I want to make something very clear. This article was written off the top of my head, so I apologize for spelling/punctuation issues. I wrote in a stream-of-consciousness style, which may make it come out a bit disjointed. Hopefully my overall points come through.
As you may know, I’m a fan of professional wrestling. Yes, the kind of wrestling with grown men in tiny outfits. That might sound silly or dumb to you and you wouldn’t be the only one. Professional wrestling has terrible stigmas attached to it and I don’t think they are warranted. I really believe people are missing out on some truly fantastic content in a number of ways and I’d like to think that I might be able to turn one person around.
Below I’ve compiled the most common complaints about professional wrestling. I’ve tried to dispute them and show they those ideas might be outdated, biased or completely wrong. Please a look below for my point-counterpoint on the main reasons why peoples steer clear of professional wrestling.
By the way, if you’ve never given professional wrestling a chance or never even considered it, this article is for you! You are the type of person I’m aiming for! Please don’t skip over this feature because of your non-fan status. I’m looking for those that have never watched or those that think they never would.
Wrestling is fake
This is the biggest argument that comes up against wrestling. Why watch it if its fake? None of the matches matter, the endings are all planned and the wrestlers are just going through the motions. When you look at it that way, it sure does seem to be a waste of time. That’s the problem, though. That viewpoint starts off with wrestling as a ‘real’ thing that is faked. In actuality, wrestling should be taken as fake from the start.
Let’s take a look at Game of Thrones, for instance. When would you ever hear someone say that Game of Thrones is fake? You wouldn’t, because it’s very easy to see that right off the bat. The show takes place in a fake location. It features dragons and magic and other elements that simply don’t appear in real life. Game of Thrones is never presented as real-life and could never be mistaken for that.
Now let’s look at wrestling. What you see is a live performance by real people, which just so happens to include real elements. This is mixed in with storylines, planned moves and outcomes and scripted segments. It’s this blend of real vs. fake that really messes with people. Wrestling isn’t 100% fake because the wrestlers are really performing feats of strength and athletic ability. Wrestling isn’t 100% real because outcomes are predetermined, wrestlers are playing characters and the show follows a storyline. This blend of real/fake makes people very uncomfortable. When people can’t jam a square peg into a round hole, they just toss the whole thing to the side.
Wouldn’t it be completely ignorant to call out Game of Thrones as fake? Wouldn’t it be silly to badmouth baseball/basketball/football because its real? Then why lambaste wrestling for being a blend of both? Go into it accepting things as they are and respect them as you do with any other show. You watch Game of Thrones for the fantastic story and characters. You watch real sports for the athletes and their abilities. Wrestling incorporates both elements into a unique blend that you don’t get anywhere else.
In other words, wrestling is very similar to any other scripted drama. You have actors playing roles in a scripted storyline. The only difference is that these actors are playing a physical role where they perform their own stunts live. How that can be seen as a negative or something to yell out ‘FAKE’ at is beyond me. Would you go to a play and yell ‘FAKE!’ at the actors on stage?
The outcomes are predetermined
Yes, this goes hand-in-hand with the argument above, so it deserves the same explanation. You can say that scripted endings devalue the content placed before it, but that’s simply not true. Again, any scripted show on TV has a predetermined outcome. The fun is in trying to figure out how things are going to go.
When you watch a mystery on TV or in the movies, you try to figure out who the villain is. When you watch any sporting event on TV, you cheer for your team and hope they come out on top. In anything you see on TV or in the movies, you take the info you’re given and try to figure out the outcome. Wrestling is no different. Just because the two men in the ring know the outcome doesn’t mean that you do.
Lose yourself in the fantasy and spectacle of it all. Allow yourself to take wrestling for what it is, rather than pick it apart for what it isn’t or what you think it should be. Enjoy it as you would any other program on TV. The endings are meant to shock and surprise the viewer. The men/women in the ring telling their story through physicality is the vehicle for you to arrive at that end.
The wrestlers aren’t really hurting each other
It’s true, a wrestlers real-life goal isn’t to hurt their opponent. They are supposed to do their best to make it look like that’s the case, but they don’t want to injure their fellow ring buddy. They are telling a story and trying to make it look as if a brutal battle is taking place on TV. With that said, it’s not like every wrestling movie is fake and causes no pain or injury to the wrestlers involved.
