Guilty as charged. As you can see from my posts I watch wrestling as much now and enjoy it more than when I was young. Unfortunately not everyone understands why and you will hear a few common complaints. When you hear these complaints, stop, stay calm and think of these answers.
1. Don’t you know it’s fake? – The biggest and most obvious question every wrestling fan will face. The answer? Of course you know it is fake. Do I really think that The Undertaker is really some mystical monster who can come back to life no matter what he gets hit with? Did the Ultimate Warrior gain strength from shaking the top ropes while his opponent beat him senseless? No. The fact that the result of a professional wrestling match is predetermined does not detract from the enjoyment of this in any way. Do I walk into a room and criticize you for reading a book? A book or film is predetermined yet people are respected for sitting reading. ‘He must be smart’ they say.
2. Don’t you know it’s for children? – Just because wrestling hit the big time when I was a child doesn’t mean I should stop liking it when I’m older. Do Pixar not create excellent films that can be enjoyed by everyone? More to the point do you encourage children to hit each other with steel chairs? Thought not. Truth is professional wrestling is like any product now and is rated for its audience. Through the many eras of wrestling, the product has been aimed at a specific age group. The superstar era of the 80’s and 90’s was aimed at children who loved Hulk Hogan as much as Superman. The attitude era was aimed at 18-30 year olds who liked their action brutal and jokes close to the mark. The pg era and current reality era are the regeneration of the eras above.
3. It isn’t a real sport. – Ask Kurt Angle, ask Brock Lesnar maybe even ask CM Punk in a few months. It isn’t sport but it is performed by some of the most athletic and talented performers in the world. From all american sports stars in college to Olympic Gold medalists the professional wrestling family has had them all. They have competed at the highest level and at their peak they chose wrestling. It may not be competitive sport but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be respected.
4. They wear silly costumes. – How much money did The Avengers make worldwide? Professional wrestling is no different to the superhero genre. There is good, evil and every stop in between. Whether it is the working class hero or the Million Dollar Man there is a persona or character that everyone can identify with no matter the age or the gender. While there are issues over the portrayal and equality afforded to women wrestlers the fact they are promoted at all is a good thing #givedivasachance Wrestling tries to teach some important life lessons. The good guy doesn’t always win but most importantly, sometimes they do. These are the moments we yearn for as wrestling fans and make the disappointing times worth it.
5. Is that Ric Flair? – Yes it is Ric Flair, it is also Hulk Hogan. Wrestling superstars who are still with us and haven’t tragically passed on or committed some unsavoury act are treasured by the WWE and usually welcomed into their hall of fame. Flair performed well into his sixties as has Hogan. Sting is fighting HHH at Wrestlemania in a weeks time as well in the match many have waited a generation to see. Ageism is not a problem in professional wrestling. Many a gunslinger has one last shootout in them, showing the young superstars how it is done. If you don’t believe me listen the crowd reaction when Undertaker takes on Bray Wyatt.
So next time someone sneers at you for watching wrestling, take a moment, don’t get defensive, engage with them and you might reawaken the love for this noble art within them because wrestling is better with a crowd.