As you know, at the Smackdown house show I had my signs confiscated for being too big. (If you don’t know that already, go and read my blog about it. It’s OK, we’ll wait.)
My signs were smarky, sure, but they were supportive of the WWE talent in a fairly non-threatening way. And as for confiscating a little girl’s Randy Orton collage – words fail me. If the WWE want to encourage children’s fandom and keep them into adulthood, then this is the kind of overly-stringent stewarding they need to discourage at their events.
But then again, the more troubling confiscation examples tend to be when they’re taken away for expressing a sentiment that the WWE disapproves of. We all heard that story a few months back about the Zack Ryder sign that was forbidden to be taken into a TV taping (this was before the WWE realised they were on to a good thing with him).
Anything critical of the talent or the company, though, is likely to be heading straight into the bin. I was proud that a RANDY SUCKS sign (A3 size, obviously) made it into the LG Arena, but that sure as hell wouldn’t make it on to TV. I’ve been told that numerous anti-Cena signs were taken away at the door of the Liverpool Echo Arena prior to the TV taping, but fortunately the marks and smarks of Liverpool made their feelings about the WWE’s golden boy very clear, even without the aid of their placards.
Of course you can understand the WWE’s point of view, particularly as they are so very odd about wanting to control everything to do with the company, the talent and the fans, even as far as controlling fan reaction. But it’s not as simple as it once was. Social media means word gets out. We all know that not everyone loves John Cena, for example, and that scares the WWE.
They’d be better off accepting any fan engagement as a positive sign. We’ve all heard the bromide “All publicity is good publicity” – the same applies to your fan reaction. If a wrestler is getting booed, or dividing the crowd, he’s OVER. Even if he might not be the beloved superhero you want him to be, he’s OVER. Work with that – that’s what you’ve got. And don’t be condemning our signs and our opinions to the bin.