I believe in professional wrestling. I believe being myself both an aspiring pro wrestler and an avid fan of this form of entertainment. I can’t stand it when someone I know learns that I wrestle part time on the weekends. It seems that the dominant, recurring question that they first think of is often not too far off from this: “Wait, wrestling? Isn’t that stuff fake?” Although for the latter part of the twentieth century professional wrestling experienced periods of unparalleled success, today the average person sees the sport as little more that sloppy, fake fighting for the large barbarian-like hordes of the uneducated, when they respect the sport aspect of it all (and believe me when I tell you pro wrestling is one of the most physically demanding sports you can engage in).
In order to properly digest pro wrestling for what it is, you must first keep an open mind and realize exactly what wrestling claims to be and what it doesn’t. Modern day pro wrestling is a form of dramatic entertainment that blends elements of theater, mat wrestling, martial-arts holds, and mock combat used to tell a story. Pro wrestling is not fighting. However, it is no more ‘fake’ than a choreographed fight scene in a movie. I have heard many sources label pro wrestling as little more than a ‘soap opera’ for guys. I always get a good laugh out of that one, but I guess for the most part it’s true.
Professional wrestling is far more than two brutes merely hammering away on each other senselessly. Often matches are well-planned and contain amazing feats of athletic skill and showmanship. Two men or women portraying a story through dramatic art, fan interaction, and physical ability is far more than the general view of it being nothing more than cheap entertainment for legions of idiots.
While many people continue to argue with the ‘sport’ aspect of wrestling, there is no doubt that the very nature of it requires extreme amounts of training, endurance, physical skill, timing, strength, and good reaction speed. While certain parts of matches, such as the beginning and the end, are indeed choreographed segments of scripted moves (known as ‘spots’), the majority of most matches consists of one wrestler calling the next move on-the-fly with the other wrestler having to react quickly in order not to fail an attempted move (known as a ‘botch’). Needless to say, pro wrestling requires abundant amounts of training. If a move is botched, death or serious injury can happen very easily. Wrestlers have died in front of live audiences. Bleeding is common, as well is strained or torn muscles and occasionally broken bones. Intentional bleeding, ‘blading’, is an amazing dramatic element involving razors and self-mutilation in which a wrestler will actually cut themselves with the blade in order to simulate damage from a devastating move or a foreign object. They dedicate their lives to the sport and to the fans.
For me, pro wrestling is many things. It is something I can put on the television to escape after a tough day of work of class and get to see some amazing things. It gives me something to train for. It is something I like to do that makes me feel truly alive. When your music starts playing, and you walk through those doors and hear the fans cheering, believe me when I say that I wouldn’t trade that feeling for anything in the world. So think what you want about pro wrestling. When one can look at the sport and entertainment aspects of such an interesting business collectively and with an open mind then respect for such a physically demanding sport is possible. Call it fake if you must, but it would not be accurate because pro wrestling doesn’t pretend to be ‘real’ fighting. It’s dramatic theater. It is a form of entertainment performed by incredible individuals that are at the same time fighters, speakers, stage performers, and amazing athletes that are willing to put their bodies on the line to entertain the fans. This is what I believe.
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