Sunday, April 12, 2015

Yes I'm a Wrestling Fan and Proud Of It

Maybe we are extreme fans...
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
Listen to the podcast right here.

I was recently at a professional luncheon and the subject of this blog came up.  I didn't mention it because I was actually representing a different group at the event, but a friend of mine told the group that I'm a wrestling blogger.  I could actually hear gasps of amazement from others in attendance.  I think professional wrestling still gets a bad rap these days and I really don't understand why.

Courtesy: WWE
I get that wrestling isn't for everyone.  What I don't get is that almost every time I mention to a non-wrestling fan that I am one, their first response is "You know it's fake, right?"  My answer usually ranges from "It's not fake, it's pre-determined" to "You know that movie you watched last week isn't 'real', either, right?" 

Let's examine... I never one time in all the conversations I've had over the years about a show like Dexter said to the other person, "Dexter is fake.  He's not REALLY killing all those people."  Because it's entertainment.  These days, pro wrestling passes itself off as entertainment too.  Long ago Vince McMahon and others in the industry let the fans in on the reality of the business.  That doesn't mean it's fake though.  Fake to me implies it's not real and people don't get hurt.

I challenge anyone to find another form of entertainment that requires the athletic ability and staying power of  professional wrestling.  The men and women who step into the ring understand there's a huge risk.  Just a few weeks ago Mexican wrestler Perro Aguayo, Junior died during a mishap in the ring.  Owen Hart fell to his death in 1999 when an entrance stunt went wrong.  A wrestler named Droz has been paralyzed since an in-ring accident more than a decade ago.  Countless others have had broken bones, torn muscles and concussions as a result of a "fake" sport.

AJ Lee, Dolph Ziggler, Big E
Photo courtesy: WWE

Not only do wrestlers put their bodies on the line, they have to look good doing it.  Most professional wrestlers these days look like they've been chiseled out of granite.  They have amazing physiques and work hard not just on the days they're wrestling, but also getting into that kind of shape.  Plus, when you're with a company like WWE, wrestlers (Superstars and Divas) are on the road a lot.  If they're not in the ring, they're doing promotional work or speaking at an event or granting an ailing child's Make-a-Wish request.

The cage factor too
Photo courtesy: WWE
Also consider this, the NFL, MLB, NHL and NBA all have an off-season.  WWE does not.  They're live with original programming 52 weeks a year with the flagship show Monday Night Raw.  It's 3 hours of live TV each week.  There's also two hours of SmackDown! and an hour each of Main Event and NXT (done by different stars) on the WWE Network.  Wrestlers work injured.  I'm not saying that's a good thing, but I think it needs to be understood that the reality is while the outcomes are predetermined, the road to getting there is often a bumpy one.  It's not fake.  Wrestling does hurt.  I wonder how people would react if they knew I once had a match...

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