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The John Report: Why Do We Like Wrestling?

Why do you like wrestling? Ever been asked that question before by a loved one? Maybe it was somebody in your family or a close friend. They wonder why, even though you know it’s scripted and “fake,” you still watch that stuff. Ever come up with a really good answer other than, “I don’t know, I just like it.” Not the best answer, right? Fear not fellow wrestling fans, for I am here to try to provide answers to that question. At least I’ll give it my best effort and if I fail I’ll still give myself a Barry Horowitz-like pat on the back.

The first thing to think about is what drew you to the wrestling business in the first place. Chances are that you, like me, started watching as a kid. I’m not a psychologist or anything, but my belief is that when you see influential things as children they tend to resonate more with you as an adult than something you see when you’re 18 years old, for example. With pro wrestling, if your first experiences were as a child you’re going to remember the glory days. For me, that means Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, Roddy Piper, Randy Savage, Ted Dibiase, The Hart Foundation, Demolition and all the rest. Those are the people I think of. I don’t know if I can pinpoint one exact moment that shaped me as a fan other than Savage’s first World Title win at WrestleMania IV. I think it was my first live show that got me hooked, to be honest. My uncle took me, it was probably 1988 and I remember seeing Andre the Giant. Wow, I thought, that guy was huge. He was also probably drunk and he couldn’t move very much by then, but as a kid all you can really think about was his presence. Things like the quality of the match don’t matter as a kid. It’s all about the spectacle. I think moments like that, seeing Andre in person, won me over as a fan for the rest of my life.

The next question is, especially if you’re an adult, what makes you keep watching? Shouldn’t you know better by now? Haven’t you grown up yet? I’d like to think I have, but I’m still a fan and I’m in the process of figuring out why. There are a few factors that I think will help narrow that down for us.

The “What’s Next?” Factor – We all follow various things like professional sports or television shows. Some we like more than others. Some we even obsess over. What they have in common is that they have seasons. They’re on for a certain number of days in a year and then they are off. Pro wrestling? Doesn’t have that. They run every week. No time off. No chance to enjoy what you just saw because you’re always thinking about what’s next. On the one hand, it sucks because you only have a week or so to digest things when a favorite of yours wins a title. In sports, your team wins the title and you can brag about it for as long as seven months if you’re a fan of the NFL. In wrestling, we don’t have that. On the other hand, that’s what makes things interesting. As soon as somebody wins the WWE or World Title, the first question is: “when is he going to lose it?” Fair or not, that’s what we tend to ask. (It should be said too that an offseason for wrestling could help the lives of those in the business. Their bodies need rest. That’s another column for another time, though.)

The “Good vs. Evil” Factor – The basis of storytelling always tends to involve good vs. evil. Yes, sometimes there are layers to the stories that take us in different directions at times, but most stories tell the tale of good vs. evil. Pro wrestling is no different. In fact, it is all about good vs. evil. We may know the good ones as babyfaces and the bad ones as heels, but the premise is the same. From the time we’re little kids watching the business we’re basically told to cheer for the faces as they try to beat the heels. The lines rarely blur in pro wrestling. Of course there are transcendent storylines like the epic Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin feud that saw Bret go from face to heel while Austin went from heel to face despite not changing his demeanor too much. That’s what was so great about that. They told us the same story, but in a different way. A new star was born, the likes of which we’d never seen before and may never see again. In movies the good vs. evil phenomenon is usually there while the sports teams we root for are the good guys while everybody else is the bad guys (unless you have a wager on the game, that is). Neither of those mediums is as constant as pro wrestling, though. We are conditioned to know that good versus evil is the ultimate story in wrestling. Let’s not overthink this. Pro wrestling, in its simplest form, is about good conquering evil. And it always will be.

