What was the moment or event that turned you from an unassuming wrestling fan into the smart mark you are today?
For me, it was the night after Murder in Montreal. Until then, while having access to the net I never concerned myself with wrestling news. The only point of reference I used the net for in relation to wrestling was Bret Hart's Calgary Sun column and that was it. But having watched Survivor Series and seen the ending, I just knew something wasn't right and I needed to know more and that is when I fell into the "Smart" world.
Wrestlemaniacs and The Bagpipe Report became my main sources of reference. Wrestlemanics was awesome and for me the standard bearer as I surfed many sites to establish my favourites. CRZ's recaps were the best. Being based in the UK, I didn't get to view RAW or Nitro until Friday but I would go out of my way to avoid all show results until after I had read a recap from CRZ. My only gripe was I had to wait until Tuesday evening (UK time) to read it. Rick Scaia & Mike Samuda provided the the news and gossip in a non clutered easy to read format.
The Bagpipe Report with Blake Norton provided in depth coverage from guys who seemed to know and understand the business and I hated to see them end the service.
I became smarter around the same time it was before Montreal though, when I saw Bret Hart on Off The Record saying he had quit I went on the net searching for any information I could find. Also Wrestlemaniacs is where I did get most of my information, along with the smarks.com.
I also turned smart once I started reading Internet wrestling sites. I remember starting with IGN Wrestling. They had a huge dictionary full of "smart" terminology. I gained most of my knowledge from reading it.
I always wanted to fend off smarkdom and stay a mark... From the age of 4 through highschool, I always tried to pretend that wrestling was real...
Around 1998, I started using the net, reading CRZ's reviews... and learning more about the in's and outs of wrestling's hidden world. Although its fun to speculate with all the dropping of rumors and newsbytes... I miss those innocent days as a noncorrupted little mark.
I think I started surfing the net regularly around mid '97. I think I went to more fansites first and really didn't look for news sites nor was I aware of them. This was back when I was still going to school in the Philippines and the WWF programming on TV was about 3 weeks behind the US. I really don't know how I became "smart", I just slowly slipped into it. Back then, I knew (can't remember what convinced me) that the matches were pre-determined. But I didn't know about blading or bumps or any of that stuff. I had a feeling something was up after the Montreal incident. I never realized how big of a conspiracy it was though till sometime later.
I surfed mainly on WCW.com and WWF.com (I was there in the early days where it was still a beta site and you could put in your email address for future updates). I think one of the first "smart" sites I found was WrestlingInsiders.com. I really didn't try to surf around to other sites. I stuck to one site till it closed down and found another one that might've been affiliated with it. The first column I read weekly was John Bamman's "The Spear" column also on WrestlingInsiders.com. The guy soon after stopped writing columns after his girlfriend kicked him out. Yikes. I think from there, I went around to different places, I discovered the Torch and I looked thru their little glossary of wrestling terms. I read some of their columns on occassion. But after that, I got most of my wrestling news from LatestWrestlingNews.com or PayWindahPress.com which were the first copy and paste sites I found.
I'm bummed I never discovered CRZ back when he was writing or Scott Keith when he was funny j/k. I'm sure I would've had a ball reading those columns weekly (I still check out Scooter's stuff weekly). It's only been in the past 2 years that i've started to get acquainted with the big IWC people.
Add all of that together and that equals my "smart/smark" evolution.
Somewhere along the way, I heard about the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. I am really not sure where. By that time, I knew wrestling was staged event, but little else. The first issue I got was the one about Ric Flair going the distance to win the Royal Rumble. I thought Smart meant knowing real names (I was proud to know Terry Bollea and Randy Poffo - and knew the Genius and Savage were brothers). Dave Smartened me up. I started participating in a wrestling forum on a pre-internet network called relaynet. Eventually I discovered Usenet and later, the web. Guys like CRZ and Rick Scaia and Mike Samuda and Bob Ryder were there. I became "smart." And many of my friends wondered if I was a wrestler because I often knew about things that happened a week or two later.
I knew it was "fake" the first time I watched because my dad said, "Turn off that fake crap." And my mom would say, "Why do you watch that, it's fake you know?" So then I told them all the stuff they watch is fake like Star Trek and they still like it anyways. After that, they backed off and let me watch rasslin.
Originally posted by AWArulzAnd many of my friends wondered if I was a wrestler because I often knew about things that happened a week or two later.
I also used this to my advantage many times after I started subscribing to the Observer in the early 90's and getting on the net around 1995. I don't even remember how I found out about WON. I think there must've been an ad in the back of a PWI or one of the mark-mags.
Those WCW Disney Tapings provided for many easy $5 bets. Never bet on wrestling unless you're the only one who knows its pre-taped.
Also, the main thing that got me hooked on the net was ECW because I'd read about it in WON and the only way I could get it in Canada was through tape traders on the net.
When I saw an ad on a TV show that profiled websites on the Internet. And then did one on 1Wrestling and I starting visiting it and that's when it happened. I was still in high school and had no computer. So I had to use the one in the school library.
(edited by XPacArmy on 18.7.03 2334) Homer: I want to set the record straight: I thought the cop was a prostitute.
I started thinking along smart lines (ie. thinking in terms of what makes more sense from a booking standpoint than which character would win in a real match) in the summer of 1994. For some reason, predicting Tatanka's turn on Luger and Jarrett beating Mabel at SummerSlam stands out in my mind as the first time I really started thinking as a booker rather than a naive mark.
