The Nashville Predators made it through the Second Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in franchise history and are waiting to learn who their opponent for the Western Conference Final will be. You might recall from a few weeks ago that I am a Nashville hockey fan and that the Preds’ march towards the Cup is taking most of my attention away from other things in life, including professional wrestling. That’s just how it is when your team is in the playoffs. Nothing else matters.
Fortunately for this column, there is a connection between the Preds & pro wrestling. And it is…GLORIOUS!
Bobby Roode’s NXT theme music played at Bridgestone Arena after the Preds & Blues shook hands to bring their series to an end. It’s become a go-to for sports arenas pretty quickly since its debut. It’s a perfect fit for such an occasion for a number of reasons.
1. Roode spent the lion’s share of his pre-WWE career affiliated with TNA Wrestling based out of Nashville, Tennessee. His former tag team parther Eric Young became a diehard Preds fan during his time there and still attends games whenever he can.
2. Roode has publicly stated that he’s a Detroit Red Wings fan, but he did don a Preds jersey at recent NXT shows in the state of Missouri to draw some heat. Since Detroit moved to the Eastern Conference and deteoriated in quality, Nashville fans don’t have as much reason to hate them as they did when they were in the same division and Detroit was in the middle of their glory years.
The one instance I could find of Roode commenting on the Preds before this season was when he tweeted that he didn’t like their new golden helmets in 2015. He’d find plenty of people in the fanbase that would agree with him. Me, I like them!
3. The lyrics are very pertinent to the Preds as a team that runs a lot of its offense through its defense. Defensemen Ryan Ellis & Roman Josi are tied for the most Preds goals during the postseason, P.K. Subban has seven points, and goalie Pekka Rinne has been lights-out. They’re also the only team in the playoffs to not lose a game at home. The Predators are all about defending their territory.
No, I won’t give in
I won’t give in
’till i’m victorious
And I will defend
I will defend
No, I won’t give in
I won’t give in
’till i’m victorious
and I will defend
I will defend
And I’ll do what I must
No, I won’t give in
I wont give in
Oh, so glorious
Until the end
Until the end
4. Glorious is a fairly repetitive song. That makes it awesome for a post-game celebration though. You can leave it on for like ten minutes and there aren’t any awkward pauses or mood changes.
5. The Predators are not in a traditional hockey market. Nashvillians didn’t grow up on the Original Six. They weren’t out on the ice with their hockey sticks and pucks during the winter months. They need different things to draw their potential fans in. One is celebrity marketing. So many country stars have bought into the Preds experience. Carrie Underwood even married one of them. The stars being there helps establish Bridgestone Arena as the cool place to be. Add in a winning team to draw in the casual fans that might not seek out a losing team but will gladly hop on the bandwagon of a winner, and tickets become very hard to come by.
And Nashville is a traditional wrestling market that grew up on Jerry Lawler and Bill Dundee. Everybody knows the best way to get wrestling fans to buy what you’re selling is to include sports entertainment as part of your presentation. The Glorious song isn’t the only wrestling-related aspect of a typical Predator game, there’s also a pre-recorded message from Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. And probably some other stuff I haven’t noticed, not having been to Bridgestone Arena for a game. Rusev & Lana are loyal Preds fans & current residents in the Nashville area, along with EY they’re quite the cheering section to have on your team’s side.
6. Wrestling fans love it when their main interest is acknowledged by other people. Back in the NWO days there were a good number of Cincinnati Reds that would wear their t-shirts. They ended up taking sides between the Wolfpac & NWO Hollywood, and it was great to 14 year old me. I’m sure the Reds weren’t the only team that had this going on. Of course there’s also the music. I find that the Ultimate Warrior’s theme is very popular among sports stadium DJs, as is Triple H’s. Austin Kearns used to walk to the plate to Stone Cold Steve Austin’s song when he was a Red. It’s great stuff. The Preds adopting Glorious as one of their go-to songs combines two of the loves of my life.
Not everybody agrees.
Kings of Leon is a Nashville-based rock band that has been all about repping the Preds for years now. They’ve had their music featured in Preds videos before, they’ve gone to games, they’ve performed at NHL-sanctioned events. So they’re pretty hyped about the Preds making it to the WCF like the rest of us. Things went a little off-kilter during the celebration though, when bassist Jared Followill chose that moment in time to express his displeasure with professional wrestling.