The Live Factor – I’ve been lucky in my life to have been able to attend a lot of sporting events in my life as well as a lot of pro wrestling events, specifically WWE. I’ve been to playoff games in the NBA, NHL, MLB, regular season NFL games and while they’re all good for various reasons I tend to enjoy myself more at WWE events. I already wrote about that first time seeing Andre in person being one of those special moments. As a teen and later an adult I attended many more events in my life, probably somewhere between 20-25 WWE events over the years. Sometimes my buddies and I hit three shows in three days, driving upwards of 10 hours in the opposite direction. It was fun. During the Attitude Era you didn’t worry about getting liquored up, chanting random things at random times (you’ve seen WWE shows in Canada, right?) and making an ass out of yourself. I even like non-television events even more than most TVs. Sure, you won’t get on TV with your sign, but at least you’ll get 2½ hours of in ring action. Live Raw’s and taped Smackdown’s are good too. The best to attend live are PPVs, though. Of course, all of those are subject to the quality of the show. I once sat second row for a Raw that had about 20 minutes of actual wrestling. Paying $70 to watch a video screen isn’t the best way to spend a night. With that said, I still enjoy the rush of the crowd, the random “Wooooo’s” when things get slow and also the hooting that goes when the ladies come out. Good times. If you’ve never seen a wrestling show live I recommend it. The best thing to do is to take a little one whether it’s a son or daughter, a sibling, a cousin, a nephew or niece. Take them, watch their face as they watch the action and try to remember when you liked it that much. I think you’ll have your answer right there as to why we like wrestling.

The Performers Factor – My last group of variables is the most important one. After all, where would we be as fans without the people that travel the world to see us? They’re the ones that turn us into the fans we are. We follow them through every twist, turn and bump because they are important to us. As kids we have our favorites based on the good guy/bad guy lines that rarely tend to blur. As adults – or smart fans in this case – we have our favorites based on characters, in-ring work and promo skills. The heel/face line isn’t as important as long as the performances are good. You know why WWE peaked from 1997 to 2002? Because characters like Steve Austin, The Rock, Mick Foley, Kurt Angle, Triple H and others resonated with us. We had never seen a good guy that was also a badass like Austin before. We had never seen somebody as creative as The Rock in terms of what he said. When you can relate to characters that are that good, you’re going to be drawn in to the show. You’re going to want to tune in week after week, month after month and year after year. Then, when those people move on, you keep watching because you hope you’ll be there to see the next one. Ask any wrestler past or present what the best part of being in the ring was/is? You know what they’ll say? Performing for the fans. You can’t get that rush from anything else. They live for that adrenaline rush and we love them for that. Most of the time. Remember when Eddie Guerrero won the World Title from Brock Lesnar at No Way Out 2004? Remember what you felt like when that happened? Notice what I said there. Remember what YOU felt. I’m not even talking about Eddie. I’m talking about you. You know why? Because when Eddie won that belt it felt like we won. We got to know the guy he was because they told us his story and we cheered him. When he died, we mourned him. We also remembered him with smiles because that’s what he put on our faces as fans. I could go on and on about the connection that we have as fans with the performers, but there’s no better example than the late, great Eddie Guerrero.

I feel like dedicating some space to some things I don’t like about the wrestling business because that’s only fair. I don’t like how there’s no union to take care of these wrestlers financially the way pro sports or many regular everyday jobs have unions. It’s hard life to begin with and once you get out of that spotlight it can lead to bad things. How many more wrestlers need to die in their 30s or 40s until that changes? I also don’t like the rampant drug use that exists in the business although I will applaud WWE for their Wellness Policy. My only wish is that it existed 30 years earlier because it could have prevented the loss of so many people. I can only hope and pray that one day there exists a time where we don’t have to read about another wrestling passing away by means that could have been prevented with the proper care.

Now that we’ve tackled some of the variables that shape us as fans (there are many more I could write about, believe me), let’s look at the question again: Why Do We Like Wrestling?

I think the best answer to is to say that we like it because we have an emotional attachment to the pro wrestling business. We truly care about it. We want it to succeed. We want hundreds of wrestlers to be employed and to make a lot of money. We want to help them get there. All we ask is that we get entertained in the process. “Help me help you.” (What am I, quoting Jerry Maguire now?) It can be caused by a number of things I mentioned above, or things I didn’t even think about mentioning, because to each of us we have our own personal feelings. I like the work in the ring more than anything, but you can’t tell a good story with that alone. You need to involve promos, characters and twists in the storylines. There’s a reason why some of us can remember match results from a random PPV from 1996 while we probably can’t remember the math problem we did at the same time. We didn’t care about that math problem like we did about wrestling. When you care about something, you tend to remember things and develop memories that will last you a lifetime.

