PSA: Full Sail’s Growing Cancer by Howie Mandella

I remember it like it was yesterday. NXT Takeover: Rival back in February confirmed that NXT was here, and it was making waves. It was the first live wrestling event I had been to for quite a while, and to top it off, I was sitting directly behind Noelle Foley (I know you’re jelly). Throughout the night, we occasionally shared thoughts with each other about the show (I know you’re jelly). My life had taken a complete 180 from where it was just two months prior when I was in Owings Mills, MD on Burger King sandwich board making Whoppers. For the first time in my life, I was surrounded by like-minded wrestling FANS who wanted nothing more than to be entertained. Little did I know, the atmosphere at Full Sail Live was changing and taking a turn for the worse.

Full Sail fans have developed their own identity much like the ECW fans of yesteryear. Many outsiders don’t see that the crowd is broken up into several different groups: students, locals, out of towners and the cancer that is the people of ____. I will not give them the benefit of branding them in one of my columns. They don’t deserve to be named. They don’t even deserve to be known, but it’s time someone came out and called the spade what it was. What started out as mainly students and local wrestling fans is now being infiltrated by a small group of marks who know where the hard cam is and have no quarrels with embarrassing themselves and those around them.

Those “fans” that Mick Foley and others have started to complain about don’t represent Full Sail. The crowd has been hijacked by this certain group that I refuse to advertise. Full Sailors will definitely know who I’m referring to, and those I’m referring to will probably read this as well. When “Brock Lesnar Guy” came to Full Sail, he just watched the show and enjoyed it. He wasn’t making up his own chants on the fly that had nothing to do with the action in the ring. We’re not dealing with the make believe “fan celebrities” you see on TV fairly often. This is a growing issue caused by people WAY more loathsome.

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To put it in better perspective, read for yourself:


This is taken directly from their website that I also refuse to advertise. What’s the purpose? You all know who you are, and you know that you’re a group of obnoxious idiots who just want attention and recognition. Now, I’m pulling back the curtain without the direct exposure you all so desperately seek. Friends and strangers of mine who are crowd regulars have described this group as brash, arrogant and deliberately insulting. They perpetuate every stereotype of the IWC in every which way possible and it’s time people learn to distinguish these morons and not use them to categorize the entire Full Sail audience. It’s just not accurate and it’s equally unfair. These guys are turning away Full Sail fans who’ve been attending the shows since the very first one back in December 2011. Locals are turned off as well, and it’s because of this nameless group that even the Hardcore Legend has stopped watching NXT. When it’s starting to adversely affect the product and how fans all over the world consume it, it’s time to speak up.

Ever since the Foley controversy and the subsequent article, everyone has an opinion about Full Sail. However, I’ve yet to see a solid opinion from anyone who frequents these shows. Even most of the NXT staff and talent don’t know the difference between the hijackers and everyone else. It’s not their job to, but it’s my job to set the record straight.

My voice in the wrestling industry isn’t very loud, but it’s a voice nonetheless. I don’t just go to the shows, I’m a Full Sail student. I’m not just in the crowd, I’m working backstage and everywhere else. I don’t just listen to the crowd, I hear what talent and staff have to say. The difference is, I know most of the good fans and the majority aren’t going to NXT to make themselves the show. They’re just fans who are very much appreciative of the fact that they get the privilege to witness the greatness that is WWE NXT.


Most importantly, they are everything these nameless group of individuals aren’t: fun, respectful and understanding of the fact that they’re spectators not sideshow circus freaks who only care about developing a reputation. The obnoxious “Sasha Section” that used to grace us with their presence at NXT live events (which, for me, made Sasha Banks leaving for the main roster bitter but sweet) didn’t have the determination to ruin fan experience quite like this nameless group does. I guess it’s the price NXT and its diehard fans have to pay. With the brand’s soaring popularity, exposure and growth; this is only the beginning. More and more people who are just out to get themselves over will ram their way into the bleachers at Full Sail.

The good fans will struggle more and more to separate themselves from the circle jerk. They have to camp out in front of Full Sail’s box office even earlier now to make sure their spots are secure. They have to stick together and get to the lines earlier to stop these hijackers from saturating the hard cam with their irrelevant cheering and blatant smarkism. No one in the crowd paid (or got their comp) tickets to see cretins who really know nothing about the product spew out just for the sake of being seen and heard. We have the internet for that.