The Wrestling Signs of Our Times: Battleground 2016

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Hello and welcome to the First Edition of my brand-new column: The Wrestling Signs of Our Times! You may already know me from my other column here at Heel/Face, the 100% boozier Wrestling Cocktails. If not, go take a drink  look! I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.

Signs of Our Times is a different kind of column. Here, I’m not focused on wrestlers, or even the production of wrestling. Rather, Signs of Our Times focuses on the audience. I am interested in wrestling fans, fan culture, and how we interact with and speak back to the production of wrestling in a very specific way–through wrestling signs.

Wrestling fans use signs to communicate with other fans (those in attendance at shows as well as the televised audience), and with individual wrestlers, as well as wrestling promotions and even–in a sort of esoteric sense–with the spectacle itself. Some signs are silly, some are gross and some cut with a razor-sharp humor. Some wrestling signs broadcast a message that is immediately understood by viewers around the world, while other signs seem to be speaking to just one specific individual.

Make no mistake about it: wrestling signs are powerful platforms of communication within the universe of wrestling fandom. And beyond that, they’re fun!

Here at Signs of Our Times, I will be looking at the wrestling signs on display at all WWE pay per view events, starting with last Sunday’s Battleground. I will choose 5 signs from each to rate and share here, based on these categories:

  1. Overall BEST sign
  2. Overall WORST sign
  3. Best non sequitur
  4. Most attractive sign
  5. Best wrestler-specific sign

I am going to make every effort to choose 5 unique signs from every PPV, that is, one unique sign for each of the five categories. But I can foresee instances in which, for example, I truly feel that the most attractive sign is also the best overall sign. So there may be times when I share less than 5 signs from a given pay per view. Sorry! Them’s the breaks.

Also, I intend for this column to be seen as a conversation. So please feel free to comment! Tell me what you think of my choices! Share pics of signs that you like better or that simply strike you as interesting!

NOW LET’S DO THIS!! Moving backward:

  • Best wrestler-specific sign I wish I had been able to capture a better picture of this one. If you are like me, all you can make out from the fan’s sign is I need your goggles Becky. Then there’s a word that looks like it starts with a P? After that, who knows? But I simply had to choose this sign for the wrestler-specific category, because it worked. With his sign, the fan told Becky he needed her goggles. and she gave him her goggles. Wow.

wres spec

  • Most attractive sign With this category I will be recognizing the talents of the more artful members of wrestling fandom, starting with whomever created this New Day/Pokemon mashup sign.  I love it. I love the lettering, I love the pokeball, I love all of it. You can’t tell from the picture, but that fan is way, way up in the arena, but still those colors POP. Good job!

attractive

  • Best non sequitur For the benefit of those of you who never studied Latin, non sequitur literally means it does not follow and it is used to point out things that seem out of place. A non sequitur would be the sort of thing that makes you say “Wow. That was random.” At wrestling shows, the non sequitur signs are all the ones that have nothing to do with the show. They’re the signs that aren’t about wrestling. Or at the very least, aren’t about the wrestling happening in the ring that day. Take this guy’s sign, for example. Why is he calling himself a conspiracy victim? I don’t know. Why is he staring the camera down so hard? I don’t know that, either, but I’m intrigued! Now wait, Shana. Some of you might say. Maybe he’s wearing a Chris Jericho shirt. Maybe his sign is just a Chris Jericho thing. Maybe. But frankly that’s digging a little deep. Besides, in my mind he’s wearing an X-Files shirt.

non s

  • Overall WORST sign Sorry Knights fan. I’m sure the Knights are a wonderful team of…whatever sport they do. But your sign is ugly and I was sick of it by the halfway point of the PPV.

worst sign

  • Overall BEST sign My favorite sign of Battleground 2016 turned out to be the first sign I spotted. The sign itself is a simple design: it doesn’t include any pictures or lights and whoever made it only included two colors. But they managed to capture the political spirit of our times AND elude to one of the biggest movements in the history of wrestling fandom. That’s a powerful sign, and thus it won the night!

best sign

As always, I remain:

Your friend in wrestling fandom,

Shana Hammaker

Follow me on twitter: @literarygrrrl

Follow heel/face on twitter: @heelfaceraslin

 

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