Wrestlers are injured left and right for all sorts of reasons. A lot of it comes from wear and tear from match after match. Wrestlers take hundreds of ‘bumps’ a week during matches, which means they are reacting to an opponent’s onslaught, be it real or fake. Punches are certainly pulled in some instances, but other times they aren’t. Chops to the chest are real…pummeling to the chest is real. Jumping from the turnbuckle down to the ring is certainly real. There are all sorts of drops, hits and chops that are real-life contact and do hurt. It’s part of being a wrestler. You take bumps that are both real in fake in order to flesh out the visual story.
As I said, this results in wear and tear that really makes the body suffer. Wrestlers have come and gone due to spinal injuries, neck problems, blown out legs, broken arms and everything else. That’s not to mention the injuries that happen in-ring in an instant. Knees have been blown out, arms have been broken, noses have been busted open and much more. Wrestling is a truly physical event that can cause severe damage no matter the caliber of wrestler.
Watching wrestlers do what they do really is poetry in motion. It’s a mixture of athleticism and choreography that can be truly impressive. Do yourself a favor and look up a match or two on WWE’s YouTube account. Anything in recent weeks will do. Take a look at what these people go through and ask yourself if you could do it 5 times a week for every week of the year. Sure, you can take the pulled punches and faked holds, but could you take the drops/bumps/chops/jumps/flips and more?
The acting is terrible
Just as in traditional film, some actors are better than others. This is definitely true in the world of wrestling. Some wrestlers are absolutely gifted in-ring, but they can’t really hold their own when it comes to the microphone. Others get the job done in-ring, but they really blow people away on the microphone. This is an element of wrestling you’ll have to have some give-and take on.
The good news is, WWE is taking a lot of extra time to help these wrestlers better play their characters. ’Cutting a promo’ is an important part of a wrestler, as it helps establish a character’s motives and personality. In-ring movements can only speak so much for a character’s goals. WWE realizes this and has just recently built an all-new facility to help their up-and-comers get their acting chops.
With that said, there are some absolutely amazing actors and personalities in wrestling. Paul Heyman isn’t a wrestler, but he is a manager that you see quite often on WWE programming. He is absolutely outstanding on the microphone. I’ve seen fantastic shows like Orange is the New Black, True Detective, House of Cards and more. Those shows are great because of stellar performances. In the world of WWE, Paul Heyman no doubt offers up a role that is perfectly acted and could stand toe-to-toe with some of the supporting cast in those programs.
That’s not to say that he’s the only good actor they have. Multiple wrestlers like Dolph Ziggler, Wade Barrett, HHH, Dead Ambrose, AJ Lee and many others do a great job of portraying their characters. These wrestlers get you more invested into their characters and motives with their artful promos and well-versed monologues. Acting may not be the first skill people come to think of when they picture wrestlers, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t wonderful ones in there.
There’s too much talking
This is another complaint that doesn’t really make sense with me. This comes from people who don’t watch wrestling. They just know that there’s talking and don’t understand why. So…there’s too much talking for you in a program that you haven’t given a fair shake? How does that even make any sense?
No wrestling program is going to be 100% wrestling. There are storylines created in order to build up characters and give you multiple reasons to invest in certain wrestlers. That means there’s going to be wrestlers on the mic. You’ll get in-ring talk, backstage scenes and everything inbetween. Wrestling really is 50% wrestling and 50% storyline.
Again, I’m forced to make the comparison to traditional TV shows. How often do people complain about too much talking in Game of Thrones or too much action in a sporting event? Wrestling is a mix of both, so that means you’re going to see both every single time you watch. Its this mix that creates moments that make fans cheer and makes matches that much more engaging. You have a reason to root for a winner or a reason to hope the villain gets taken out.
Does that mean that sometimes there’s too much talking? It certainly does, but that’s an episode-by-episode issue. Some shows are really heavy on wrestling and light on talk. Others have a lot to say and keep the in-ring action short. Wrestling viewers always differ on what aspect they like more, but they certainly realize that both are important. Truthfully, I appreciate both and rarely feel that there’s too much of either. I’m in for the entire spectacle and go with the flow.