Hey, adults. Let’s maybe not watch professional wrestling. Ya know?
To be honest, it’s not a statement that most people would think of as controversial. The current President of the United States probably said thirty things more offensive than that just this morning. But man…going after pro wrestling on social media just isn’t a good idea. WWE’s obsession with social platforms, especially Twitter, has led to a strong wrestling fanbase there. Wrestling Twitter went absolutely banana over Followill’s tweet. How dare the lowly bassist of a band most of us don’t like anyway talk crap about wrestling, right?
(In case you’re wondering, I wouldn’t classify myself as a fan. “Sex On Fire” got way too much airplay and pretty much killed me on the band going forward. I do think “Notion” is a pretty solid track, but don’t have much use for other songs I’ve heard. But hey, if they’re your kind of thing more power to you. I just like my music a little heavier.)
Wrestling fans jumped all over Jared, as did wrestlers. Which led to a gem of a tweet where he told lady independent wrestler Veda Scott to close her legs. This, along with many tweets he sent out regarding the situation, was deleted. The original tweet remains, along with some pretty good backpedaling, but people aren’t really letting up. Now, in addition to being called a hater and having his music insulted, Followill is being labeled as a misogynist, and rightfully so.
I do wonder if Wrestling Twitter would have the same level of outrage going if the female wrestler in question was Eva Marie instead of Veda Scott. Veda is pretty well-regarded as an entertaining pro wrestler & solid jam-up person while Eva often gets the same type of treatment online that Veda got there. I should also admit that I had to look up what emoji that was in the middle. I am hopelessly out of touch when it comes to fish-based insults.
When I started seeing some of the situation pop up on my timeline, the first question that came to mind was “What brought this on?”. I don’t think that’s the first question that pops into most peoples’ minds when anything happens in 2017. They don’t wonder why somebody feels the way they do about something, they wonder how somebody could feel the way they do about something. That leads to a lot of screaming back & forth and nothing getting accomplished other than people digging their toes in the sand against each other.
We don’t embrace debate. We embrace name-calling.
When I looked at Followill’s timeline, the first thing I noticed after the wrestling stuff was that he was a fellow Nashville Predators fan. I put two and two together and concluded that his anti-wrestling tweet had to be triggered by the music used in the Predators’ celebration. Hearing a wrestling theme song instead of some Kings of Leon, or maybe something else he deems as good music, had to be appalling to his sensibilities.
Maybe Kings of Leon doesn’t get the call from the NHL to be involved in events like they used to. Take a look at the list of musicians the Preds have had perform the National Anthem during the postseason:
Little Big Town
These are all huge names in country music. Much bigger in Nashville & the music world in general than Kings of Leon. I’m expecting them to bring Dolly Parton, Tim McGraw & Faith Hill in at some point or another. Paramore was in attendance for Game 6, so KOL isn’t even the biggest name among rock groups to be feeling the Preds Pride.
My feeling: This all comes down to a little bit of jealousy. Followill wishes he and his band could be a bigger part of the Preds’ run in the postseason. The idea that a WRESTLING THEME SONG is currently more popular with Preds fans than anything their band has produced was too much for him to take, so he lashed out at wrestling fans. He didn’t want to lash out at the Predators, so he went after pro wrestling. And now his Twitter mentions are a wasteland of name-calling & abuse that he brought on himself by being a jealous douche. I apologize for not coming up with a more dignified term to describe him, but it’s all I got right now.
There are lessons to be learned here.
-Unless you’re one of the Colin Cowherds of the world whose job it is to generate negative response that passes for discussion, don’t talk bad about the pro wrestling. Unless you want your mentions blown up with insults for some reason.
-It will be tempting to fire back at these people. Just don’t. It’s not worth the trouble and odds are you’re just going to look worse in the end. Especially if you think gender-based insults are hilarious. It’s a bad look.
-Focus on the positives in life. Your hockey team made it to the conference final. Why get mad over the music they play? If they were playing Justin Bieber music I’d probably be playing his YouTube videos.
This whole thing could have been avoided if Followill had kept one moment of negativity to himself. I’m glad he didn’t though. It gave me an actual reason to write about hockey on this website instead of having to make something up.