You know that feeling when you sit down in front of your TV and are faced with the insurmountable task of combing through Netflix, Hulu, or endless Cable channels, looking for that perfect something to watch? I used to struggle with that quite a bit, until I found my TV addiction. Professional Wrestling. Yep, you heard me. Men in tights, fake punching each other for a giant bedazzled belt. That’s my jam.
When friends and acquaintances first learn of my passion for the fine art of wrestling, I am immediately accosted by the same question: “You know that it’s fake, right!?” It’s true. Pro wrestling isn’t a real competition. The outcomes of the matches are predetermined. What many people fail to realize is that wrestling companies like WWE and WCW were actually the pioneers of the “reality” TV genre. We all know Keeping Up With The Kardashians isn’t real, right? Wrestling is an ongoing episodic show with a contiguous plot and (mostly) scripted monologues/scenes in between matches. The difference between it and say, Real Housewives is that instead of being all about shopping sprees and who tweeted what about who, wrestling is filled with guys (and gals) settling their differences each week by performing crazy stunts in front of a live audience and pretending to beat each other up.
So how can a wrestling match be “good” if all the outcomes are predetermined? What sets them apart from each other? Well, in true combat sports like MMA or Boxing, a good fight would be a very evenly matched, probably with lots of action and/or punches thrown. A good wrestling match possess many similar qualities, but has one key difference. Professional wrestling is not actually about two people fighting each other. It’s about two people “fighting” the audience. A “good” match might have some really cool stunts, but a “great” match has excellent psychology behind it. In a wrestling match, each wrestler shares the same objective; to make the audience forget that what they are watching is fake. The best matches draw the audience in and “trick” the audience into being invested emotionally in something they know isn’t real (just like a movie or TV Show). Ideally a match should also tell a self-contained story, complete with beginning, middle, and end. I’d encourage anyone who hasn’t seen a wrestling match with through this paradigm to go give another one a shot.
Now that you’ve been enlightened, you’re probably dying to get your hands on some wrestling material.
You’re in luck, because at Bookmans, Hulkamania is always running wild (Hulk Hogan, anyone?) If you’re just looking to watch a few matches, a DVD collection of any wrestler or pay-per-view that you find interesting is a good place to start (I’d recommend Wrestlemania 25, Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker). Or maybe you’re just interested in learning more about the business and it’s history. If that’s the case, then I’d head in and ask one of our lovely employees to show you where biographies are kept, as many famous wrestlers have written their own (they make for some pretty entertaining reads).
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