Why professional wrestling deserves more attention

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Graphic by Jaime Mere

Pro wrestling is the greatest made-up sport that has ever existed. It’s fake, it’s exaggerated, it’s silly and sometimes pretty stupid — but it’s always entertaining.

Unfortunately for me, a lifelong  wrestling fan, sometimes I am taunted for my admiration for liking such an odd form of entertainment. And yes, it’s fake — very fake. I, just like many other wrestling fans, however, still love to watch it.

Here, I’m going to talk about the basis of pro-wrestling and, hopefully, by the end of this article, I’ve convinced you enough to go check it out for yourself.

Being a successful wrestler requires two major components: physical ability and talking/character attributes. With physical abilities, one requires extensive training in order to learn how to perform wrestling moves and how to react when another wrestler performs a move on you — this is referred to as “selling” in the industry.

Most wrestlers have to work out constantly, stick to a strict diet and train regularly as part of their job. The other aspect is more character-     related, as being a wrestler isn’t all about pure athletic skill.

Being able to speak your character’s intentions on the microphone is essential to being a great wrestler. In pro wrestling, there are usually two characters: the face and the heel.

It is the job of the ‘face’ to get the audience to cheer for him and support him as a semi- heroic figure. The job of the ‘heel’ is to make the audience hate him. As the bad guy, the audience should be cheering just to see you get your proper comeuppance  — heels often berate the audience and other wrestlers with insults and personal arrogance.

These two characters usually wrestle in contrasting ways and       are typically fighting one another. The faces typically will fight honorably and straight forward, the heels, in contrast, will often use dirty tactics and cheat to win.

Sometimes you can get characters who blur the line between faces and heels. A very popular wrestler during his time in WWE, Eddie Guerrero, was usually a face, but would often use very underhanded tactics to win matches. Since he did this in funny or charming ways, however, the audience adored him for it.

“Stone cold” Steve Austin, a beer-drinking, monster truck driving, bird-flipping redneck was the face of the organization for many years.

One of the all-time greats in the business, The Undertaker, has been playing the part of a zombie with magical lighting summoning powers has been wrestling for over 30 years!

These characters are fascinating to watch evolve and grow, and even if many of them are ridiculous if you suspend your disbelief and just watch a match where a Bulgarian strongman is beating up an adult film star in a fake fight, you’d be surprised how enjoyable the experience can be.

Wrestling is as close to an intricate dance as it is to simulated violence. This is more true than ever in the modern era. The performers are in top physical condition and can perform outlandish moves that make the viewers lose their mind, often it’s a move that was practiced for months or years in order to be executed to perfection.

From the outside looking in, of course wrestling is silly and ridiculous in principal.

What is misunderstood however is that when you get invested in the strange universe it encapsulates, there’s nothing else in the world like it.

So do yourself a favour: just go watch one show or a part of one show.

It’s not for everyone, but it should never be overlooked. In its own way, it’s something really beautiful.


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