Pro Wrestling: Worthy of Consideration

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Brandon Breeland

Fake, scripted, steroid-ridden wrestlers, for kids, soap opera, racist, and embarrassing to talk about in public. These are just some of the many stereotypes that surround the world of professional wrestling.

Even after being made well aware of all of the above, pro wrestling is still one of my biggest passions. It seems strange, and wrestling fans have been told plenty of times by many that if we are going to watch a combat sport, why shouldn’t we just watch something legitimate like the UFC or Bellator MMA instead? If it’s entertainment that we’re looking for, why don’t we watch something that isn’t so looked down upon like the newest billion-dollar Disney blockbuster hitting theaters? But it’s the combination of both the competitive, combat-driven storytelling and the over-the-top entertainment value that the performers give us that makes for a compelling product.

There’s a common misconception with pro wrestling that could be the root of the majority of the “wrestling is fake” comments made by plenty: the promotions aren’t selling you a sporting event, they’re selling you a show. Wrestling events in town or on your TV’s channel listings aren’t represented as trying to sell you a specific fight, but rather one cohesive show under a show name. You don’t look forward to watching next week’s “Cena vs. Lesnar” fight, but instead, you look forward to watching next week’s episode of WWE’s Monday Night Raw or All Elite Wrestling: Dynamite. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the legitimacy of the matches, but it’s important to keep in mind that these are television shows first and foremost, and not fighting events built on any particular match.

Yes, of course the fighting is fake to an extent, but there’s more entertainment to be had then just determining whether or not the fist hit the other wrestler’s face or not. After all, when watching a wrestling program, it’s apparent that about a third of the show’s run time, excluding ad breaks, doesn’t take place in the ring. Pro wrestling relies on theatrics in its shows in different ways, from the in-ring performances of its athletes to the character’s skills on the microphones, and, yes, even the over-dramatic storylines that get the audiences of the big promotions like WWE to tune in every week. Breaks between the action in the squared circle include backstage segments between wrestlers, parody talk shows in the ring that advance storylines in a way that doesn’t involve a match, or promotional videos to build up excitement for a future match or return of a wrestler, among many other examples.

There’s something for everyone with pro wrestling: comedy, action, risk-taking, intriguing stories, heroes and villains, and moments that last a lifetime. Sure, this form of entertainment might not be everyone’s cup of tea, and it might be hard to achieve every wrestling promotion’s goal with its audience: to suspend your disbelief. But with promotions all around the world trying all they can to attract viewers (All Elite Wrestling, New Japan Pro-Wrestling, Progress Wrestling, Impact Wrestling, and the industry’s giant, WWE, to name a few), there’s never been a better time than now to consider jumping into the vast world of pro wrestling. Who knows, maybe you’ll find your new favorite pastime in the meantime.