Old School

Sometimes people just go too far.

While I’m of the school of thought that the paparazzi isn’t so bad because the media and celebs trade off, rabid fans are another story.

I like certain artists. I’ve been priviledged enough to talk to some of them, including my childhood hero. I follow some of them on Twitter. Sometimes I send them tweets. One time, Chris Daughtry replied and that was pretty cool. Sometimes I talk about how I’m married to Adam Levine in my imagination, but that’s kind of where it lies.

WWE Champion CM Punk (Phil Brooks) seems to have a hard time with celebrity. He’s been known to tweet his frustration with fans yelling at him for saying no to autographs while going through TSA. He will often retweet death threats, hate speech that fans send him because he thinks it’s a lesson to others to maybe…grow up. However, last night on Monday Night Raw, fans were stunned when Punk seemed to finally have enough when an alleged fan tried to shove Punk down the arena steps twice and Punk turned around and punched the alleged fan in the face.

I say alleged because let’s be honest, pro wrestling is as scripted as any other primetime TV show. Ratings are down and people need a reason to tune in. What better way to cause some controversy than having the star of the show punch a “fan” in the face? Fans identify with this poor sucker and tune in to see if he is punished. Others identify with the frustrated Punk and cite that this guy had it coming. Either way, you’re all talking.

If this was in fact a legit encounter where a WWE talent punched a fan in the face, it wouldn’t be the first time. Chris Jericho also punched a fan in 2009, albeit under different circumstances. Wrestling fans are a different breed of television viewer, with a sense of entitlement. They carry themselves online as if they own these men and women and that they are obligated to entertain 24/7. When former Diva Kharma (Kia Stevens) announced her pregnancy, fans revolted, asking why didn’t she think of the storylines. Another former Diva Maryse Ouellet chose to leave the company to pursue other projects partly due to a crazed stalker, who threatened to kill her several times. When Jericho opted to leave WWE (again) and tour with his band Fozzy, he was met with death threats. Punk has admitted in interviews that he regularly receives death threats for various on screen moments. This is fandom gone beserk.

If you like a show, fine, but remember that CM Punk is still Phil Brooks and Phil Brooks likely doesn’t want you shoving him down a flight of stairs while he’s trying to do his job. While he shouldn’t punch a fan in the face, WWE should have had security present to prevent that from happening (the lack of security separating the two prompts further speculation that this is fiction). Phil Brooks owes you five hours of TV time a week and entertainment if you bought a ticket. He doesn’t owe you an autograph in an airport or while having dinner with his girlfriend. He doesn’t owe you a response on Twitter or anything beyond what the above mentioned time. Phil Brooks is entitled to a life outside of his job, just like you or me.

So, if this is a legit assault, maybe we should all learn a lesson about reigning in our fandom, whether it’s fictionalized TV, sports, or the like. If you’re going to put yourself into the show, chances are you will get hurt, so maybe you should just keep your butt in the seat.

UPDATE: Well, I’ll be damned. This story may have truth to it. WWE has released this statement:

“WWE security was unfortunately not in the appropriate place at the time. Given CM Punk’s persona as a ‘bad guy’ fans were naturally heckling him, but unfortunately a few fans began shoving him and one struck him in the kidney and on the back. WWE regrets that proper security measures were not in place, and CM Punk apologizes for reacting in the heat of the moment.”