Re-watching Episode 6 (the championship one) of Legend of Korra and I’m still wondering who paid off the referees.
Is it the Wolfbats? When I saw it the first time I’m like of fuh sure it’s the Wolfbats.
What’s making me go a little “…??” is Mako’s statement in the Fire Ferret team huddle:
I’ve heard “it was the Wolfbats!” and “it was Amon!” but honestly I have a different headcanon, that makes its way into a lot of my fics.
I don’t think it was the Wolfbats, for the reasons words-are-our-medium said. They seemed much too “Well lookie here!” and not “Just as planned, muahaha.” But I don’t like to think that it was Amon. It’s very likely that’s what was intended by canon, but personally I don’t think Amon could have known that the Wolfbats would cheat, nor do I like to think that his plans are so rigid that he needs to micromanage every detail. I think he was planning to make an example of people that night. He may have thought the Wolfbats would win anyway, considering they were three-time champions, and Korra had only been playing for a few weeks, Avatar or not. (I’d like to think that even without the cheating, the Wolfbats would have won, but that’s just me.) Somehow I don’t peg Amon as the type to follow the ins and outs of pro-bending. He just thrives on the spectacle, and was probably going to make up parts of his speech on the spot. The goal there was to strike fear into people’s hearts, to take their beloved sport away from them, to tell benders they would be cleansed. Little details like the cheating were just gravy. I don’t think any part of his demonstration relied on that.
The reason I think it was never actually revealed who paid off the refs is because it was outside the scope of the main conflict. If it had been Amon or Hiroshi, it probably would have been revealed at some point, since they were the main villains.
I think it was one of the Triads.
We’ve seen that Mako and Bolin have a history with the Triple Threats. Butakha also seemed like a really shady fellow, and he ran the pro-bending thing with Mako and Bolin like a scam. Was he just a little dirty, or was he involved with a gang?
It’s pretty popular with conspiracy theorists in the real world that major sporting events are rigged. I’m not familiar enough with the topic to say whether I think they are or not, but it’s an interesting idea, and an old idea. There’s plenty of money to be made, since people gamble with organized crime. If the very same bookies are rigging the games….
The Fire Ferrets had a dramatic rise. The Avatar herself, the very symbol of hope in that world, was on the team. And let’s face it, the Wolfbats were heels. They had the “bad boys” image. People are going to bet on the Fire Ferrets, even if the Wolfbats are defending champions.
And Mako suspecting cheating suggests he’s seen this kind of thing before—in circumstances that almost certainly had nothing to do with Amon.
Basically, my headcanon is that pro-bending is not the idealized thing Korra sees it as, but something of a gritty, dirty thing behind the scenes. The players are probably fresh off the mean streets (explaining your total lack of manners, Tahno baby) and it’s organized crime pulling the strings for big money.
It was never brought up because it wasn’t part of the plot. The Triads are just part of Republic City’s underbelly, not a main source of conflict or an enemy for Korra to defeat. Pro-bending is kind of a fucked-up game, but it doesn’t matter anyway because they stop playing halfway through the story.