There is something inherently beautiful about wrestling.
You and I like wrestling. But when we say we love it, what do we really mean?
Is it the glitz and glam? The personal aversions? The allegiances? The backstage hostilities? The money? The hierarchical nature of the business? The resultant politics ? Or simply the action?
All of these you might say. And I would agree. They are all a part of the business. But not all of these are an imperative ingredient of a wrestling promotion or the shows it produces. Because the commodity here is the wrestling. The building blocks of a wrestling company is the wrestling. Just as you couldn’t lay the foundations of a house with the sofa and dining table, you couldn’t build a wrestling promotion around its shareholders, physiotherapists or marketing strategies. Strip this business down and you will eventually find what we are all looking for. The skeleton that provides the safe and stable framework from which diversification can occur. It’s the wrestling. Pure and simple. So it really begs the question as to why is the wrestling often overlooked and to a certain extent under-appreciated? Because we all do it from time to time. I guess it’s just a part of being a fan of this business. Next time you watch WWE, TNA, ROH, FWA, CZW, or any other promotion that takes your fancy, stop yourself mid-match and ask whether it’s the storylines or the actual wrestling that seems to be at the forefront of the presentation. Because you might just be surprised as to how subordinated the action really is sometimes.
A hammerlock, an Irish wipe, a schoolboy, a drop toe-hold, a flog splash, a chokeslam. These are all a part of a wrestler’s artillery. Ready and waiting for deployment at a suitable time or ‘spot’. To play out a portrayal of their character for the benefit of a storyline. This is the purely interactive medium through which the fan in brought into the stories. One through which we are encapsulated in what we see and, in turn, become a part of the action. And one through which, ultimately, we find ourselves left fascinated and enthralled.
2 months ago to the day I was sat in the 20,000 strong crowd that bared witness to the very first live WWE presentation from outside North America and Canada. The red of Raw adorned the arena walls. The pyro was stacked to the roof. The Titan-Tron was mounted ahead of two enormous Union Jack flags. Every seat had a bum on it. And the anticipation and excitement was phenomenal. What really hit home though was the truly unexpected personal take on things that you get. For all the Internet rumours; spoilers, and predictions that were emblazoned across the pages of the IWC for weeks in advance of this historic British tour…it made no difference. It had no bearing on the night. Because right there and then I watched on from the edge of my seat as the action unfolded. This was the stripped-down, pure form. There were no adverts. We had Lilian Garcia talking to the crowd instead. There were no PPV previews. We got to see referee changeovers instead. We didn’t even have the commentary in our ears. We got what our eyes brought to us. And you know what was so special? The purity and simplicity of what occurred. There had been no time for criticism. No time for inferences of politics at work. No time for editing, cutting, shortening, or digital mastering of the activity. For the couple of hours before worldwide screening, only the WWE and 20,000 screaming Manchester fans knew what had gone down that night. Raw was ours. In our eyes. Not through a television screen. In our memories. Not on tape. And that was just Raw. When Tuesday arrived and Smackdown roled on, the journey began again for me.
These days when I watch wrestling on TV I always find myself looking in the crowd as much as I can. I look for the faces. And the expressions they make. Because no matter if you catch the show first-time around, those lucky fans you see around the ring have seen it before you. They make the show what it is. Harking back to my earlier analogy: you cant have a home without the inhabitants making it what it is…in the same way that you can’t have a wrestling show without the fan attendance and participation. As each punch is thrown; as each fall is won; and each match is completed, the fans are there with it. Watching…waiting…anticipating. The amount of pre-production; storyline formation; people and material logistics that takes place to make our beloved wrestling shows a reality is amazing. But when it boils down to it…it’s just you and the wrestlers. They act. You react. They change. You change. They wait for their match. You wait for their match. And when they go home and you go home…you both have the memories. Each one is as personal as the next…but you have them. And you have them forever. I will never forget what I saw and more importantly what I experienced on those two nights in October. And when I finally get to see the videos of those nights I will have a look at the faces in the ringside area and attempt to relate their facial expressions to the raw emotion and personal feelings that I had at those exact same moments.
The wrestling ‘had me right where it wanted’ on those nights. I was at its mercy so to speak. I am a passionate wrestling fan who thrives on getting my fix. Week-in, week-out I am there watching and waiting for what might happen. I avoid spoilers. It’s that sense of anticipation that I crave today. Just in the way that Hogan’s heel turn was unexpected and the Montral Screwjob was unexpected, my weekly wrestling is unexpected. I like it that way. Because that way I appreciate the wrestling for what it is. And the storyline implications only manifest themselves once the show is over. Here I sit now reflecting on this week’s Smackdown. I didn’t read any previews or click on any spoilers…and what did I get? A totally unexpected title change. As I urged on Mysterio and RVD, I never really thought they would win. But you and I know the events that unfolded…they sure did win. And if I compare my emotional rollercoaster during that match and my eventual elation at the outcome compared to if I had only read the spoiler…things are put into perspective.
Think about wrestling and what you love about it. Think about wrestling and ask yourself why you like it. We all are different and that’s one beauty of life. We have our own opinions and that’s one beauty of the IWC. When it comes to the wrestling industry, the beauty is in the art of wrestling. Pure and Simple. The by-products are an added bonus and the product is evidently enhanced. But lets go back to basics and admire our favourite wrestlers doing what they do best: wrestling.
“…Strip this business down and you will eventually find what we are all looking for. The skeleton that provides the safe and stable framework from which diversification can occur. It’s the wrestling. Pure and simple…”
Well another ‘Double A’ Report completed and another trip into beautiful world of wrestling. I had fun writing this and it marks a happy return to writing after an unwanted enforced brief hiatus. Thanks to those of you who have been contacting and wishing me the best…you have all been awesome. And moreover, thanks to the people who have continually sent me feedback. This one is for all of you! Hope you enjoyed this edition…
If you wish to send feedback or want to discuss this or any other wrestling topics then just drop me an email and I will be sure to get back to you: DoubleAreport@yahoo.com
Until next time, take care.
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