I have been a fan of professional wrestling for the last fourteen years. I don’t really talk about, nor do I make it known that it is a passion of mine. I’m not embarrassed about it, it’s just something that doesn’t come up. That changes today. I’m tired of keeping this to myself.
When I was a kid in the 90s, my grandparents would come over and my grandfather would stand at front door and tell stories. One thing he always talked about was wrestling.
I had no clue what he was talking about at the time, but tried to keep up with my head nods. He would tell me what a guy named “Stone Cold” was doing, or what a rock was doing to three H’s.
It took me awhile to understand that there were wrestlers named The Rock and Triple H.
But even with his entertaining stories, I never thought to watch wrestling. I didn’t even know where to find it on TV.
Around 2002-2003, I found it on TV and something clicked in my head that wrestling – World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) – was something I enjoyed. I had never seen someone get smashed in the head with a garbage can before. It was riveting.
My passion grew from there. Unfortunately, I didn’t really know anyone else who watched wrestling.
When I was in university, I took a course called, “The Sociology of Professional Wrestling.” I was so excited for it. Finally, I would be surrounded by people who loved wrestling as much as I did.
The course had a two hour lecture and a one hour seminar each week, which divided the class into groups of twenty.
On the first day of my seminar, the TA said, “Raise your hand if you watch wrestling.”
I was unaware that this was one of those questions that required me to look around and gage everyone else’s response before deciding what my answer was going to be.
I immediately raised my hand. No one else did. Everyone stared at me. Some chuckled. The TA asked me why I watched wrestling, but worded it in a way that made it sound like I was making a mistake.
I said that I enjoyed it. But that wasn’t enough. They wanted to know if I watched the whole show, or just tuned in for some segments. I guess that was their attempt to throw me a life preserver. I didn’t grab it.
Here I was in a class about professional wrestling and no one wanted to admit they watched it. They were too cool for it. To save face, some said they used to watch it back in the day “when it was good.”
Therein lies the problem whenever someone says they like wrestling. It’s a dirty word. They are often mocked. They are told, “You know it’s fake, right?” And the reply to that is, “It’s not fake, it’s scripted.” Which is a terrible comeback.
Newsflash: The guy who supposedly comes down the chimney on Christmas is fake. Does that mean we stop celebrating Christmas?
Television shows are fake. Movies are fake. Some fight scenes don’t even have the real actors in them, they have stunt doubles.
There are no stunt doubles in wrestling. And there are no quick cuts in the editing booth. Someone can get hurt at any minute. People have died in a wrestling ring. Think about that the next time you want to call it fake.
I know it’s not a real competition; it’s entertainment. I don’t watch wrestling to see two guys, or girls beat each other to a pulp. If I wanted to see that, I’d watch the UFC.
As cheesy as it may sound, I watch wrestling because of the stories that are being told and the ride that each match or storyline can take me on. Each wrestler is a unique character that the audience likes, or doesn’t.
How is that any different from your favourite television show or movie for which they’ve made six sequels?
At times, being a wrestling fan has been a lonely experience. I can’t sit down and watch Monday Night Raw and text someone about stuff that’s going on. And when I do, it’s the stuff that gets mainstream attention.
I hear the way people speak about wrestling and it infuriates me sometimes because it’s so inaccurate.
Speaking specifically about the WWE, if you think it’s just a bunch of men and women on steroids performing violent criminal behaviour while swearing like a sailor, then you are wrong.
The television show has a PG rating. And as I make that point, another one gets brought up. “How can wrestling be PG? That just proves it’s not good anymore.”
Because a PG wrestling show can’t be entertaining, right?
I think a lot of people grew up watching wrestling during the “Attitude Era” in the late 90s – early 2000s, and as a result, they think anything less than that isn’t worth anything except their insults.
Two weeks ago I thought about writing this post, but I was unsure about going through with it. I didn’t think there was a point. Last Monday night, I watched a match between Kevin Owens, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, and a guy named Big Cass.
A lot of you have probably never heard of those names before, but that’s okay. That match was for the WWE Championship. The winner was predetermined. All of the major moments in the match were planned out. And all four guys don’t actually hate each other in real life.
It was one of the best wrestling matches/stories I’ve seen in a long time. I rewound it and watched the ending at least six times. Then I went on my computer and rewatched it again and again and again.
I don’t do that with sports or television shows. Only wrestling.
It was everything professional wrestling should be and fans were full of glee when it was all over. A fake/scripted/pre-determined athletic competition was incredible entertainment. Who knew?
That match made me feel confident in writing this post and sharing my passion, whether anyone reading this cares, or not. I just had to get it out. I’m not ashamed to admit it. I’m not embarrassed by it. A lot of people think I should be, but I’m not.
Many nights, before I fall asleep, I’ll go on YouTube and watch old wrestling matches or promos. I’ll look up wrestling content outside of the WWE and see how their style differs. It’s a world that deserves more credit than it receives.
People who call wrestling “fake”, or shame others for watching, are missing the point. I feel sorry for them because they’ll never allow themselves to understand why people enjoy it.
I don’t care what anyone else thinks. I’m proud to be a wrestling fan, even if I’m the only one in the room who raises their hand.
I love it.
It feels so good to finally say it.