The fall of '96 was when I made the full turn to smarkdom. I couldn't resist sneaking into the library - where I now go to school, oddly enough - to try and find out who was going to be next into the NWO. I found out weeks ahead that Mr. Perfect was going to hook up with HHH in the end, and that was that.
I didn't get internet access until September 1998. But once I did, I immediatley began finding the internet news sites. Now, I visit several of these each day, subscibe to the Observer and Figure-Four, and listen WOL and LAW every Sunday night.
Sometimes, I think it's a bad thing. How cool would it have been if I had turned on Nitro on March 26, 2001 and the first thing I saw was Vince McMahon, and I had NO idea what the hell was going on? How would I feel about Triple H if I didn't realize that backstage he was a self-serving prick who was keeping my favorite RAW roster wrestlers (Jericho, Van Dam, and Booker) from their rightful main-event slot? How much funner (that's not a word, is it?) would watching SmackDown be if I didn't have that damnable urge to read the spoilers every Wednesday morning?
But, overall, I don't regret it.
EDIT: As far as realizing it was fake, I don't remember. Long before 1998, that's for damn sure. I've been watching pro-wrestling all my life, and I'm sure that at some point, I thought it was real. But I don't remember ever actually thinking that.
I was on the net before I was a fan, so when I got into wrestling the first thing I did was look for fan sites. Found Scott Keith and CRZ in short order, and that was it.
"I do have a degree in electrical engineering... from almost 20 years ago. Punchcard systems were just becoming obsolete, we had rotary phones in the dorms, and a modem was still a gizmo the size of a shoebox into which you squooshed the phone receiver itself. In short, we lived like animals.
The instant obsolesence is why I became a writer. The rate of punctuation in a sentence doesn't double every 18 friggin' months, and you never have some 22-year-old looming over your shoulder, shaking his head, saying "dude... you're still using adverbs...?"
Turned smart in late '97-early '98 when I started getting the Torch. The first issue was the Bret Hart-Montreal screwjob issue. Found a lot of terminology I didn't understand. Went on the 'net a short time later and found wrestling sites.
In 1999 I bought my first PWI magazine, and this was the first time I started following wrestling beyond, well, just watching it on the TV. It helped launch me into a quest in finding out as much about wrestling as possible, so I would buy as many magazines, books and videos/DVDs as possible. I noticed some articles making mention of the habits of the Internet wrestling world, and I became slightly interested. But I didn't receive internet access until early 2001. By summer of that year, I discovered Wrestlezone.com, and that was basically my introduction to 'behind the scenes'.
Of course I eventually discovered more and better wrestling websites, with better columns as the columns on Wrestlezone were pretty shitty. Then, after the train wreck that was "Raw X" early this year, I was determined to find as many bitter opinions about the show as the ones I possesed(I found that people were much more bitter!), and that led me to find "The Weinerboard". For some reason I couldn't resist getting an account(I actually don't remember why but I'm glad I did). And this site introduced me to the names "Scott Keith", "411", and ofcourse CRZ("CRZ had a website?" lol), among others.
I think I've really become by default a smark through posting here and learning, since I really wasn't aiming to become one. I'm still a mark at heart(my love for Kevin Nash as example), but I learned 'smarkism' doesn't have to be a bad thing.
(edited by darkmatcher on 19.7.03 1458) what you say
Originally posted by darkmatcherIn 1999 I bought my first PWI magazine, and this was the first time I started following wrestling beyond, well, just watching it on the TV. It helped launch me into a quest in finding out as much about wrestling as possible, so I would buy as many magazines, books and videos/DVDs as possible. I noticed some articles making mention of the habits of the Internet wrestling world, and I became slightly interested. But I didn't receive internet access until early 2001. By summer of that year, I discovered Wrestlezone.com, and that was basically my introduction to 'behind the scenes'.
Wow. How many times do you hear of someone start becoming a smark (I prefer that word to smart) by reading PWI magazines?
I too started my internet quest with Wrestlezone.com. At the time, I thought it was the greatest internet site ever. Of course, I (like you) soon came to realize that it was complete and utter crap.
I used to watch wrestling as a kid, back in the 1980's. I figured out some things, like the nature of jobbers and heel/babyface turns, though of course I didn't use those terms. I began watching again in 1999, and it didn't take long to look to the internet. One of the first things I found was a dictionary of insider wrestling terms, perhaps the same one mentioned earlier in this thread. I also found the Torch and Observer sites, as well as CRZ and Netcop. Nothing was the same after that.
Back in '87 or '88 i remember reading in PWI that Dusty Rhodes' real name was Virgil Runnels. Then I happened to see in that name in the NWA credits. (i guess Dusty was booking at the time). That was my first little piece of smark knowledge, of course I had it all wrong at the time and told all my friends that Dusty OWNED the NWA. But pretty soon I had figured out that NWA was owned by Jim Crockett and that lowly announcer Vince Mcmahon owned the WWF. By the time I got to high school I grew out of wrestling, but ive always been interested in behind the scenes type stuff, be it football, television movies etc. o when I came back to watching wrestling in 1999 I just found the IWC and here we sit.
I think it would make more sense to have them pull 10-15 people (of varying ages, ethnicities, etc) out of each audience and have them all meet somewhere with a WWE rep the day after the show or something.