Words Matter, or The British Scene Has Bigger Problems Than "Virtue Signaling"

Andrews maybe shouldn’t use words the right has co-opted
Photo Credit: WWE.com

I was raised in a Catholic household and went to Catholic school from kindergarten through high school graduation. Although I have since freed myself from the shackles of Roman Catholicism, I have kept many worthwhile lessons with me from that otherwise iniquitous den of child abuse and unwarranted guilt-tripping. One of them is from one of Jesus’ many instructions to his disciples, mainly about how to do good deeds from Matthew 6: 1-4. Mainly, he says not to do good deeds with showy pomp, but to do so in secret. In other words, don’t do shit for the adulation, do it because it’s the right thing to do. It’s something I’ve kept with me over the years and have at least tried to follow. Of course, sometimes you do need to announce the good things you’re doing as an example for those who need a little direction, but going out in the streets and trumpeting how much you give to charity while, say, cheating on your wife, sometimes against your “mistress'” will in private, well, that’s probably more along the lines of what Jesus was talking about there.

Anyway, what does any of this have to do with pro wrestling? Well, it seems Welsh wrestler, Chikara alumnus, and current WWE UK “independent contractor” Mark Andrews has a little problem with people bragging about their good deeds, screenshotted because he deleted it:

On the surface, yeah, he’s probably got a point, or at least he thinks he has a point. The main problem is the phrase he used, “virtue signaling.” It is a dogwhistle for the right, specifically, the alt-right (read, Nazis) who take any sign of expressing an opinion that isn’t horribly bigoted as a bad thing. You say you’re for, say, reparations for slavery or radical redistribution of wealth? Some loser like Paul Joseph Watson who hasn’t left his apartment in like 15 years or Ian Miles Cheong, who used to write a column called, and I shit you not, “Incel Corner” for noted Nazi pedophile Milo Yiannopoulos, will come out and tell you that you’re only virtue signaling to get people to like you. I mean, marginalized folks liking you is a side effect of supporting and fighting for the right thing. I mean, what good is supporting equal rights for trans people when you shut up about it all the time?

The question then becomes why adopt far right terminology? As it turns out, maybe Andrews is kind of a shithead?

Yes, tweeting about having a medic backstage and unionizing is… bad? Well, I guess this dickhead really showed his ass. Ah well.

But playing Devil’s Advocate here just a little bit, ignoring the above tweet, you could argue that Andrews maybe has a point, but that point gets muddled because he used a weapon commonly associated with chuds such as Steven Crowder or Tomi Lahren. If you think that it becomes an argument of semantics, you’re wrong, flat out. Words matter. Actions matter. They all have connotations, whether you like it or not. I mean, it’s not like there aren’t any other ways to express that point. Like, maybe saying “doing good deeds are their own reward, no need to brag” or by simply writing down “Matthew 6: 1-4.” If Andrews didn’t know exactly what verse it was, hell, I bet he could have asked any random person in the locker room, since wrestling is only surpassed in number of loud and proud Christians by non-worked sport.

But the thing is that Andrews’ assertion is wrong anyway. British Wrestling’s biggest problem isn’t what he terms “virtue signaling” anyway. First, the looming specter of WWE is threatening to choke the United Kingdom’s scene from the inside out. If you think that its goal isn’t complete world domination of professional wrestling, think again. It started by getting its hooks into PROGRESS and Insane Championship Wrestling, and now it has NXT UK. If you’re not with the WWE bloc, you better hope you can catch a break in RevPro and thus segue into New Japan Pro Wrestling (and hope you don’t run afoul of that shithead gatekeeper Will Ospreay), or that All Elite Wrestling gives you a shot. Neither one of those promotions is sucking up talent at the rate WWE is.

Even ignoring that, BritWres has two social problems that are way bigger than people not shutting up about the good things they do. For example, it seems like folks on the scene love themselves some underage sexual companionship. I’m not naming names right now, because I don’t have any concrete evidence outside of everyone talking about it, but uh, at least one prominent BritWres guy is KNOWN for ignoring when a prospective partner say they’re not 18 yet. The other one is that they really, really, REALLY love them some domestic abusers. I mean, look at the wholesale autoimmune response from everyone from Viper down to Flash Morgan Webster, to Bram’s return to the British indie scene from Impact Wrestling. Hell, Webster even had Bram on his fucking podcast! I’d say Andrews maybe should read the police reports from Bram’s domestic abuse arrests and realize that a frightened victim not wanting to press charges doesn’t mean the abuser is innocent, but judging from his choice of words in this case, I’d say he probably wouldn’t even dream of trying.