Molly Belle's Something to Smile About: Glass Half Full

I think Sting said it best.

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“The only thing for sure, is nothing is for sure.”

When he said it, he was referencing himself during a very uncertain and aggressively evolving landscape in World Championship Wrestling long ago. The thing about wrestling though is that it’s almost always uncertain and aggressively evolving. 2022 might just be the year that truly is best defined above all others by this very same ominous statement. Do I even need to give examples?

I don’t, right? Good. Because we’re here for smiles and most of that nonsense provides nothing of the sort. We all know anyway. We’re living it! Every month something new explodes all over our news feeds and podcast channels. It is undying and relentless.

It can take its toll. Whether addicted to news that really is none of our business or simply getting our collective shine dulled through the constant barrage of negativity online, it can be a powder keg of ick slowly eroding what’s inherently beautiful about professional wrestling. When we let ourselves become consumed with negativity and ire, the things we love blacken ever so slightly. As time goes on, those same things we once held in such high regard and reaped incalculable joy from can just as easily do the opposite.

Instead of joy, we feel anger. Instead of love, we feel rage. Instead of a welcome escape, we instead find a prison cell.

We find ourselves locked in with nothing but time and resentment for what this thing once resembled. When it comes to this thing of ours as WE know it – professional wrestling – I shudder to think it could turn slowly to ash and simply drift away in a passing breeze. It’s very possible. Anyone who logs into social media understands that the one thing wrestling fans love more than actual wrestling is the act of burying wrestling…and each other. It’s a devastating reality to regularly witness.

So, what is the answer? What do we do? What CAN we do?

Look, I don’t know. Aside from just being more kind to each other, it seems we’re destined for the same sad trajectory we’ve been on for some time.

What I would do is challenge everyone out there to think back to a time when wrestling meant something to you – something so profoundly undefinable that all it did was simply make you feel good. It just made you smile. Before the nonsense, and the nastiness, and the negativity – when it was JUST wrestling. I’m not suggesting that it always has to feel that way. It won’t. It shouldn’t! But bits and pieces of it can. That magic is still alive all around us. We should actively try a little harder to enjoy moments like that and stretch them as far as is possible.

For most of this year, all anyone can speak on are topics that do nothing but divide us. Each major news story breaks us down into further subdivisions of hate and harassment. Tribalism is eviscerating not just the wrestling community but wrestling itself. Look no further than the headlines.

It’s the world we live in. When these stories break, I’m immediately refreshing Twitter and the sites I trust for accurate news. Things that are none of my business both captivate and distract me. We’re in the age of on demand news and entertainment, and bah gawd, that’s what we have 24/7/365. So, in this regard, I’m not sure anyone is innocent, myself included.

As historic a year in professional wrestling as it has been in ways that perhaps don’t deserve the attention they’ve gotten, what about the things that have happened and continue to happen as we speak that are altering the business FOR THE BETTER?

Triple H is finally at the helm of WWE, and he’s making active and significant changes to something that alienated so many of us over the past several years. It won’t happen overnight, but it IS happening. I had given up hope that WWE would ever resemble what it had when it meant everything to me once upon a time. Yet here we are. That makes me smile.

The independent wrestling scene is as insane and healthy as it ever has been! Larger than life names consistently make waves wrestling those indie darlings that we’ve always known have deserved the world. This year, they’re getting their flowers. On repeat. That makes me smile.

Ring of Honor has been given a second life. Sure, we’re in the early days of what it may or may not be when all is said and done, but we have Claudio and Joe holding prominent titles in the company they helped to build. Did anyone ever think that would happen again?! Honor is real, and that makes me smile.

Forbidden Door was a thing that happened! Hiroshi Tanahashi fought for the AEW world championship. Heck, Shibata stepped into an AEW ring! That makes me smile.

FTR. Bianca Belair. Jade Cargill. Matt Cardona. HOOK. Daddy Magic. Deonna Purrazzo. Effy. Jamie freaking Hayter.

THEY and so many more are always making me smile.

We live in a world where we can listen to the great Tony Schiavone call wrestling matches. We can still watch Sting compete! Johnny Gargano has a main roster spot that we can confidently believe won’t be wasted by awful booking! Medicine and science have progressed to an extent that we have a second chance with performers such as Edge, Christian, and the GOAT himself, Bryan Danielson.

Guess what? That makes me f’n smile!

So, is it really all that bad?

I guess what my point is, and it’s as much for my own consumption as anyone else’s, is that you can look at professional wrestling as in the mud if you choose to. Online trolls and tribalists would have you believe that you’re looking at a glass half empty. OR you can look at this thing of ours for what it is – a flawed yet beautiful work in progress – as a glass half full.

Ultimately, it’s no one’s choice but your own. We all have to navigate this crazy world, but dare I say it’s easier to walk together than apart, and it’s much more fun to walk with a smile on your face than rage in your heart.

I like to end these columns as graciously and as simply as possible.

So, to all the talent I mentioned and many more. To all the companies trying their best to give us moments we’ll never forget. And to all the fans walking along with me, just trying to find something to smile about – thank you.

Thank you for the smiles. Here’s to many more.

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