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WWE Heat Index of the Week: Randy Orton's dive controversy

Randy Orton's biting criticism of the style of independent pro wrestling has gained a lot of attention during a slow news week.

19 May 2017, 12:37 IST
Drew Gulak No Fly Zone
Orton’s not lyin’, no high-flyin’!

Welcome to another edition of WWE Heat Index, where one of the biggest stories in the week is examined under a microscope and picked apart for analytical purposes.

Over the past few days, one story has gained far more traction than it probably ever should have: the Twitter beef between Randy Orton and Bubba Ray Dudley and the concept of dives.

This all started with the following tweet from Rip Rogers:

Rip Rogers tweet
Handshake, drawn out caption, this is awesome chant, witty joke, dive.

This is a bold statement, considering the heaping amount of support independent wrestling has on the internet. After all, the smarkiest wrestling fans of them all—the Internet Wrestling Community—are exactly the type of people who would come across this in the first place and get upset about it.

There’s a certain level of respect given to the indie scene, where sports entertainers who don’t work their way up through the smaller companies are often met with disapproval for having not “paid their dues.”

If someone has wrestled in Ring of Honor and all over the world, they’re usually held in high esteem and are put on the list of wrestlers that people would like to see work for WWE in the future.

This in itself is kind of counterproductive, but that’s an argument for a later point.

Before it could turn into a spirited debate, Rip Rogers’ tweet took a different direction as Bully Ray put out a picture of himself jumping off the turnbuckle, captioned simply with “Dive” and the emoji to rock on.

Bully Ray dive
Bully Ray takes a dive.

Had the story ended there, it would have been lost in the daily shuffle of dirt sheet reports, but Randy Orton tweeted his thoughts, saying “Lol there is a difference between a young, hungry talent diving and an old outta shape ‘vet’.......falling“ in direct response to Bully Ray’s picture.

That is when the floodgates were opened.

Bully Ray’s girlfriend Velvet Sky tweeted back with “Wow what a dick thing to say.”

Orton continued to poke the bear, even more, releasing an extended tweet with the following picture:

Randy Orton tweet
The Apex Predator knows how to troll his audience like no other.

By that point, everything started to snowball to where it was a full-blown news story and not just some passing tweets.

Before long, CM Punk, Will Ospreay, Ricochet, Low Ki and virtually everybody under the sun has commented on this, ranging anywhere on the spectrum from making light of it by cracking some jokes to being legitimately upset and starting arguments.

Batista, for example, showed his support for Orton and seemed to find the situation humorous.

Shirts were made to try to capitalise on it and to turn things around into a funnier direction.

However, some people leapt to the defence of this style of wrestling by criticising anything Orton has done as being boring in comparison.

Others have merely chastised Orton himself for saying anything at all, accusing him of being “irresponsible” with the power he has or just trolling for the sake of it.

A few have taken a more diplomatic approach, pointing out that everyone has their own opinions and they’re entitled to like or dislike whatever they want.

But the core of this story seems to be two-fold: 1) do you agree or disagree with the sentiments Orton and Rogers have, and 2) should Orton have added himself to the conversation, to begin with?

The first question has no right or wrong answer, as it boils down to preferences and opinions.

If you have a different perspective, you have every right to disagree and to try to explain to others why you feel as though this style of professional wrestling deserves more credit rather than to be mocked.

Likewise, if you echo those statements entirely, there’s a retweet button that can let you send that out to the world with your stamp of approval.

Yours truly leans somewhere in the middle. I can entirely see where that line of thinking comes from as I’ve seen more than enough matches with nearly that same layout to recognise it and be able to picture it in my head perfectly.

On the other hand, I’ve enjoyed some of those matches quite a bit.

You can live in both worlds. Just because I prefer Wendy’s doesn’t mean I’ll never enjoy anything from McDonald’s or Burger King from time to time.

If any wrestlers out there are following that outline of a match too closely, they should step back and keep in mind that replication isn’t as artistic as being the originator of something.

Black Dives Matter
Parody, of course, is a great middle area between copying and creating original work.

With the second point, there’s also some room to feel both ways about the subject.

Is it wrong that Orton inserted himself into the conversation? Perhaps. He didn’t need to state his opinions, but neither did anybody responding to this discussion either positively or negatively.

Everybody who has chimed in on this issue has fallen victim to the same idea as Orton where they just expressed their opinions, which is perfectly fine.

It’s understandable why he would catch some flack for opening his mouth when he’s a representative of a global corporation as their champion and a legend in the industry, but he’s owned up to everything as being his own point of view on the matter. He isn’t passing it off as a WWE philosophy or to speak on behalf of Vince McMahon.

The bigger issue I have with this isn’t that Orton has his criticisms of that style of wrestling, but why he felt the need to jump onto an anti-Bully Ray idea. If there are still bad feelings between the two of them, then that’s a shame, and it’s also not admirable to pick a fight out of nowhere just to throw in some jabs.

Not knowing the full scope of their relationship with each other makes it hard to fully judge the situation as an outsider, but in my mind, that’s the more problematic aspect of this rather than The Viper merely being proud of his career accomplishments and the style he prefers in comparison to something that is universally considered to be the minor leagues.

There’s always the potential to find diamonds in the rough and plenty of non-WWE wrestling is amazing to watch, but whether you prefer that style or the more streamlined content WWE has to offer, you have every right to defend what you like to your heart’s desire, even if that means staying out of the discussion entirely and keeping your opinion to yourself.

What are your thoughts on this issue? Is it much ado about nothing, or is there room for more discussion? Tell us what’s on your mind in the comments below!

Also read: 5 things that Randy Orton needs to change in WWE

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