The basic principle of pro wrestling fandom is this: If you understand how the matches work, how the characters develop and how they can bring the fans into it then you’re a fan. If you question why people are watching a “fake” event where nobody is supposed to get hurt then you’re never going to be a fan. The haters need to look past the exterior. They need to understand what pro wrestling is really about. It’s that connection between the performers to us, the fans. It’s that real sense of emotion that we can feel whether we’re in an arena or watching on a TV screen. When it’s great, there’s nothing better. When it’s bad, you hope things get better. Why? Because you care. Maybe we can’t define what made us care or how we ended up caring about the business so much, but all you know when you watch Raw, Smackdown, Impact, ROH or some random indy promotion is that you like what you’re watching. Maybe it’s the workrate, maybe it’s the promos, maybe it’s the characters, maybe it’s the storylines. You know what? It could be all of those things. It SHOULD be all of those things.

Pro wrestling is not “two dudes pretending to fight in their underwear” if you truly understand it. It’s an art form at its best. When you come to that realization you tend to appreciate it more. I think that’s what happens to us as “smart” fans who, unlike many fans pre-Internet, “get” what wrestling is supposed to be. I pity those people that make those bad jokes about how “he’s not really hitting him” because those same people are the ones that will spend $10 on a movie about vampires. That’s a story just like pro wrestling is. They’re not really vampires just like Stone Cold isn’t really hurting The Rock. The difference is one is on a screen while another is presented in a live action format in front of thousands of people. Pro wrestling is theatre. It’s theater just as much as Broadway is today or when the Ancient Greeks were doing it thousands of years ago. It’s not sport because sport is competition where the result is unknown, but it’s entertainment made to look like sport. Call it pro wrestling or even sports entertainment. Whatever you call it, the real fans know what it is.

Why do we like wrestling? We like wrestling because it’s an emotional roller coaster that takes our emotions on highs and lows on a regular basis. We like the characters that are created to make us the think. We like the performers that make us proud with their dedication. We like the fact that no matter what else is going on in our lives, we can cheer on our favorites while booing our villains. We like that, despite its intricacies, the story is easy to follow. The list goes on and on.

Why do we like wrestling? I think we know. It’s just that the answer isn’t that easy to figure out. Just like the wrestling business. There isn’t one thing that makes us like wrestling. There are many things. If you get it, you get it. If you don’t, you don’t. It’s as simple, or maybe as complicated, as that.

What do you think? Why do we like wrestling?

John Canton – oratoryjohn@gmail.com
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  1. January 11, 2010 at 12:31 PM | #1

    Bravo JC, bravo. We all laughed at this guy (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BvTNyKIGXiI), but I think we knew where he was coming from.

  2. Dan
    January 11, 2010 at 12:42 PM | #2

    Yeah I agree with a lot of your points, for me that “moment” was sitting at home watching a taped copy of the royal rumble in 2000 with the cactus/HHH street fight. For me that match had everything, I was only 14 then and seeing that sort of brutality “live” (on a video, but you get the point) was something i’d never experienced before. I missed the ECW bubble, and Mick Foley was the first person I saw really go that proverbial extra-mile. With that I bought his book, read about Japan/ECW/WCW/WWF and the lengths he was willing to go, and developed a real admiration for him as a person as well as the performer.

    So yeah that’s where my points going; I like to think i’m an educated fan, and with that education for me comes a real admiration for what these guys do. Sure some of them have the time of their lives doing it, but a heck of a lot don’t and those who have made it to the top have literally done it with hard work, the Foley story for me completely encapsulated that.

  3. kris Karcher
    January 11, 2010 at 12:42 PM | #3

    first off great article. i was really looking forward to this and you definitely delivered. adding in my two cents. my girlfriend always asks me this question. and i can never really explain it. i could let her read this entire article and she still wont get it. the truth is people that aren’t fans just never will get it. and I’ve learned to be OK with that. i used to try and convince people i was justified in watching it. but its just to hard. i stick to talking about wrestling with wrestling fans. and that’s not a bad thing. i could not be convinced into being a twilight. its just not something i like. just as my girlfriend will never like wrestling. I’ve tried for two years and while she has a better understanding she is not in love like i am. (she will only watch when batista or some other guy she has a crush on is wrestling). but like i said, it’s not a bad thing. it’s almost like we are in our own exclusive little club. and we have this amazing secret that no one else understands. i think i like it that way. its something all our own. it’s not a phenomenon that everybody likes. its an acquired taste. hah what’s your take on this john?

