“If you curse
You’re the worst.
For you, there is no hope.
If you curse
You’re the worst.
Wash your mouth out with soap.”
– Crucial Youth – “Those Who Curse”
You can say “shit” on TV now.
If you’ve watched pretty much any AEW broadcast, this fact is abundantly clear. It’s all “goddamn” this and “shit” that.
It’s exhausting. I love effin’ and jeffin’ as much as the next guy, but the old adage about how relying on curse words to hide a limited vocabulary is, unfortunately, true. Well, maybe. The people shittin’ it up in the ring on AEW may not have limited vocabularies, but their fascination with dropping one of the Seven Words on a live professional wrestling broadcast sure makes it seem like they do.
A plumber once told me that his job only has two rules; “hot water is on the left, and shit doesn’t flow uphill.” He’s right, of course, but it sure trickles down. One hundred percent of the small independent wrestling shows I’ve been to recently have suffered from wrestlers (including some who I know are gifted public speakers) relying on profanity to convey intensity. At this point, I am sick to the teeth of hearing about how important this fucking belt or this fucking business is to a wrestler looking for an easy way to convey how very much they care.
Wrestling is important. It is so important, I submit, that the use of profanity in conveying this importance is the worst thing a wrestler, commentator, producer, or other wrestling adjacent person can do. It is lazy.
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Wrestling fans aren’t exempt from this. During a recent AEW trios match, there was a dive to the outside of the ring that was, admittedly, spectacular. The crowd, as expected, cranked up the ol’ “holy shit” chant. A camera cut to the crowd showed the fans, several of whom were chanting along with a look on their faces that was, at best, one of mild amusement. It was hardly a “holy shit” look.
Now, I know some of you have the Eminem “Will Smith don’t gotta curse in his raps” quote ready to throw at me, and I suppose that’s valid, but also it’s over two decades old and is just as devoid of shock value and effort as anything I’ve already described. Wrestling is creative, multi-faceted, constantly evolving. Why would you stand in the ring or behind a microphone and talk like a teenager trying to piss off their dad?
Cursing is fun. I love doing it. I’ll never stop. But there’s a time and a place. Tommy “Wildfire” Rich didn’t have to curse in the ring to get his message across. This isn’t a puritanical appeal for some arbitrary standard of decency. It’s an appeal for creativity. If wrestling truly means that fucking much to you, maybe find a more creative way to say that shit.