To be honest, it took a long while before I was ready to come out and admit that publicly. It seems like just yesterday I was sitting two feet away from the TV in the other room of my house with the volume turned way down, remote control in hand ready to change the channel so I wouldn't have to suffer the shame of being caught watching wrestling. The cultural stigma of liking something like that was just too much to handle in my white, middle-upper class neighborhood (yeah I know, rough life of oppression I had to face, right?). The notion that you have to be some beer-swilling hick in order to enjoy wrestling just seems ingrained in the collective minds of the educated and “cultured.” But fuck that shit. I am a classically trained musician who loves jazz and opera and wine, who just happens to love the shit out of some action in the legendary squared circle. And I know I’m not alone. So I am going to try and use all of that college brainpower to prove that loving wrestling is totally fine and may be an essential pastime for bettering yourself as a human.
Oh, and I should mention that I will be mostly talking about wrestling from about 1998 and back. Most of the justifications provided will apply to modern wrestling but honestly things have gotten pretty bad recently and we may be at a point where we no longer can justify a love of the “sport.” Mostly because the network that carries the show does not allow characters (you know, when the Undertaker changed from being an undead guy followed around by Paul Bearer who carried his ashes in order to control him to a biker and all that nonsense). Also, with the advent of UFC (something where people actually beat the shit out of each other) the WWF, sorry “WWE” (wanking motion), had to either go ECW and have people hitting each other with barbed wire tables every night or go family and be PG and stop matches when people start bleeding and all that. Sadly, they went PG, thus cutting the balls of the show. In short, when I think of wrestling I’m thinking about mid The Rock and Stone Cold era and back.
Let's dismiss a couple of things right out. These are the justifications that will generally come from those missing teeth.
1) There’s tons of cool violence!
2) Hot babes fighting each other bro! TITTY FIGHT! FUCK YEAH! *jack off bro make out*
1) Liking violence for violence sake isn’t cool. Furthermore, what’s happening in the ring is more interesting then just the fact two dudes are wrecking each other’s faces.
2) Doesn't work because of this…
The first picture is Chyna, the second picture is the standard reaction to Chyna. Nuff said.
So let's look at some good reasons for watching wrestling:
1) From a philosophical standpoint (my major at aforementioned university, because I make really good life choices like getting a degree in something that hasn't been relevant in the job market for centuries), it is really interesting to watch something that is fake be presented live and with real people being watched by real people who think that it is real. The spectacle that is the WWF/E exists in this weird balance of fiction and reality, what with scripted match’s and well practiced moves that all the while are actually happening without the aid of camera tricks or wires or anything in real time, and I find it fascinating. What makes it all the more interesting is the crowd eating it all up, booing, cheering, chanting, and embracing the fiction/reality that is presented to them. It’s a strange sight to behold and one worth seeing.
2) Sociologically, if you are interested in American sub-cultures, just look at the “WWE universe.” The strange thing is that it actually has become its own little world, cult like in devotion and with the amount of attention focused on feeding propaganda to its fans that would rival a dictatorship. There are magazines, web based communities, award shows within the universe, a hall of fame, conventions, things like the “Dibiase posse” and superstars own youtube channels where they interact directly with the fans (link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_Vtwdozi-Q). And the marketing! Holy fuck the marketing! There are video games, any kind of apparel and accessories slapped with logos and faces of superstars you can think of.
(Respectively that's a John Cena lamp, and a CM Punk baby thing. For serious.)
Fuck it, you get the point. The WWE universe is a very large subculture in this country and it is worth studying. Not understanding it, or at the very least not recognizing it, could be harmful to any worldview you seek to establish.
3) Most people who haven’t watched a lot of wrestling and yet criticize it generally say things like “its just a bunch violence and macho bullshit.” First of all, fuck those people in their stupid twat of a mouth. Secondly, it’s way more than that. Yeah, if you just watched one instance of Smackdown or one pay per view event you would get the impression put forth by our aforementioned twat-mouthed friends but you're missing one of the really big things that draw people in; the story telling aspect of the business. It’s not so much about Hulk Hogan just owning the Iron Sheik in a fight more than what the fighting meant and all the build up to that show down. Every contained story within wrestling really is like a 80s pump-up movie (80s pump-up movies being intrinsically amazing, we can infer that anything that is akin to an 80s pump-up movie is at least on the right path to awesomeness). They are all about heroes working to best villains, underdogs overcoming impossible odds, the rise of a superstar and sometimes their descent into becoming the bad guy. Take the classic Wrestlemania III Hulk Hogan Vs Andre the Giant fight. Yeah it was fucking awesome when Hulkamania ran wild over that ring and bodyslammed the giant, but it was made even more awesome by the fact that Andre was billed as undefeated for 15 years and impossible to defeat. It was awesome because of the story arch of the match itself, our hero Hulk getting his shit worked so hard to the point where you cant see how he could pull it off but then he starts hulking out and bam! A slam and an epic leg drop later we have our hero pinning the unbeatable giant. And that's just my point; wrestling is like soap operas for dudes mixed with all the Stan Bush inspired imagery and feeling of Rocky fucking Top Gun 80s magic to produce a baby so awesome it could only be contained in the WWF. Yeah, the stories are pretty simple, but we love them all the same; we love to watch our favorite characters progression throughout the time line and all the twists they experience along the way. Does this make watching wrestling “good” on an intellectual level? No. But my point is that it’s not as bad as people think. There are plenty of movies and TV shows out there that have less complexity and simpler stories then those presented in the WWF (note anything that Ashton Kutcher says yes to these days or anything that Michael Bay’s putrid smegma infected cock of a brain comes up with).
In conclusion, it’s ok to watch wrestling regardless of how not a hick you are. That a bunch of morons watch it does not make you a moron. A bunch of morons like a lot of things that normal and intelligent people like, yet the kind of stigma that is attached to liking wrestling isn’t applied to them (note that we don't go yelling at random people for simply enjoying pop music… well, I do but that's because I have America's best interests at heart). You just have to watch it with the right kind of eye and watch it for long enough to get attached to the characters and pick up on the story arch they are creating and soon you will find yourself enjoying it. Just remember that the difference between being a passive, intelligent appreciator of wrestling and being a “fan” is crossed the instant you do something retarded like get Hulk Hogan’s face tattooed on your ass.