Or should they 'Rise Above Hate'?
This stems from this past Monday on Raw. During the main event, CM Punk had run out through the crowd. As he was stood among the WWE fans, someone shoved him, twice. He retaliated by backhanding the 'fan', before a security dude gave him a bollocking.
Should Punk have done that? In my opinion, yeah. I know that these guys are in the public eye and are 'role models' and whatnot, it doesn't mean they should take physical abuse from fans. Verbal abuse? Sure, provided it's not racist or homophobic, most wrestlers love a verbal battle with fans as much as the fans do. Sure, Punk could've just ignored the guy, and it could have been worse if the fan kept on provoking him, but fortunately the cameramen were on the ball, and we as the viewers didn't see much at all.
A wrestler could (and should) beat a fan up particularly if they enter the ring. If you are at a wrestling event (WWE or otherwise) and you disrespect them by entering their ring, what do you expect? There have been a few infamous moments where fans have entered a ring and suffered the consequences:
Obviously it was much, much worse in the old days, where stories have emerged for years about wrestlers getting shot and stabbed (most of the guys have the scars to prove it). Even 'Classie' Freddie Blassie has been stabbed 23 times by fans and even had acid thrown on his back.
Another infamous story is of Haku, who was sitting at an airport (I think), casually drinking, when a bunch of lads approach him and start telling him how wrestling is fake and how he's not really hard. Haku responded to this by taking on all guys, biting one of the guys nose off and gouging the eye of another guy. Not a guy you wanna f**k with.
Documented cases include a fan pushing the late, great Eddie Guerrero off a ladder during a match with RVD. The security was quick to take the fan away, but Eddie managed to get a shot off before continuing with the match. My take? That fan deserved more than a punch. He got off lucky, as he could have seriously injured Eddie.
I couldn't find the video, but a fan tried to rush the ring during an NWO promo in WCW during the 90's and got the living crap beat out of him. There was also a cage match featuring Macho Man Randy Savage, Hulk Hogan and Roddy Piper, where a fan scaled the cage only to be met by Savage and Hogan, who proceeded to punch him repeatedly in the head before security took him away.
Could the fans be seriously injured? Yeah, they could. But what do they expect? Why would you enter a fight with 200+lbs behemoths unless you really wanted to be killed.
Wrestlers should reserve the right to beat up anyone who enters their domain, although it's not likely to happen on a televised show. At least, it won't be documented. But it should be! It helps legitimise wrestling as a hardcore form of art. It may help shut people up who say wrestlers are wimps.
I'll leave you with this. In 1984 at Madison Square Garden, retired wrestler David Schultz was interviewed by John Stossol, who was doing a documentary on wrestling secrets. During the interview, Stossol told Schultz that he thinks wrestling is fake. Schultz immediately responded with an open hand slap. Schultz did apologise to Stossol after, but Stossol sued the (then) World Wrestling Federation. Stossol later regretted this decision, but the video speaks for itself, really. Schultz was fired not long after, despite maintaining that he was told to strike out (bollocks).