Saturday Morning Rant: The Term “Mark” (Wrestling)

If you’re a wrestling fan who keeps up with the behind-the-scenes stuff on the internet, you’ve surely heard the term “mark”. For those outside of wrestling here’s the definition of a mark:

“A wrestling fan who enthusiastically believes that professional wrestling is not staged, or loses sight of the staged nature of the business while supporting their favorite wrestlers. Also sometimes used by industry insiders to describe a participant in the wrestling industry who believes that any aspect of the industry is more important than the money they can earn; for example, being preoccupied with holding a title belt rather than being paid more. Although this term has lost most of its original meaning over time; the term has been also known to be related to people have little or no knowledge in about the backstage, the industry as a whole or overzealously defends a major company or product while ignoring all others. This sub term is called a “product mark”.”

The reality of the term within the internet subculture of wrestling is that a mark is basically someone who knows it isn’t real, but gets upset at everything, as if they thought it was real. It’s usually used now as an insult, a way to knock a person down a peg. As anything else in society, I cannot stand it when a term is used as a way to shut a person’s argument down. For a wrestling fan to be called a mark, it’s about the same as someone is basic society being called sexist or racist, you basically lose all credibility upon being bestowed the term. And that’s way wrong.

I’ve never liked the idea of using terms and insults to settle an argument or to dispel thoughts and opinions that one doesn’t agree with. This really became a thing after what in my opinion was one of the worst endings to a WrestleMania event ever, supposedly the biggest wrestling event of the year. For those who don’t know, a legendary figure in the industry in the Undertaker lost to a man hated exponentially by fans keen on the behind-the-scenes of pro wrestling, Roman Reigns. There’s a feeling from many that Roman is unfairly pushed to the top when other guys deserve some of the spotlight and he basically ended the career of one of the most legendary and well-respected men in the history of wrestling in the Undertaker. Not only did his end the career, but the match was reminiscent of taking Old Yeller behind the barn and shooting him in the back of the head, it was not fun to watch. Now if Roman was shown to us as a bad guy or a “heel” in wrestling terms, we’d be mad, but okay with it. But in the context of WWE right now, he’s a good guy or a “face” and is pretty much shoved down our throats as such.

After the event, naturally a lot of people took to social media with their displeasure and the rounds of name-calling and issuing of the “mark” term was given out in droves to anyone slightly annoyed by what they had just watched. Anyone who got upset, they were a mark, therefore their opinions were not important and not worth anyone’s time. It comes down to that culture once again where anyone who doesn’t agree with someone usually just resorts to name-calling and character assassination, rather than having an actual debate about the topic at hand. I never saw people posting why they thought the match was actually good, why it made sense to have it end the way it did, instead there was just a flood of “Grow up, mark.” or “Fine speech.”, a reference to a John Cena line that’s basically used to tell someone that they just wasted everyone’s time.

I’m not going to use this post to make my own case for why the match was bad, I think enough people have put their opinions out there on the matter, I just have a problem with the lack of dialogue between those with differing opinions. For fuck’s sakes, folks, how hard is it for you to have a civil conversation with people? Would it kill you to at least take another person’s perspective into mind before you go around slinging insults like a monkey with its own shit? Yes yes, I’m aware I’m asking the average internet user to be civil, hardy-har-har, but seriously, how did we get to such a point that not liking a fucking wrestling match and outcome became a criminal offence to people?!

It’s funny isn’t it? They tell these “marks” that wrestling’s fake, yet they’re the ones getting involved in a person’s reaction to a fake wrestling match. Isn’t that worse?

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