Professional wrestling, more than just scripted performance

By Taylor Johansen

Professional wrestling is a subject with perhaps the most divisive opinions of any pastime in the history of entertainment.

For those who don’t know, professional wrestling is, in essence, choreographed fighting between some brawny folks in tight outfits. It has plenty of detractors who dislike it too, and who constantly condemn its fans for its supposed ‘flaws.’ Well, I’m going to prove these people wrong and show why you ought to give professional wrestling a chance.

A common complaint from detractors is that wrestling is “fake”, or scripted. Winners are planned in advance for bouts, and storylines are followed where certain guys come out on top. But is this really a bad thing? Hollywood movies are fake, video games are fake, but that doesn’t make them any less entertaining!

Wrestling is a spectacle and a showcase of athleticism, and the stories told help invest you in the product. Following the heroic ‘face’ as he fights the evil ‘heel’ to win the title isn’t any less satisfying or fun because it was scripted in advance. Even when a storyline is convoluted and silly, you can still enjoy it for being ridiculous fun to watch and follow, like a spandex soap opera.

The characters are unique and larger-than-life, providing entertaining personalities for you to follow, and playing their roles to the letter. Take “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, the Texas Rattlesnake himself! The Stone Cold character, a beer-swilling redneck who rebelled against authority, shot wrestling to new heights of popularity in the late 90’s with his antics, defining the industry in the process.

A similar complaint is that the fighting is fake, and that nobody actually hurts each other. So? Sure, one can find entertainment in a real fight, a contest of strength like boxing or MMA, and that’s perfectly valid. But those fights aren’t showy, full of stunts and risky maneuvers.

A wrestling match is like a real-life movie fight scene. And it doesn’t detract from the fact that wrestlers ARE athletes. Sure they don’t punch each other in the face repeatedly, but it still takes skill to put on a show without hurting yourself or anyone else. And people DO get hurt! Wrestling is risky! Take wrestler Mick Foley for example: renowned for an edgy ‘hardcore’ style that involved many props and weapons. He once fell from the top of a giant cage and through an announce table at ringside in a scripted “spot” (which means a move), before climbing back up to the top and falling THROUGH the cage itself in a non-scripted fall, during a hardcore “Hell in a Cell” match during the King of the Ring pay-per-view in 1998. The two falls ended up hitting so hard that a tooth shot up through his gums and was visible in his nose. Four years earlier he’d caught his head between a pair of over-tightened ring ropes and ended up ripping an ear off while touring in Europe. And these are just two high-profile, historic injuries. Wrestlers are injured all the time, sometimes ending their careers or even dying. It is dangerous, and takes a lot of guts, and a lot of athleticism

So what’s the verdict? Wrestling is a fun, surreal form of sports entertainment that combines all the spectacle and showcase of a circus with the impressive strength and gymnastic skill of an Olympic event. It can be violent, it can be compelling, realistic, or like a real life cartoon. Whatever you like, wrestling may have something for you! So why not give it a chance and have yourself a watch?