Professional Wrestling: A Misunderstood & Underappreciated Form of Art
Recently I've been thinking about how professional wrestling has become a laughing stock to people outside of the sport. I've also come to the realization that people have a huge misconception on what wrestling really is. The urge to write this article began when The Ultimate Warrior tragically passed away a few months ago.
As news spread about the passing of Warrior, many news outlets began picking up the story and sharing it on their broadcasts. Most did so with respect, but there were a few who didn't. One in particular was Nancy Grace. She invited Diamond Dallas Page onto her show and began debating steroids in wrestling with him.
Grace delivered a completely uneducated opinion towards the deaths of wrestlers such as Owen Hart and even Ultimate Warrior himself. It was not only a series of ignorant statements by her, but it was also a lack of respect.
DDP released a statement after the show saying he had no idea that the subject that she planned to discuss was steroids. To see his full thoughts on what took place, click here.
Beyond Nancy Grace's idiotic presentation, ESPN's Colin Cowhered got in on the action by basically calling wrestling fans idiots when he tweeted: "We all watched pro wrestling at one time, before we got girlfriends and stopped picking our noses."
I'm sure most people in the public got a kick out of that statement. Mainly because that's the way wrestling is looked at. People view it as "childish" and "fake fighting". It's became a laughing stock among the majority of people.
As a lifelong wrestling fan, this saddens me. Not only does it sadden me, it actually pisses me off. People seem to think they are so clever when they say things like "You know that's fake and scripted right?" yet they'll go home and watch movies all day long. Those could be considered "fake" too if compared to boxing or "real fighting". How dumb would I sound going up to someone in a movie theatre during an action scene and saying "Hey, you know that's fake right?" I'd sound like a complete idiot, just like the people who do that to fans of professional wrestling.
The idea that wrestling is "fake" is honestly incorrect. The only time you could say that wrestling is fake would be when comparing it to fighting, mixed martial arts, or boxing. It seems that people have these presumed comparison in their minds when pro wrestling is brought into a conversation.
Pro wrestling is pro wrestling. It's not fighting. It's not boxing. It's not mixed martial arts. It isn't UFC. It isn't any of that. It's art. Art, you say? Yes. Professional wrestling is a form of art.
I'm not a pro wrestler so I obviously don't know EVERYTHING there is to know about it, but as a long time fan, I do believe I know enough to make this statement and have an opinion on it.
The first time I heard wrestling referred to as art was in an interview that CM Punk did. He said that Pro Wrestling was one of the only true art forms left in the world. He also mentioned the fact that it was one of the first things ever on TV. The full interview can be found here.
His statement sparked my interest in looking deeper into the history of wrestling and how it truly is an art. Just as I became interested in this subject, current WWE Superstar Seth Rollins mentioned it in an interview as well. Rollins addressed wrestling being referred to as fake by saying "What is fake? It's a television show and a live performance. Nothing's fake about it. We're not telling you we're out there fighting each other. We're out there to entertain you." Rollins went on to say "People just don't understand the art form of what we do. It's a mental and physical grind."
Rollins also mentioned how complex being a professional wrestler is. That's something many people don't think about it when casting negative, snide remarks towards wrestling and it's fans. There's alot more to it than most people think. Rollins said it best by saying "You can be the smartest guy in the world and not understand what it is to have a presence on stage. Being a character, executing a live performance, understanding what it is to connect with a crowd and elicit a specific response at a specific time using moves and body language. What we do is very complex. It's underappreciated." You can check out the full interview by clicking here.
I can't put it any better than Rollins did in that interview. Wrestlers put their bodies and well being on the line every time they step foot in a ring - all to entertain fans of the art. Beyond that, they spend years honing their craft. They put everything they have into becoming the best professional wrestler they can be. From learning to connect with a crowd to executing their movesets without any flaws to in ring psychology and timing - it's very complex and takes alot of work to do. Beyond the in ring maneuvers, storytelling is also a key part of wrestling and is a tough art to master. Being able to tell a story involves things such as how a match is formatted, conveying emotion in promos, ring positioning/body language etc.
Just think about it. This article is coming from someone who has NEVER stepped foot in a wrestling ring. I've just observed these things from research and time spent watching wrestling. Just imagine how much more there probably is to it, even more than what I've discussed here. If only people understood what we all love so much.
Professional Wrestling. It's misunderstood by the public. Underappreciated by many. And deserves more respect. Despite the media's slurred view on wrestling, it's something we love and that's all that matters. Don't let someone's uneducated opinion damper your interest in wrestling. Keep watching/doing what you love. Don't worry about the public and media, maybe one day they'll actually come to understand professional wrestling, but if not - it's their loss.
Thanks for reading and be sure to follow me on Twitter @EthanPWT. Also I would love to hear your feedback on this article, either tweet me or comment what you think!