And there I was - a young 14 year old boy watching two grown hairy men bash each other with an assortment of chairs, ladders and tables whilst grappling each other in awkward holds. As my eyes glued to the TV, such profound violence infused with enticing storylines kept my weekly Monday night viewership. In a sweaty contest to see one man triumph, I now had a quick introduction into the world of professional wrestling.
As a teenager, I thrived on watching such raw emotion conveyed in the form of ‘entertainment’. I would often mimic my hero’s wrestling moves, which got me into plenty of trouble. “Put your brother down!”, bellows my mother from the kitchen on a cold night of 2013, as I prepare to choke-slam him through the living room settee. You see, my mother didn’t quite grasp the fact I was play fighting and not being a bully. At one point, to my astonishment, she even banned me from watching WWE shows as a result of its bloodshed.
Was it making me a violent person? Potentially. Did my brother’s physical and mental welfare improve? Probably. Was I entertained at the end of the day? Definitely. But, now reflecting, I can see my mother had a point. To the common viewer, it’s just a bunch of nonsense brutality; and to the radicalists - human cock fighting. I set off on my quest to prove otherwise…
Pro wrestling fans realise that the WWE shows are essentially one massive production, similar to that seen in Broadway and theatres, with a roster of wrestlers mirroring your favourite actors and actresses. Although it may be a hard pill to swallow, WWE is scripted with many different storylines reasoning why certain wrestlers are feuding which would ultimately climax in Pay-per-view shows such as ‘Wrestlemania’ or ‘The Royal Rumble’. Usually, when two wrestlers are feuding, one is known as the ‘face’ (good guy) and the other is known as the ‘heel’ (bad guy).
What the casual onlooker doesn’t realise is that WWE genuinely teaches you how to speak on a microphone to a large audience, in trying to convey a certain message. As the characters go back and forth, we are divided on who to believe as the stories become engaging. It’s like EastEnders, only with conflict resolution through steel cage fights.
However, WWE provides a narrative where those unsuccessful in conveying themselves logically to the audience will ultimately be shunned and provides a greater message of staying calm during heated moments. Overall, those able to calmly present their side of the story will be victorious in the end, as they win the hearts of the audience.
Furthermore, I believe that professional wrestling has given fans an ability to freely express themselves through strong articulation. As young fans watch WWE, they start to mimic their favourite wrestlers - such as Stone Cold Steve Austin or The Rock - tell other people why they believe they are the best in the industry. The expression of confidence is then translated into a healthy competitive nature for other sports, and life in general, which I believe is important in staying productive.
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