Thursday, September 12, 2013

Trending Topics: AJ's Tattoo - [a case of the summer]

I was originally going to do this week's Trending Topics about the latest episode of Breaking Bad, but then another matter came up that I wanted to discuss.  But then I realized that it was a REALLY big episode and that I still wanted to talk about it.  So instead of doing a Throwback Thursday this week, I thought I'd do TWO Trending Topics!

This first edition is about AJ Lee's curiously controversial tattoo.  For those of you unaware, the current Divas Champion tattooed the date of her title win, in tick marks, on the back of her neck (shown above).  Joey Styles sung her praise on Twitter and personally I thought it was pretty cool.  Then JBL and Jerry Lawler made fun of her, publicly, on Raw and it really bothered me.  Why are you trying to make your Divas Champion feel like a fool for being proud of her title win (right before a PPV where the entire premise of the show is that prestigious championships are being defended), while simultaneously trying to build up the credibility of their reality television show?  It came across, to me, as mean spirited bullying and as a fan of the girl (since her NXT promo video), it annoyed me a lot.

Then I visit the Blog of Doom to discover that dirt sheet guru Dave Meltzer rather obnoxiously criticized her as well, saying that "people within the industry" look down at people who get excited about "secondary" title wins, and that they're referred to, in a derogatory fashion, as "belt marks."  And Meltzer himself took a rather holier-than-thou stance on the matter, looking down on her as well.  So THAT annoyed me even further.

But what made things worse?  While the majority of people sided with AJ, there were actually people who sided with Meltzer.  Are you kidding me?  Apparently we now need to check with others to see if it's okay to be proud of something?  So what if wrestling is predetermined, it was still an exceptionally proud moment for her.  And why shouldn't it be?  This is one instance, I believe, where they actively decided to put the championship on the best person on the roster.  And since winning the title, as a heel, she's achieved clean, submission victories over Kaitlyn, Natalya, Naomi, and Layla.  She's actually perhaps the ONLY champion who doesn't lose regularly.  As a lifelong wrestling fan and as somebody who had an uphill battle in achieving success (due to her size and less-than-traditional good looks), why shouldn't she be extremely proud of all she's accomplished?

Personally, as a wrestling fan, I appreciate that there's a competitor out there who loves what she does and is proud of what she's achieved.  We sit here, getting riled up by Edge and rooting for Daniel Bryan because they're lifelong fans who want to be there, and then we judge AJ for essentially being the same?

And frankly, who are any of us to decide what anybody else should or should not be proud of?  And certainly it's not the silliest thing any person in the wrestling industry has tattooed onto their body.  On CM Punk's DVD, he insinuates that he once got a tattoo of a waffle because he had really good waffles that morning.  And even if that's not true, how about the fact that he has a giant Pepsi logo tattooed on one arm, and a giant Cobra logo on the other?  Or how about the Undertaker, whose entire body is pretty much a tribute to his character?  Or Mysterio, who has symbols from his mask on his chest?  Personally, I think all are fine (again, I think each has a lot more personality and significance than some stupid tribal design), but the point is that she seems to be put under a microscope that others are not.

And if this is a matter of "this is fake, why does she care about a nonathletic accomplishment?"  Others have brought up the Emmy Awards comparison, and that's accurate.  But how about the fact that there are several actors out there who have gotten tattoos to commemorate "fake" things.  The lead actors of Lord of the Rings got tattoos to commemorate their role.  Likewise, Kiefer Sutherland got a tattoo for his role as Jack Bauer.

So, yeah, I'm Team AJ.

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