  4. Michael Ryne
    January 11, 2010 at 12:58 PM | #4

    I’ve been a wrestling fan since I was about 8 years old (11 years now) and I have never really been open about my love for it. I don’t have any friends who enjoy wrestling and they all would just say, ‘why do you watch sweaty dudes in underwear touching each other?’ That’s why your blog and Facebook profile have become such a fun place for me, I actually have somewhere where I can talk about wrestling with and expose my true inner fan.

    I loved this article, John…I agreed with all of it. I especially agreed with the idea that we emotionally connect with wrestlers. When I was younger, I used to sit on the edge of my seat watching a wrestling match with my favorite wrestlers in it, if they lost…I would be heartbroken. I was so into it. If they won, guaranteed I was jumping up and down and imitating my favorite wrestler with my replica belt. I don’t do that anymore, I’m more of a fan of the show itself. I can’t say I have favorite wrestlers anymore, if I had to pick one, I’d say CM Punk but he doesn’t match the admiration that I had for guys like Sting in WCW and The Hardy Boyz in WWF/E. It’s like what I read earlier today in one of your old posts, sometimes I wish I was still a mark…sometimes.

    All in all, if I had to choose one exact reason why I still watch wrestling…I couldn’t. One of the biggest contributors to me still watching it is probably your blog and Facebook profile. I like being able to read the articles and having already watched it and also love being a part of commentfest. But is there anything that WWE and TNA do specifically that keep me watching? I honestly don’t know. I plan on watching the next couple weeks of Raw/Smackdown/Impact and not just watching for entertainment, but also figuring out what exactly keeps me tuning in every week.

  5. Cap Hill
    January 11, 2010 at 1:07 PM | #5

    great column man…. you’ve found a way to answer what has been the unanswerable question for us fans since forever

  6. Nuperman
    January 11, 2010 at 1:10 PM | #6

    Excellent article as usual JC. I over the years have found it difficult to explain truly why I like wrestling. I used to be into it early 90s then stopped watching as I didn’t have the channels. Got back into it in 1997 and still occasionally watch what I can online and follow it through The Oratory.
    The hatred never understand it because they don’t allow themselves to get engaged and have to remembers it’s fake. I just tell them it’s storytelling like any soap opera and to watch the athleticism. I have some great memories of it an example when Jericho had the ‘take me seriously’ promo with The Rock and countless others. In fact it’s better because you relate to the person and go through their emotions with them. I remember watching WMXX with my dad who usually hates that sort of thing and even he was wanting Benoit to win the title.
    Anyway it was a good read and I look forward to future articles.

    Peace

    Nuperman

  7. Edswoggle
    January 11, 2010 at 1:20 PM | #7

    That was very good read, John- I even teared up a bit…I’d give you a standing ovation, nut what’s the point, because you can’t see me- SEE? Your article is so good, it has me quoting John Cena lol.

    By the way, I’m going to use that $10 on a vampire movie part as my FB status- crediting you, of course.

  8. Wes
    January 11, 2010 at 2:15 PM | #8

    Excellent read sir. Well said in all aspects of the business. I wanted to share my “moment if you will. I’ve been a wrestling fan since I was five years old, and I must say I never thought my moment would come. That is until Jeff Hardy won the WWE title from Edge in a triple threat match. I literally cried. I had never been happier for a performer in my life. Just wanted to share that. Keep doing what you do, cause you do it very well.

  9. Jay
    January 11, 2010 at 2:19 PM | #9

    Good article. I have been a fan for more than 30 years, and I still can’t put my finger on why I love it. You hit on many reasons. Here are a few more.

    I would add that pro wrestling is a soap opera for men. We watch for the same reason that women watch soap operas.

    Wrestling offers us an escape from reality. For a few hours each week we can shut off the reality of life and immerse ourselves in an elaborate fantasy world that in many ways appeals to our purient interests. (Plus, an explanation I tell my highly educated friends that no matter what curve ball life has thrown at me, I can watch someone being hit over the head by a chair and I know that my life really isn’t that bad.)

    Being a fan is being a part of a secret society. Take a look at Fight Club and you will see how being a member of fight club is like being a member of the wrestling fraternity. (Although the inner circle of fight club were/are old ECW lovers.) Wrestling is not something you can discuss in polite society but all of you know that you nod to other fans when non fans turn away.

    We all like atheletic competition. I am still in awe of what great performers can do. (See Sabu)

    We live vicariously through our favorite performers. They are able to do the things that we would like to do in life but know we would end up in prison or on the unemployment line. (See Steve Austin or my favorite, The Nature Boy Ric Flair)

    Most “real” wrestling fans tend to have above average intelligence and have introverted tendancies. (Dumb extroverts are almost always bandwagon fans.)

