a big international event like this weekend’s AAA, they will “copy and paste” the awful watered down and dumbed down results from Fightful.
This brings me to the actual topic of “Information Pollution”.
Can anyone tell the difference between sites like Fightful, PW Sheet, and others? I sure can’t.
Anytime there’s a story such as the recent WWE broadcast team shake up, or a big news item that Observer or PW insider breaks, Fightful and PW Sheet will pick up those exact same stories along with every C&P site in the world.
This is certainly not to say that Fightful and PW Sheet don’t have sources in the industry because they obviously do. Both sites will break a big story or two per month, but overall, 99% of their content is exactly what you’ll find first on PW Insider, Wrestling Observer, and a few other sites. What’s mind boggling is how over they are with fans and people in the industry despite not being original sources of information most of the time. People either don’t know that or they just don’t care.
There is a term called “Fandom”. I don’t believe pro wrestling has a fandom in 2019. It has what I call a “Markdom”. Sean Ross Sapp and Ryan Satin speak the language of “Markdom” on Twitter, podcasts, etc. and that’s how they seem to get over. Just look at Sapp’s rehashed history of Anthem’s failed business practices on YouTube as an example. It was a rehash of what the Observer and others reported on years before.
It’s doubtful that I can prove it, but I firmly believe that the guys at Fightful steal my results and the results of others. As soon as something appears on PW Insider, Fightful will post the usual watered down/dumbed down results of it as if to avoid accusations of plagiarism. It’s usually “Wrestler A def. Wrestling B” without any details or angles noted.
There were a few times they did mention details and the exact writing and description sure looked like mine word for word. I’m not saying that they don’t have correspondents who send in results, but most of it seems lifted and edited down from other sites. Why should they sit down and watch a AAA show or EVOLVE when they can just steal results from someone else and post a bunch of GIFs from people on Twitter actually watching it in seconds? That way they don’t have to do any work and they have enough readers who will hit the like and retweet button no matter how vague the results are.
Then there’s David Bixenspan who calls himself an investigative journalist and historian, but he’s nothing more that an ambulance chaser and dumpster diving troll. He’s made a career out of rehashing every WWE scandal along with any other scandal in the business that he can find.
He’s a freelancer that does most of his work at Deadspin. He has a right to an opinion just like everyone else, but to a lot of people he’s the very definition of “the Big Brother speech police and thought police” that has overtaken pro wrestling and the rest of society.
Most of his articles are topics filled with his own hostile opinions, tons of condescension, and personal bias. His main target is always WWE. It comes off like he has a personal vendetta against the company and he’d like to do whatever he can to try to take them down. The worst part is, he probably gets paid for this.
Several days ago there was apparently a Twitter argument between Bix and Ryan Satin with a few others chiming in. Someone told Bix that his “anti WWE bias was showing again”. He replied and admitted it and felt justified, basically saying that WWE is greedy and unethical for starters.
Sapp, Satin, and Bix don’t seem to watch much outside of WWE and AEW. They, along with a few others like them, seem to spend most of their time on Twitter monitoring several wrestlers, companies, and fellow reporters/sites to see what information and results they can steal. They will also jump into arguments that don’t even concern them.
Sapp and Bix’s tone and personality are so similar as “PC Bros” that I actually get them confused at times. Many months ago one of them said they were going to do pro wrestling’s version of Snopes in an effort to call out other reporters who are wrong but never publicly admit it. Whoever it was actually did do that type of “report card” analysis for a couple of months but it didn’t seem to last.
I rolled my eyes and laughed to myself thinking it was just more proof that these guys don’t watch much outside of WWE. They spend their days arguing on Twitter and trying to discredit each other in an attempt to try to “cancel each other out”. There are too many “information pollution” sites like them, and if one goes down, that means more web traffic for the others.
Another thing a lot of these guys all have in common is that they try to discredit Dave Meltzer in hopes of being “the next Dave Meltzer” instead of sticking to their own lanes of the internet. They’re enabled by various high profile Twitter Trolls that surround their social media inner circle because they don’t like Meltzer either.
I’m not just criticizing the guys…
There are many women reporters now who share the same lockstep feminist hive mind. There’s a difference between being a fan of the business and actually knowing the business and its history. Most of these women are clueless.
Fansided and Bell to Belles (or whatever it’s called) are a couple of the worst offenders.
Their content mainly consists of ranting and raving each week that WWE and AEW “dared” to only have one women’s match on an entire show. They’ll mixed it up with rants about alleged sexism and racism. Occasional they’ll throw in “fluff pieces” with headlines that read: “Why Dana Brook is the MVP of the Women’s Division” and “Alicia Fox deserves a title shot”. These sites are also representative of the pro wrestling “speech and thought police”.
In the end, pro wrestling fans who actually care about serious original news and results have to constantly wade through a sea of “information pollution” consisting of “cut and paste”, feminist slant, personal biases, and SJW/PC points of view.
Like with the main stream media, it’s very hard to get “just the facts” news and information from credible and original outlets. Sites like mine are getting drowned out in the Internet Wasteland.
I’m sure people will laugh at this and play “the numbers game” to discredit me because of only having less than 70 followers on Twitter. They act as if the numbers of followers is like a commodity that represents integrity and credibility instead of the popularity contest that it is.
This post might end up being controversial and get me heat but I felt it needed to be said.
“Wisdom is sold in a desolate market where none come to buy”- William Blake
Updated at 2am on 10/22/19:
Ironically WWE Raw didn’t have any women’s matches at all this week for the entire show. It set off some of the players mentioned in this post in the usual predictable fashion.
A case of “manufactured outrage” to put themselves over as the self appointed trouble shooting watch dogs of the industry.
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