When many people think of professional wrestling, they think of violence, a mindless form of television or a product that degrades women. But, unless you have been a dedicated fan for most of your life, you do not realize that there is so much more to wrestling than these assumptions of pure brutality.
Every time I tell someone that I watch wrestling, they look at me as if it is the most bizarre thing they have ever heard and say something along the lines of, “Why do you watch that? It’s not even real.” The thing is, people believe that wrestling is just nonsense because they do not understand it. So, here is some insight into why I love wrestling and why more people could grow to love it, too.
World Wrestling Entertain (WWE) is currently the largest professional wrestling promotion in the world, reaching 13 million viewers in the U.S. and broadcasting its shows in 30 languages to more than 145 countries. WWE is a family-run business. Vince McMahon, the chairman and chief executive officer, along with his wife and their two children, hold majority power in the company.
Wrestling is not just about fights. Like any good novel, television show or movie, pro-wrestling is a battle of good vs. evil. In wrestling, the good guy — called “babyface”— takes on the bad guy — called “heel.” When you really look at it, it is no different than any other sport or form of entertainment.
Why do people read comic books? To see Batman or Spider-man triumph over evil. Why do sports fans watch the Miami Heat vs. the Boston Celtics? Because, unless they are a Boston fan, they want to see the “enemy” Celtics lose. Why do people get so immersed in reading books? To see if the protagonist can overcome the antagonist. The scripted battle of good vs. evil in pro wrestling is just like watching a beloved television show, except it introduces entertainment through a whole new medium.
To many people, it may seem that wrestling degrades women. But in the WWE, there are women who hold positions of power both in front and behind the camera. On WWE’s weekly episodic television program, “Monday Night Raw”, the general manager in charge of booking matches is Vickie Guerrero, the wife of the late wrestler Eddie Guerrero.
Behind the scenes, Stephanie McMahon, the daughter of Vince McMahon, is the creative executive vice president for WWE. The WWE also has a well-constructed women’s division and a women’s championship title solely focused on female pro wrestlers, who are equally as athletic and competitive as the men.
The WWE also has a long history of giving back to the community and of finding new ways to inspire children and support the U.S. military. Since 2002, the WWE has produced an annual “Tribute to the Troops” holiday special, in which WWE superstars and divas perform before the troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and the U.S. In April 2011, The Creative Coalition and WWE cofounded a new nationwide anti-bullying alliance called “be a STAR”, which stands for show tolerance and respect. Through “be a STAR” and talking to children in schools around the nation, WWE takes the initiative to promote positive methods of social interactions and encourages people to treat others with respect.
Wrestling tells a story and influences people, whether if it is in the confines of a match or outside of the ring. A lot of casual wrestling fans do not understand this. They think that wrestling is just move after move with no general flow. Yet, there is a very specific formula to wrestling matches, all done to tell a story — just like the plot of a good book. Wrestling, believe it or not, is an art form, and the ring is a wrestler’s canvas. Whether you watch on occasion or you are a dedicated fan like me, there is a lot to be learned about wrestling and how entertaining it can actually be.