  10. January 11, 2010 at 2:29 PM | #10

    The main point I always use when people insist that it’s boring or that it’s not real etc etc is that it’s like a soap opera, with the added “sporting”, athletic element thrown in to top it all off.

    One of our UK soaps is currently on the telly as I’m typing this, Hollyoaks it’s called. A bit like Neighbours and Home & Away if you’re familiar with those shows. Why do people watch this? Why do people get upset when their favourite character is down in the dumps, out of a job, their love life crumbling around them? They’re emotionally invested. Like we are as Wrestling fans.

    When our favourite star is screwed out of a title opportunity, we’re angry. When they win that No.1 Contender’s Match with a roll-up to pull off a shock victory, we bounce around the room like they bounce around the ring. They draw us in with their personalities & their back-story, much like people in soap operas do. With wrestling, we have that added benefit of them telling that story while competing in the ring to not only win our affection and support, but to climb the mountain to become the best in the world at what they do. Wink, wink.

  11. Aaron
    January 11, 2010 at 2:32 PM | #11

    “Pro wrestling is not “two dudes pretending to fight in their underwear” if you truly understand it….”

    This is the paragraph that would be easiest for me to repeat verbatim to a non-wrestling fan, or more importantly, someone who would look down on the industry as just being “fake”. I remember the A&E special the Untold story of professional wrestling (which was loaded with inauccravies, I know). But a historian used the argument that calling wrestling “fake” is calling ti something it’s not intended to be. We wouldn’t call a William Shakesphere play “fake” as that’s not what it’s intended to be. It’s theatre, one in the same. The root word is ENTERTAINMENT. Thirll me, surprise me, disappoint me, but leave me coming back for me. ENTERTIAN me.

    It’s not for every one, nothing is. I can’t stand the Titanic and my girlfriend hated Avatar, the two highest grossing films of all time… that should tell you right there that wrestling is not for everyone. But I would hope that one day society can wake up and realize that it just isn’t for them as opposed to calling it “fake” and looking down upon it.

    Great article John, enjoyed it very much…

    and of course to summerize “IT’S STILL REAL TO ME, DAMNIT!”… love that guy.

  12. Dave K.
    January 11, 2010 at 2:35 PM | #12

    You couldn’t be more right about this John. The good vs. evil part is my favorate, and I have to go back to Wrestlemania 25 to give my two cents on this. It was the second Wrestlemania I watched with both my Dad and my little sister. We represented three levels of fans, my dad being the outsider not knowing much about the characters or storylines, my sister being an on and off fan, knowing the characters, but not the stories, and me, the “smart” fan, believing I know a ton about it all. We sat there and watched HBK vs. Taker, and I didn’t have to explain anything to either of them. It was a story they told in the ring, something about just feeling like two legends were going head to head in an epic battle that you didn’t know how was going to end. Great bonding moment for us, and thus is why I love wrestling.

  13. Aaron
    January 11, 2010 at 2:47 PM | #13

    To add as others have indicated their “moment”.. I’ve had more than one I’d think, and that’s why I love to watch.

    As a kid, I saw Holk Hogan against Kamala in a steel cage. I saw blood, and got to cheer, it was an experience I won’t forget. My first bounce off the wall moment was Wrestlemania VI, when Hogan LOST. I was a little Warrior no doubt, but Hogan losing at Wrestlemania had me dropping my jaw… as a ten year old, that was sweet.

    Other moments came from live events, and during the attitude era, the best show I went to, Smackdown in Baltimore. I came equipped with my signs, and remember having great seat where we were eye level with the wrestlers as they entered on stage. I came equipped with my signs (One that said “Recognize D’Lo , and the flip side of “Happy B-Day Y2J” <Yes the taping was on hsi B-Day, and I felt like a smart mark in the arena) D'Lo coming down the ramp (yeah he was being jobbed out at this time, post Euro-continental time) took an extra long look at my sign.. probably couldn't believe someone had a sign for him.. and Jericho coming out (didn't wrestle that night, but cut an on stage promo) where he posed on the stage and aknowledged me with a point and a head nod. Just too cool.

