You’ve just seen a video of my most favorite Wrestler of all time.
That sentence alone would usually lead most grown up people to shake their head, click the cross on this browser window or simply go back to watching porn. And, in case you are wondering if you misunderstood something, I say it again: Yes, I’m a grown up man and I like Wrestling.
So now you probably picture me sitting somewhere down in a basement, thick nerdy glasses on (not that something would be wrong with that) and playing computer games all night long (WoW!), right? Well not exactly. I don’t even own a basement to be honest. But that’s not the point of course. The point is that grown ups can like Wrestling and that people who do like it can’t necessarily be stereotyped. And to top that statement I even add that watching and liking Wrestling even makes you a better person. Yes, there, I said it.
If you’re still with me and not back on reddit’s /gonewild (I appreciate it) then let’s just walk down that road that is “Pro Wrestling” and check why I would say something like that.
Yes, I know. In fact 83% (borrowed from B. Stinson) of all grown up Wrestling fans know that it’s fake (I already talked about that in my article about “What WWE has to change“). So are action movies. So what? Now that we addressed that elephant let’s face the more interesting topics.
While modern day wrestling does involve lots of different angles and gets its input from lots of different sources it, mostly, comes always down to one thing: Two guys (or girls) beating the heck out of each other. And while we all know that it’s fake (seriously would you want to see two guys killing each other?) it’s still awesome to see how they do it. In what way do the two participants interact with each other. How is one “superstar” (that’s how the people competing in pro wrestling are called these days by WWE) countering an attack by the other superstar? What’s coming next? This excitement is a big part of the overall fun and, if done right, keeps grown ups on the edge of their seats. Or how about when that one guy takes that even bigger on his shoulders and slams him onto the mat? Sure it doesn’t hurt that much but picking a few hundred pounds up like that is still impressive. Or how about all those high-flying action when people jump from the top rope to perform amazing stunts during air-time? Of course it’s planned, but it looks incredibly amazing nevertheless. Oh and for everyone saying that it doesn’t hurt:
The bottom line: Even though the hits and kicks aren’t real, Wrestlers need to be super fit and posses an incredible control over their bodies and that is simply impressive.
It’s motivational & intriguing
When you’re watching a Western, who do you root for? Django or the bad guys? When watching Die Hard did you cheer for Bruce? Of course. We, usually, support the good guys (unless they are John Cena!) and want to see the underdog overcome hurdles and unfair situation in order to prevail and show that believing in the good is always worth it. Never giving up (and eating your vitamins!) is essential and hustle, loyalty and respect will bring you a long way.
That is not only shown through immense action in the ring though. “Superstars” these days also need to be able to cut compelling promotional segments. On video (like Brrrroooock Lesnaaaarrrrr) or on live TV (like Nikki Bella. Just kidding. Like Brie of course!). It is important to sell the story line the respective character is engaged in. After all you want to have a reason for everyone feuding with each other since you wouldn’t just run around fighting everyone. So delivering those so called ‘promos’ is very important and plays a big part in every day Wrestling. This might sound like kindergarten to you but also action movies need a story line to connect all the action. Same goes for Wrestling. Very often wrestlers then choose the motivational approach when they show how much they had to suffer on the hands of the villain or how the villain betrayed someone or something (friends, country, etc.). Then they would explain what it needs to overcome all the pressure and pain and when it’s finally time to let the action roll you, the viewer, feel like right after one of those inspirational “Rocky” montages that you watch on youtube instead of actually exercising.
On the other hand the ‘bad guys’ usually act like real, pardon my french, assholes. They gather ‘heat’ and when they whole arena boos them, they did their job right. Having a good ‘heel’ (the term for ‘villain’ in professional wrestling) is as important as having a good ‘face’ (good guy in pro wrestling). And after all the smoke has gone (and their careers ended) they usually also get their spot in the hall of fame and the hearts of fans. However, some of the biggest “pops” (crowd reaction) are usually reserved for the faces and now tell me you didn’t feel anything when watching that.
The bottom line: We want feelings & emotions and Wrestling uses those to its perfection.
It’s not only black and white
Wrestling tries to mirror real life situations and then, obviously, exaggerates them for our entertainment. Just like real life is not black or white only, Pro Wrestling isn’t like that as well. And it makes you realize it. You find yourself cheering for a ‘bad guy’ because he speaks his mind or argues with his bosses and fights the establishment while still not fitting norms or being a typical ‘nice guy’. When you end up supporting a ‘bad guy’ who does sometimes the ‘right’ thing or cheats in his matches but only to overcome the bad establishment. Those stories are quite often very compelling and gather a lot of viewer and audience attraction simply because one can relate to such situations and wishes that in real life they would also play out like here with the ‘bad good guy’ prevailing.
The bottom line: Mirroring real life in order to make the audience think is probably not the main goal of Pro Wrestling companies but it still happens and is sometimes even an eye opener or at least some kind of motivation. When you see the ‘bad guy’ doing the right thing, why can’t you do it yourself?
Striving to perfection
Now that all is fake one would think it there is no real competition involved, right? That’s far from the truth though. Wrestlers compete a lot with each other and it’s always about who shows the best performance, who executes the moves the best (good & ‘real’ looking while also being safe). Having that said mastering the art of in ring action takes years of experience and training and isn’t done over night. Performers who are able to show their skills, sell their opponents’ skills and put together a compelling performance and not only showing single moves are the real heroes of the business. Others, who fail to strive for perfection, will get called out as so called ‘botchers’ (botching = the act of failing in the delivery) – and nobody wants to be that. Hence the quality of each superstar’s performance improves (hopefully) and brings him or her closer to perfection. Something that everybody could take away for his or her personal life.
Bottom Line: Striving towards perfection is always a good goal to follow. Don’t forget: Good, better, best, never let it rest, until the good is better, and the better is best. And don’t botch!
Catchphrases & Entertainment
Pro Wrestling sees some of the greatest entertainers on this planet. Plain fun, wit and charm at work. You gotta love it for that!
Bottom Line: IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT THE BOTTOM LINE IS!
How does it make you a better person?
So how does fake action now make one a better person? Like I tried to explain during the aforementioned points all those segments, actions, fights, promos, etc. serve a purpose and they mostly exaggerate or escalate real life situations that everybody can relate too. When you relate to what you see, you can also relate to what’s happening. Of course you know that what you see on TV is fake but still it can motivate you, make you think or act.
Besides inspiring fans to think about themselves Pro Wrestling, obviously also as part of their marketing strategy (doesn’t matter in that case though), does a lot of good things. They support Anti-Bullying campaigns in high schools (with visits and special events) as well as the “Make-A-Wish foundation” with Wrestlers (and here big hats down to John Cena). So besides being all about fake stunts they also tackle real life problems and issues and that is something worth of support.
And that’s the bottom line!