The fanfiction community is definitely not the most prominent part of the pro wrestling fan base, but it exists nonetheless. Though they’re often the butt of many jokes, I think that both authors and readers of fanfiction should be viewed as legitimate fans of wrestling. Yes, some stories are a bit awkward or silly, but you can’t really deny the passion for pro wrestling that lies behind them.
It’s tough to find data on this, but I personally believe a fanfic/“shipping” community, whatever corner of the internet they’re on, can help grow a fan base for any TV show, franchise, or in this case, wrestling promotion.
Fanfiction is primarily written by teenage girls, which are a gold mine of a demographic to have the support of. Not only will teenage girls buy merchandise for the entertainment that they love, but they’ll make fan edits, start fan accounts, and post videos promoting the product. In terms of merch revenue and free advertisement, teenage girls are a company’s dream fan base. From this standpoint, their interests should be of note.
So, what exactly is popular among these authors?
For consistency’s sake, this study (if you’d like to give me that title) only looked at fanfiction from the website Archive of Our Own. This is the most popular site for wrestling fanfiction currently, and it makes most sense to look at that site when observing a younger company like AEW. I’m sure there are some Lita/Edge love stories on older sites like Fanfiction.net if you’d like to search some out.
The data for this was collected on December 31st.
Number of fics: 12,641
Top 3 characters:
- Dean Ambrose (4464)
- Seth Rollins (3870)
- Roman Reigns (3235)
Top 3 pairings:
- Seth Rollins/Dean Ambrose (1588)
- Dean Ambrose/Roman Reigns (939)
- Charlotte Flair/Becky Lynch (512)
Number of fics: 834 (That’s >1 fanfic a day on average since Dynamite started airing. Pretty impressive, I’d say.)
Top 3 characters
- Kenny Omega (271)
- Hangman Page (213)
- Matt Jackson (185)
(Honorable mention to Nick Jackson, who appears in 175 fanfics)
Top 3 pairings
- Kenny Omega/Hangman Page (98)
- Kenny Omega/Kota Ibushi (75)
- Orange Cassidy/Chuck Taylor (53)
Number of fics: 1343
Top 3 characters
- Kenny Omega (389)
- Kota Ibushi (309)
- Hiromu Takahashi (272)
Top 3 pairings
- Kota Ibushi/Kenny Omega (284)
- El Desperado/Hiromu Takahashi (64)
- El Desperado/Zack Sabre Jr (63)
The main takeaway here, in my opinion, is that the characters most commonly featured in fanfiction are either LGBTQ-coded, such as El Desperado, or have very complex (borderline homoerotic) storylines with each other, in the case of the Shield. For the Golden Lovers, I’d say it’s a combination of both men being openly, romantically attracted to each other, and the pair having a long, emotional storyline. The wrestlers most prevalent in fanfiction also tend to be the most generally popular stars, with some deviations.
Am I saying wrestling companies should cater to fanfic authors? No, that’d probably get a little weird, seeing as how it’d most likely lead to AEW having Chuck Taylor and Trent fight in a ladder match for Orange Cassidy’s hand in marriage (but then again, maybe that’s good for ratings, who knows).
I think that it’s interesting to see what fanfic authors are drawn to. Part of this is just for amusement’s sake, though I genuinely think these statistics (using that term loosely) could be useful. I think it may be good for companies to keep tabs on what catches the ordinary teenage girl’s eye, and could get her to support the product.
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