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Affinity Space: WWE

The WWE is the number one professional wrestling organization in the world. On average, over 3 million professional wrestling fans around the world gather to watch WWE’s flagship show, Monday Night RAW. Fans can be identified in many ways; by sporting their favorite superstar’s merchandise or even by creating a sign to display at a WWE live event.

Every week the WWE airs two primary shows, Monday Night RAW and Smackdown. Typically these events are mostly story line-driven television shows with wrestling matches thrown in the mix in order to further stories between the characters or “superstars.” These episodic television shows lead to a monthly pay per view event where the stories are usually concluded in the form of wrestling matches. Fans spend upwards of $50 every month to view a pay per view event on television and can pay anywhere from $20 to $500 to view the event at the arena in person.

Space can be shared by fans attending these live events or participating online in forums. Newbies are typically known as “marks” because they simply watch the programming and enjoy it for what they see every week on TV, they may not even know that the outcomes of shows are scripted. The master fans such as myself are typically referred to as “smarts” because we not only watch the shows, we analyze every segment of the shows and even try to predict or “book” the outcomes of upcoming events or matches and most importantly, we know that the show is scripted but the athleticism is legit. The marks typically root for superstars that the creative forces behind the scenes at WWE would like you to cheer and boo who they would like you to boo. The smarts tend to cheer the superstars they enjoy, heroes and villains alike based on talent.

Experienced is gained mostly by utilizing the portals of the internet or “dirt sheets” such as news based websites like Wrestlezone.com or, like in the days before internet, magazines such as the Pro Wrestling Insider, where credible, behind-the-scenes knowledge of the wrestling business is generated often in the form of spoilers. Fans can also participate in conversations on the forums of the aforementioned websites, but beware, if you lack knowledge of basic grammar, or you’re simply there to discuss John Cena, you may want to stick to lurking for a while before participating. Some fans can be pretty brutal if you can’t back up your claims.

Fans are the end all and be all of the wrestling business, especially with a billion-dollar company like the WWE. Perhaps one of the best and most recent examples would be if we were to look at a wrestler that goes by the name of Zack Ryder. Ryder was a floundering, yet underrated talent on the WWE roster for quite some time, until he began his own comedic YouTube show entitled, “Z! True Long Island Story.” Utilizing the combination of his YouTube channel and Twitter, Ryder gained millions of fans known as the “Zack Pack” whom he encouraged to purchase his merchandise, chant his name and carry signs at live events, in turn, encouraging the WWE writers to “push” his character. In other words, make him a star.

Whether you’re a “smart” or a “mark,” there’s no denying professional wrestling and WWE fans are perhaps the most devoted fans of any form of entertainment that I’ve ever witnessed.

-How do the characteristics of an affinity space help
you understand how and why people communicate
and share knowledge about a particular shared
passion?

Most people that become interested in a hobby or a topic tend to become passionate about that topic, and when they become passionate about the subject, they want to learn as much as they can to continue to be entertained. The affinity space essay is a great way to educate others on your affinity space.

-How is technology and media leveraged in the
affinity space?

The WWE is pretty much a media conglomerate, they utilize every thing from social media to television to the internet to YouTube to get their product to the masses.

-How does the learning in the affinity space help us
rethink classrooms? (without creating creepy tree
houses)

It can create a medium to mix entertainment or something a student enjoys into learning. Public speaking through a forum such as a YouTube video would inspire students who are discovering their voices in, not only their writing, but also in their physical voices. No body wants to be misunderstood, especially if someone outside of their classroom, perhaps a member of the affinity space, is viewing their video and hearing their voice. That student will probably want to do well in an effort to impress their peers not only in the classroom but also in the affinity space.

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About Mr. Byrnside

WWE and Pro. Wrestling fiend.

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