Sitting in a wide circle on the tatami floors of a Japanese apartment is a group of four wrestlers from the West, including myself.
An off day in the boondocks of Tokyo can seem like purgatory or worse to an unhappily unbusy person. Usually, it’s pretty heavenly to a solitude and silence-seeker like myself, though. Despite my favoritism for doing my own thing, I am listening to and at-request participating in a pass-the-time conversation.
“Who do you think is the greatest pro wrestler of All-time?” Asks Someone-not-me.
Sh**. I think. I hate answering this question.
Someone says a wrestler that was super-jacked.
Someone says a wrestler that was almost universally acclaimed as super-talented.
Someone says someone that was almost universally acclaimed as super-well-rounded.
Someone asks me.
I guess I gotta be That-guy. I think.
Jason Kincaid sighs and says, “Hulk Hogan, if I had to guess.”
“If you had to guess?” Someone asks.
“I mean, yeah. When you use a word like greatest, which means of an extent, amount, or intensity - or ability, quality, or eminence - more than anyone else, you’re asking something that’s pretty much just a math problem: it’s objective. I would guess that Hogan made the most total money as a professional wrestler and for professional wrestling; he was the catalyst of two wrestling boom-periods.” I said in my sorry to ruin your perfectly good debate-for-fun by being literal sort of way, before adding, “Jay Z has a line ‘Men lie. Women lie. Numbers don’t’, I think that’s why Hogan is the greatest.”
My friends look at me like they should like um...o-kay you f***ing weird-d**K.
After a pause, the someone who had named a super-jacked wrestler said, “Hogan’s a good answer.”
“So you’re saying that it’s pointless to have fun, thought-provoking, deep-looking conversations like this because the greatest can be determined by counting things like ticket and t-shirt sales, PPV buys, most main-event matches, etc.?” Said someone not willing to let me off the hook so easily.
“I mean, yeah. It’s phrased as a provable question. So, it should get a provable answer.” Said the tattoo-headed wrestler with maybe too much capital invested in the risky Let’s Be Intellectually Honest Here stock (aka I).
“Then, how would you phrase the question?” Asked the Unwilling-to-unhook-me.
“I mean, like… *I breathe out with my jaw shut* Iiiii wouldn’t?” I say.
“Why not? Don’t you think it makes for good conversation?” They ask.
“Not really. I think it plants seeds for pointlessly heated arguments and even fights. I mean, clearly, we’re all friends here and it’s a subject that we all understand is subjective - you know, an opinion - but way too often in modern culture things that should be stated as opinions are stated as facts, which leads people to take offense because their opinion-that-they-see-as-fact has been challenged to a fight. Opinions-stated-as-facts are like Russell Crowe on South Park they f***ing love to fight.” I answer, then add, “I might ask who’s your favorite wrestler, which is an opinion without a 70’s Heel mask on it, but I know that’s not as fun because there’s no conflict in it. I’m not - seriously, anyway - going to tell you that you’re wrong about who your personal favorite wrestler is. So, there’s no hope for a back and forth exchange, but also, for me, no worry of a back and forth battle of ego-attachments to opinions.
I mean, how many of you have seen internet posts like ‘So-And-So is the Greatest-blank-of-All-time’ only to see the first comment is ‘No offense, but ur a f***ing dumbass. So-and-so isn’t fit to hold So-and-so’s scroat!’?”
I look around to yeah, I guess you’re right about that, at least nods.
Recently I got to see this Principle Of Picking A Fight When You Posit Opinions As Perfect Truth in action.
My good friend A Younger Wrestler made a post like this:
West Virginia Championship Wrestling has THE Most Talented locker room in West Virginia. Don’t @ me.
My good friend An Older Wrestler read this, considered it, and commented something along the lines of:
Lmfao! No offence to WVCW but to say they have the best locker room in the state is laughable at best.
What followed was a back and forth exchange that may or may not have included: others jumping in, personal attacks, sarcasm, hurt feelings, burned bridges, threats, turned-off fans, a weakened local wrestling community, and (maybe worst of all) meme battles.
Now, let us imagine - not completely un-Lennon-like - in an easy-if-you-try utopia where the Young Wrestler posted something like this:
West Virginia Championship Wrestling has my favorite talent in the state of West Virginia. @ me with your favorite locker room.
I’d imagine the older wrestler might scroll right over this post as he sips his cup of morning coffee, but maybe, since the Young Wrestler asked for other’s opinions he might feel compelled to comment something like this:
@Young Wrestler, that’s cool, but my favorite talent are in Promotion B. You should check out some of their events and let me know what you think.
I could imagine, also, that what could follow would be a back and forth exchange that may or may not include: others jumping in, praise, genuineness, good feelings, newly built bridges, promising plans, turned-on fans, a strengthened local wrestling community, and (maybe worst of all) promotional graphic and footage sharing battles.
My seven year old niece-
Uncle Jason, I’m eight, now, silly!
Oh. Sorry. My eight year old niece...was seven years old when we began playing a game called Subjective Or Objective. It’s-
Ooh. I like that game, Uncle Jason. Because I am good at it.
Yes, darling. You are pretty good at it. Like I was-
Can we play now?
Not now, sweetie, I have to finish this Fightful column. I was just about to explain our game to the readers.
What’s wrong, darling?
I’m feeling sad, because you don’t want to play the game.
Thank you for honestly sharing your emotional state, you’re getting really good at that game, now, too. Sorry, readers, as I was saying-
Now, I am feeling fear.
What are you feeling afraid about, sweetie?
I am afraid you’re explanation is going to be soooo boring. Games ain’t boring and can teach you things quicker, Uncle Jason.
Are you sure you’re just seven?
UNCLE JASON! I AM-
Eight! Right, just messing with you. Okay, darling, let’s play.
Subjective or Objective: I am a great wrestler!
Because some people will think you’re too sloppy sometimes and look stupid.
Right! But, jeesh, but, yeah, right! Okay, next one.
Subjective or Objective: WWE is the biggest promotion in the World.
Because when you said biggest you used your arms to give me a hint - which I didn’t need - that you were talking about size. Size is objective because we can all just look and see.
Subjective or Objective: WWE isn’t as good as it was last year.
Because you said ‘good’, but some people could think it was gooder-
-*ahem* better this year.
But couldn’t someone say that it’s objective because we could check the ratings?
No, silly, because you said ‘good’ remember. We don’t all agree that something that other people might like is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ just because of numbers. If nobody else liked you, Uncle Jason, I would still think you’re good, because I like you.
That’s beautiful, darling!
All the greatest things in life are, sweetie.