Maybe it’s the backlash of Donald Trump getting elected President of the United States, but the internet seems a tad testier than usual. And this weekend has been a doozy. Whether it’s the week long argument whether Omega vs. Okada was worth the 6 Stars or not or the recent revelation that indie stars Tommy End and Big Damo were being renamed in NXT, there’s been plenty to complain about. But one of the most baffling social media explosions came about when NXT Superstar “Iconic” Patrick Clark posted a tweet in full character that was shared by thousands of angry wrestling fans who seemingly took his character’s declarations as the ramblings of a young man trying to be a jerk to the fans. In one single day, the entire internet wrestling community proved that the adage “kayfabe is dead” is a complete falsehood.
For those who don’t know, Patrick Clark is a former indie wrestler (who spent time in MCW, wXw, and CZW) who gained some notoriety as a part of the last Tough Enough that the WWE did in 2015. Although he didn’t win, he was signed by the WWE in October of that year and sent to the Performance Center. He’s spent the last year working NXT Live Events and recently began appearing on NXT television, with a look heavily inspired by 80’s era Prince.
Now obviously a lot of the outcry is due to the fact that Patrick Clark is currently not one of the mid- or upper card characters on NXT television, despite being quite active on the NXT Live Event circuit. So it’s understandable that many may not know who he is when seeing his original tweet shared without any context. But regardless, it did it’s job. It enraged an entire community against him and made him a heel to far more people than his original fan base, simply because the initial sharers seemed oblivious to the fact that Clark was merely projecting in character, the way that nearly 99% of WWE Superstars do. For those who never saw the original tweet, here it is:
You would think that the Twitter handle with WWE would have been the first indication, but apparently that didn’t set off any alarm bells. Again, perhaps the fact his Twitter isn’t “verified” gave the impression he was a fan. But for those who are aware he’s a WWE Superstar, or who watch NXT, it’s baffling at what followed next.
People actually began to belittle his opinion simply because his grammar and spelling seemed so atrocious. Considering that Patrick Clark’s character is a holier than thou heel inspired by the late music icon Prince, the usage of U for “you”, 2 for “too”, and 4 for “for”, seemed to be obviously apparent. Clark has admitted his character inspiration in previous Tweets.
After people criticized his Prince-speak following the huge Tweet in question this week, he even continued to stay in character and educate people of the way Prince used these letters and numbers.
When people were informed that this was a character, people immediately went on the defensive, saying that they didn’t know who he was. Which is fine, but it doesn’t change the fact that they were all fooled by a wrestler doing exactly what they all claimed never happens – stayed in kayfabe. Kevin Owens insults the fans on a regular basis on Twitter, as does his Best Friend, Chris Jericho, and they’re applauded. A rising NXT Superstar does the same and people collectively lose their chocolate pudding because they can’t believe a wrestler they’ve never heard of could possibly be working on creating a very heel persona with the intent to rile up his prospective audience.
Well, he did. And judging by the Tweet response he received, not to mention the lashings from on-line fans who were merely reacting to the shared Tweet, he not only proved kayfabe is alive and well, but that despite everyone insistence that it’s no longer something that can be done effectively, that he fooled even them (check the comments under his initial Tweet).
Job well done, Patrick Clark. Score one for the Iconic One.
Main Photo: twitter.com/PatrickClarkWWE