Since I’ve been watching wrestling, about twenty four years now, “This is Awesome” chants have been around. However, since the birth of Ring of Honor in 2002, the chant has become more and more prevalent in wrestling. When is it really necessary, though? Should the chant itself die out? I’m not so sure.
There are times when the chant is absolutely necessary and warranted. Matches like Sami Zayn vs Shinsuke Nakamura from NXT: Dallas this year and Sami Zayn vs Kevin Owens from WWE Battleground absolutely deserve it. However, on the same show as Zayn vs Owens, the six man tag match between John Cena, Enzo Amore and Big Cass versus The Club also received that chant, despite not being nearly as good as the aforementioned match between two bitter rivals.
There are absolutely times in wrestling when a match deserves the praise, but in my opinion, it’s only when the crowd knows they’re seeing an absolute classic, or if there is a surreal moment in the ring. The stand off between NOAH’s Kenta Kobashi and Ring of Honor’s Samoa Joe way back in 2008, before the match even started, absolutely deserved such a chant. If for no other reason then simply put, nobody thought we’d ever see that match. It went on to become a five star classic in some minds, to the point where Ring of Honor didn’t even include commentary in the replays of the match itself. They left the crowd reaction and the action in the ring speak for itself. That is what a classic should be. When a match can stand on its own, without any commentary, without any additional influences, becomes such a memorable and incredible bout that creates a reaction from absolutely everybody, that is when the chant becomes necessary.
To bring it back to NXT:Dallas, Sami Zayn and Shinsuke Nakamura had the debut of Nakamura and the end of Zayn’s NXT run. It managed to tell a story despite having absolutely no back story besides what I just mentioned, and created what many consider to be 2016‘s match of the year. A truly incredible performance that, even when watching it without commentary, had me as enthralled as it did with the insight of the announcers.
The problem, to me at least, comes from when you hear the chant at nearly every independent promotion you watch. Whether it be a Young Bucks match in Pro Wrestling Guerilla, or a Steve Corino vs BJ Whitmer match in Ring of Honor, you hear the “this is awesome” chant. Are they really though? Are they to the point that you’ll never forget them for the right reasons? I remember Corino vs Whitmer simply because of the finish involving a sixty year old Kevin Sullivan and that is certainly not a good thing. The last Young Bucks match I remember fondly involved them facing the World’s Cutest Tag Team, and that’s simply because of Candice LaRae having a face full of blood, but not because the Bucks were doing anything extraordinary.
I feel, and this is just one journalist’s opinion, that the “This is Awesome” chant should be reserved for absolute classics and surreal moments. A six man tag match we can see on Monday Night Raw is not either of those. A match that is slightly above average is certainly not worthy. It does beg the question, however, as to whether or not the fan bases chanting this are even aware of how much they’re degrading a once premium-esque chant. It doesn’t mean much now if the crowd starts chanting it, because you hear it at every show at every event. If they’re consistently chanting it, then it loses meaning to the performers as well. Nowadays, it seems as if one big spot can get the entire arena chanting this is awesome for no other reason than a spot being just that, one spot.
“This is Awesome” should be reserved exclusively for the surreal moments and absolute classics in wrestling. If fans truly can’t distinguish between what is a classic match and what is a good spot, then the chant needs to die all together. I know that this will be a controversial opinion, but the more you chant something like that, the more it loses value and luster. If I hear the “This is Awesome” chant now before a match between, say, Katsuyori Shibata and Zack Sabre Jr, it means so much less to me than it would have seven years ago.
I want the fans of wrestling to make an effort in either using the chant correctly, or not at all. Not every match is awesome, and not every moment is worthy. Think of it as the slow clap from a cheesy teen romantic comedy. If you don’t time it right, it has no meaning. Unfortunately, we as fans have gotten to a point where the chant itself means absolutely nothing.