Wrestling is ‘gay’
I didn’t even want to address this as a topic, but it’s still one that comes up time and time again. When people make a comment like this, it’s the one of the most idiotic and insensitive things you can say. Normally it’s not even worth addressing this issue or wasting breath, but I felt the need to quickly make note of it during this feature.
Wrestling has men in skimpy outfits. Wrestling has women in skimpy outfits. Wrestling also has people in more traditional clothing, like jeans, shorts, t-shirts and other ‘normal’ clothing items. If you feel threatened or disgusted by what the wrestlers are wearing, you have more of an issue than I can deal with. Seems like there’s some issues hidden deep within that you need to work on.
Wrestlers do their job in tiny trunks, just like olympic swimmers, bodybuilders and other professions. That’s just the way it is. If that’s an issue for you, there’s nothing I can say to work around that. Hopefully you’ll figure that out one day on your own.
Wrestling is silly
Grown men and women in skimpy clothing fake beating each other up for belts that don’t really matter. When you put it that way, it certainly does sound silly. Again, this issue only comes up when you take the world of wrestling and apply real-world logic to it. That’s not at all what wrestling is meant to be. You are supposed to go along with the willing suspension of disbelief and enter the world of wrestling and all its rules.
The world of Harry Potter is silly. Comics like X-Men are silly. A fantastical setting like Game of Thrones is silly. The entire concept of The Hunger Games is silly. Yes, all of those things certainly seem silly when you apply them to real-life…yet no one does that with the brands named above. The world of wrestling fits right in with what was named above, but for some reason people still want to apply real-life comparisons to it.
Silly isn’t a bad thing, by the way! Things that are silly are meant to bring joy into your life. Crazy characters, fantastical settings and outlandish stories are all created to entertain us. This is exactly what wrestling aims to be. Larger than life characters battling in a universe where the most important thing is a gold belt that says you’re better than everyone else. Silly is fun and makes smiles…silly is something that anyone can enjoy. Silly isn’t meant to be picked apart and lamented for its lack of real-life elements. Blockbuster movies, TV shows and books all contain silly elements when you match them up with real life. Doing that sucks the fun out of all of them, which is why you don’t do it. That’s not what they’re there for and that certainly applies to wrestling.
As far as I can think of, those are most of the major complaints that wrestling usually has throw at it. I hope I’ve given some good counterpoints for those complaints. I also hoped that I’ve made at least one person a bit more curious about the world of wrestling.
There’s one more important thing to say. Just like any other TV show/movie/book or what have you, wrestling isn’t for everyone. There will never be a TV show that everyone loves. There will never be a movie or album that gets the praise of everyone that encounters it. Wrestling is certainly no different. Not everyone that comes in contact with it is going to enjoy it and that is perfectly fine with me.
The goal of this article wasn’t to make non-wrestling fans into fans. I was hoping to get people to give wrestling a shot in the first place. There are plenty of people that hate it and have strong opinions without knowing why. They just throw insults at it and never actually give it a shot. All I really want is for people to give wrestling a chance. Sit down and watch a Monday Night RAW or a TNA episode. Go in with a clean slate and take it for what it is.
If you come out disliking it, that’s completely understandable. I don’t expect everyone to come out a fan. It’s just not going to be enjoyable for everyone. If people would just give it a shot, form an opinion on what they saw and then decide to continue with it or move away, that would be fantastic. Wrestling may not be your cup of tea.
Hell, traditional sports aren’t really for me, but I would never put people down for enjoying them. If you watch them and get enjoyment from them, that is fantastic. That’s what I like to hear and it makes me happy to know that you’re enjoying something. Still, if a friend or family member wanted me to check some sporting event out with them, I’d certainly give it a shot. Why on earth would I shut out the idea? I’m here as part of this world to give things a shot. I don’t want to be on my death bed and have nothing but a list of things I didn’t try because I hated them for no reason.
So yes, I’m hoping that at least one person is going to take this Tumblr post and apply it to real life. If you do decide to give wrestling a shot, please leave me a comment and let me know how it goes! Hopefully my passion for wrestling has shown someone that maybe there’s something to enjoy in all of this.