    Other moments for sure was seeing Nash powerbomb Bischoff through a table at the GAB in '96.. and Austin turning heel on the Rock and Wrestlemania 17.. Benoit winning his title at XX and the embrace from Eddie.. Mysterio Jr winning the Rumble (not so much his title win), and RVD vs. Cena at ONS in 2006.. I admire so much about the guys in this business and the marks they leave on us fans..

    Oh I forgot as a youngster going to an autograph signing where Nikoli Volkoff was the 'big name' and no showed. But meeting a then unknown Axl Rotten who was without a doubt the nicest guy I had met in wrestling. Not being well know, but I did have a vague knowing of him (pre ECW), he took time to talk to me, a 14 year old kid, wear his then Tag Team title (of what promotion, I dunno), take a picture and sign an autograph, and really seemed to appreciate talking with me. Another out of ring, cool experience.

    I don't think I could point to one moment.. I have my favorites, I have my guys I prefer not to succeed, but admire them all for what they bring to the table… even the titty dancer…

  14. January 11, 2010 at 2:48 PM | #14

    “I pity those people that make those bad jokes about how “he’s not really hitting him” because those same people are the ones that will spend $10 on a movie about vampires.” Great line, great work as usual. Why do I like wrestling? It really started when I was 5 yrs old and my dad used to wake me up at 11:30 pm to watch Hulk Hogan on Saturday Night’s Main Event. I remember how mad my mom used to get that he would wake me up and it was something new to a 5 yr old to be up that late. I was hooked from there.

  15. Anonymous
    January 11, 2010 at 4:48 PM | #15

    Great column John.
    I think you’re right in mentioning that over time we become emotionally invested in wrestling, it’s not something we can just switch off even though we may want to at times (coughcough Hornswoggle cough).
    I’ve been a fan since I was 10 when a friend showed me an Ultimate Warrior video in 1990 (shameful to admit now, I know). And recently I was thinking about how easily we romanticize our childhood. We loved things with a real sense of purity. The world was better and safer. And in hindsight it’s easy to say I miss THAT world, I miss the TV shows, I miss the WWF, I miss my family life back then, but really what I think I mean is that I miss my youth, period.
    Could it be that when we became fans way back then we created this emotional connection, and our love for wrestling never really goes away because of how much we miss being kids, and being able to watch something like wrestling whilst completely devoid of cynicism, or responsibility, or adulthood?
    Just thinking out loud… but your column has definitely clarified for me a lot of the things I’ve always wanted to articulate to others about why wrestling isn’t ‘dumb’.
    Keep up the good work my man.

  16. Jay
    January 11, 2010 at 4:56 PM | #16

    I just noticed Nord the Barbarian in the banner. Nice touch.

    Also, if anyone has an answer to why the big wigs think fans are captivated by midgets, I would like to know the answer. (They do seem to have a point. I find myself paying attention when they appear on tv.)

    • Aaron
      January 11, 2010 at 5:12 PM | #17

      I actually remember as a kid (I’m 29 years old now) renting VHS tapes from my video store (A lot of the Best of WWF Volume XX, etc) which were all distributed through Coliseum home video. I remember, EVEN AS A KID, that I hated the midgits. It made me think briefly that I could be a wrestler and wrestle against Big John Studd or King Kong Bundy if I had Andre in my corner.. But it was ever so brief (I’m putting myself at the 5/6 year old age). I really never liked those things even as a kid, but I guess some kids like the little bastards.

      … Maybe without little McMahons we’d still have our TV-14 product. Though, the PG rating is a miniscule part of the problenm.

  17. countessplaten
    January 11, 2010 at 7:45 PM | #18

    My friends would always ask me this question and sometimes I can’t exactly tell them why I like it. People usually found it weird and would always tell me it’s “fake”. I actaully get offended when they that, ’cause it’s not. You’re right, John, it’s an art form in it’s purest form. People who don’t get it should just mind their own business.

    Personally, I like wrestling because it’s something unpredictable. I mean just when you think that you know how the story will end, it goes somewhere you don’t expect it. I’ve been watching wrestling since I was four. I see no signs that I’m getting bored (frustrated, yes. Bored, no)wih the sport.

  18. Kane
    January 11, 2010 at 11:08 PM | #19

    What a pointless navel gazing article that achieves nothing. You like wrestling because you do.

    No other justification necessary, the interminable analysis serves only to hi-light your own fears and insecurities that wrestling is really for children and that you are wasting your life watching/writing about it. I don’t think you are by the way (well watching it anyway, not sure about writing about it).

