Perhaps the sight of huge men in tights beating eachother within a squared circle doesn’t hold much appeal to a lot of people. Then again, there are others who pay good money to watch these huge, agile blocks of muscle perform numerous maneuvers, often involving the use of chairs, tables, ladders and other makeshift weapons, for the chance to sling a ridiculously large and shiny gold belt over their shoulder and proclaim themselves the champion.
Not many people can appreciate professional wrestling for what it really is. Yes, there’s choreographed violence, yes, most of it is fake. Not the bumps these athletes take, but the extent of their injuries and the manner in which they are delivered.
And if my use of the word athlete is offensive to those believing the term to only be accurate for mainstream competition sports or amateur wrestlers, rest assured, I am not using it lightly. I’m applying the term with full knowledge that these professionals display a number of characteristics that more than qualify them to be called exactly that. They follow a rigorous training program to keep their bodies in top condition. They practice for hours on end to be able to give it their all on the big day, 365 days a year. The fight for championships, wins, accolades. They can bounce and kick and perform stunts like the best of them, taking a beating day in and day out and showing up for a fight the next day. They put their bodies on the line and often suffer serious injuries as a result. They are dedicated and fierce, and they don’t mess around.
And if you’re still not sold on how real or fake these stunts are, just try and give it a shot. I wouldn’t advise whacking your coworkers over the head with a steel chair or anything that drastic, but just give a few of the submission holds a try; maybe fall on a hard surface and see how fast you bounce back. My -still healing- broken leg doesn’t permit me such activities, and even the company itself makes sure the viewer does not try this at home, but, from where I stand, it takes serious strength, muscle, training, stamina and resilience to withstand all that violence, choreographed or not.
On top of their athletic ability, they are well rounded performers – at least the big stars are. They can hold their own with a mic in front of a crowd numbering tens of thousands, they can act, some of them can even sing and dance. They’re athletes, but they’re also entertainers. They offer spectacle, excitement, drama. They offer a vicarious outlet to the viewer’s aggression, and god knows most of us need one from time to time.
And there’s some real hotties in the bunch. Gone are the days of the mullet-sporting hicks with body hair and flamboyant costumes (okay, so maybe some of the costumes are still reeking of 80’s kitch). Now we get clean-cut, handsome hunks of muscle with mic skills are well as in-ring abilities. The whole package, delivered to your screen twice a week.
I Iove me some men in tights is all I’m sayin’.