Sports fans are often quite snobby about professional wrestling. “It’s just fake fighting!” is the familiar refrain. “Why don’t you watch MMA instead? That’s real.”
Well, the lines are becoming increasingly blurred. Brock Lesnar and Dave Bautista have both flitted between MMA and professional wrestling in WWE; and Bellator have been working with TNA for ages, attempting to find some common ground for cross-promotion.
If you’re one of the people who dismisses professional wrestling as “acting”, it might be worth reconsidering. Yes, taking a bump and performing aerial moves are physically demanding, requiring real athletic ability, which any sport fan should be able to acknowledge and admire.
But leave that aside, and consider: pro wrestling has multiple advantages over “real” sport.
- You generally know the line-up in advance. No need to fret about who the coach is going to pick; pro wrestling shows list who they’re going to have on the bill.
- Bad guys get their comeuppance. You know that guy who plays for that team who you’ve hated for the last decade? His smug face? The sly things he does when the referee’s not looking? The fluky goal he scored that robbed your lot of promotion? In pro wrestling, someone else would have wreaked your vengeance on him by now.
- You get your money’s worth. Don’t like this match you’re watching? There’ll be another one along in a minute. You’re not stuck in your seat watching the same dismal trash all afternoon.
- Weather and seasons are immaterial: wrestling goes on all year round. You won’t get a wrestling match called off due to a waterlogged or frozen pitch; you don’t get a three-month gap in the middle of the year when there’s no wrestling at all.
Carrie Dunn is the author of Spandex, Screw Jobs and Cheap Pops: Inside the Business of British Professional Wrestling. Her views are hers alone, and not those of the site…