February 7, 2006
“I’m so offended by the way Vince has used the death of Eddie Guerrero that I’m going to tune in to WWE each week as a way of showing my disapproval.”
Sound familiar? Well if you’re one of those people ‘sickened’ by how Eddie’s death has been used to further angles and characters yet still intend to watch Raw this week then the above statement pretty much sums up how you feel.
You really don’t have to be a genius to gather that by doing this you are playing exactly into WWE’s hands. It’s the oldest trick in the book yet we fall for it every single time. There’s nothing like generating a ratings bump than mock outrage and McMahon knows it and is the quintessential proficient at it. What people have to realize is that what Randy Orton said this week on Smackdown was no different to Lita exposing her breast or Edge standing behind her in his tighty-blacks simulation sex in the middle of a wrestling ring.
Ask anybody at the time and you would think that WWE were embarking on the first live broadcast genocide. Everybody knew that the actual prospect of ‘Live Sex’ was ultimately unlikely but that did not stop the outrage. Up and down the country and across the world you had people watching through the gaps in-between their fingers as they wished to underline to others their exasperation with what was going on. But the key thing is - they still watched. Not only did they watch but they watched in bigger numbers than at any other time in recent history. Sure everyone said they were ‘offended’ by it but guess what? Everyone watched.
Vince knows exactly what he is doing by making Eddie’s death part of storylines on his television shows and like it or not it’s YOUR fault that he’s doing it. He knows what buttons to press because you’ve allowed him to push them. If live sex stunk up the ratings then there would be a moral case for wrestling fans to argue against him when it comes to this. But the morality case has already been lost because we have proven ourselves to be suckers for controversy. What we say we like and what we actually watch are clearly two different things. None of us LIKE seeing dead bodies covered in blood hanging out of the front windscreen of a car but we’ll all turn our heads to look if we drive past such thing.
Until we progress past this love of being offended and desire to be shocked then network executives will just continue to feed us with what we really want. Every time Eddie’s name is mentioned I can guarantee the first thing that you think of is rushing onto the internet to express you displeasure at it. But what you’re feeling isn’t displeasure, it’s excitement. It’s excitement because you know that for the next couple of days at least you can go on the internet to talk to friends and others about something that you find interesting. Because being offended is interesting to us. We do not take offence to things we don’t find interesting we just ignore them.
We are faced with two choices. Either we stop watching or we stop complaining. I’ve already made mine.