I’ve separated my life into 4 eras. First, there was the Ninja Turtles era; then, the Batman era (which I’m still somewhat a part of- hence, the title of this column); followed by the Power Rangers era; and finally, the wrestling era. These four forms of entertainment have gotten me through my childhood and my young adult life. Yeah, I may have to go to school, but at least I can come home and watch Power Rangers (Tommy, the Green Ranger, then the white, then the red, was always my favorite). Yeah, my friends may be mad at me, but I still have the Ninja Turtles. Yeah, I may be grounded, but I bet I can still watch Batman. Yeah, I had a crappy day at work, fought with my girlfriend, locked my keys in my car, and forgot to buy toilet paper (which I found out when it was too late), but it’s Monday night, and I have wrestling. Most of my favorite memories involve one or more of these entertainment avenues. My question is, knowing that wrestling is just another form of entertainment, why do we take it so seriously?
One statement that I’m pretty sure every wrestling fan that has ever lived has heard is “wrestling is fake.” This used to piss me off like no other. Don’t insult my mother, don’t tell me that God doesn’t exist, and don’t tell me that wrestling is fake. Unfortunately, for all practical purposes, wrestling is fake. Yes, the moves hurt. Yes, the guys doing them are phenomenal athletes, but the fact of the matter is that wrestling is still fake. The guys don’t really hate each other, The Undertaker really is alive, and Vince McMahon isn’t really crazy (I don’t think). Professional wrestling is no different than any other TV show, so why do we act like it is?
We get so upset when we feel like a certain wrestler isn’t getting the “push” that he or she (but mostly he- who really cares about women’s wrestling?) deserves, but do we freak out when one of The OC kids doesn’t get as much screen time as Adam Brody? That’s his name right? I don’t actually watch The OC…a lot. Is it even still on? Point is, yes, wrestlers need to make a living; they have all the right in the world to take this business seriously, but why do we, as the audience, even really care?
I was watching Wings last night. It’s an old show from the 90’s that took place in an airport. My favorite character on that show was the brother of the main character. While he was an important character, he didn’t get as much face-time as the main guy. I was bummed, because I thought the brother was the funniest character, but I didn’t write a letter to the producers of the show saying that the actor would be better off on Cheers, where they would actually appreciate his talent. That was a good analogy.
Shows like Law and Order, CSI, The Sopranos, and Six Feet Under deal with topics like murder, homosexuality, suicide (not the wrestler), homicide (again, not the wrestler), rape, and uh…necrophilia. So why do critics condemn WWE or TNA when these topics arise on their shows? McMahon has said that WWE is entertainment. Why can’t we just be entertained?
When a wrestler wins a championship, some of us are moved to tears. This means that a wrestling promotion has done a wonderful job in promoting their product. It means that we are so involved in the story, we can’t control our emotions. This is a good thing. It’s like when someone dies in a movie- we know it’s fake, but we suspend our disbelief long enough to get involved in the story. Not every television show or movie or book can do this. But sometimes a rare moment, though mostly fake, will elicit real emotions. When that happens, it’s magic.
I have been a wrestling fan for twelve years. In those twelve years, I have always been entertained. Though some shows have been more entertaining, and some have been not so entertaining, I’ve never wished that I was watching something else. WWE has to write 6 hours of television a week, not including monthly pay-per-views. That’s a lot to write. A lot of us laugh when WWE shows their graphic that states : “More people watched RAW than (insert show here).” We scoff at this, but it’s a big deal and WWE should be proud. If more people are watching Raw or Smackdown than Law and Order, that’s a big deal. My challenge to you, my children, is to take a step back and remember that WWE Raw or TNA Impact is just a television show. Enjoy it for what it is- a break from the reality your everyday lives. Sometimes you will be entertained. Sometimes you won’t be entertained. But really, WWE or TNA doesn’t owe us anything. Professional wrestling exists simply to entertain us- just like any other television show or movie.
Thoughts? Email me at Westernrebellion@live.com
Last week I wrote at length about the Jeff Hardy situation. Go to the next pages to read what you thought:
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