    Some people read books, some cook, some watch soap operas and some even go outside and do some exercise, but none of them feel the need to justify what they are doing either to themselves or others. And why only publish it on a blog which only wrestling fans read, surely that is preaching to the converted?

    If your aim is to convince people of how good wrestling is then you are in the wrong place. It’s the equivilent of turning up at a Republican Party rally and asking them all to vote Republican and then patting yourself on the back when they do!

    Unless you have access to a wider audience then please, no more articles like this as they do nothing except perpetuate the myth that wrestling fans are an introspective geeky cult, perhaps a level above Star Trek fans in their obsessiveness, but only one level. If you are writing solely for wrestling fans then please write about the past, present and future of the business covering areas which may not be apparent to armchair fans. That is where a columist like yourself is at his most useful and most interesting, justify your life on your own time, not on ours.

    • January 11, 2010 at 11:58 PM | #20

      I don’t have any problem with this feedback. It’s constructive criticism. You didn’t like the column? Cool. I’m glad you explained yourself. I see your points and I’ll keep them in mind. I honestly didn’t know how people would react to it. My purpose in writing this was to remind the readers why they became fans in the first place and what keeps them going. Raw’s not a good show on a consistent basis and I see week after week how people question why they watch it. That’s why I wrote this more than anything.

      I appreciate the compliments at the end. My point of view is that it gets pretty boring and repetitive reviewing Raw & SD every week. I need to change it up with a regular column once in a while in order to keep myself from going crazy. It’s cool. I’ve got no beef with constructive criticism. That’s what makes you a better writer in the long run.

      • Kane
        January 12, 2010 at 12:19 AM | #21

        Well I am having a bad day, so some of my points went a bit over the top for effect and because I am in a bad mood.

        However I still stand by my general point that I don’t think wrestling fans need to justify why they like wrestling and certainly don’t need to to eachother. Of course you like wrestling, you’re reading a wrestling blog.

        I do like the blog generally, otherwise why would I be here? Although I don’t see much backing for the Big Red Machine! Sort it out.

        Michael – I realise everyone else who commented loved the article, although it doesn’t mean I have to. Obviously John didn’t waste your time, but I thought that perhaps he wasted his own as obviously a lot of effort had gone into it.

        • Michael Ryne
          January 12, 2010 at 1:57 AM | #22

          I’m not an asshole troll or anything, so I can say that I probably overreacted as well. I obviously took what you said out of context so I can own up to that. Also, I do not think that just because every one else liked the article doesn’t mean you have to as well. Every one has their opinion and all are welcome of course!

  19. Michael Ryne
    January 11, 2010 at 11:30 PM | #23

    Wow, Kane, I can’t even begin to state how much your comment pissed me off. Stop talking as if you represent all of the readers of this blog, because judging by the rest of the comments, you clearly don’t.

    John, don’t listen to idiots like him, continue writing what your heart desires. I’m sure you know this but, don’t let people like him influence you as a writer. This was a great article.

  20. Adam Bomb
    January 11, 2010 at 11:59 PM | #24

    I dont have an arguement or reasoning for all aspects of why I like or watch wrestling.

    It is my dream to be a pro wrestler, not just a wrestler but a multi time heavyweight champion for the WWE. Ive done a small amount of MMA and it’s fun but its not my thing. I like MMA but I like pro wrestling even more. And you can imagine the reactions I get from fellow MMA combatants/fans when I make that known. The fake argument pisses me off to no end, especialy when it comes to MMA fans saying that. How many times has Brock Lesnar had to fight in the last year? How much training does he do? I dont know but I think its obvious that the answer is nowhere near as much as Brock did the things he did in WWE. Sure its predetermined, Sure the wrestlers are trained to not make full contact and land moves in a certain way. But you cant deny this, there is a reason why allot of those wrestlers end up hooked on pain killers, alcohol and things like that, its not because they are looking for a fun time. In MMA you train for a fight, you have your fight and then your off, you arent fighting again next week, and the week after, and the week after. sure you are training constantly if you want to be someone in MMA, lifting, working out, etc. but you arent constantly beating the crap out of yourself. So as far as I’m concerned the fake argument is complete shit. Being a wrestler is a much harder life than MMA.

    The other thing about it when I talk to someone who doesnt know shit about what goes on backstage or in the real life of a wrestler/mixed martial artist, you know a common person. When they bring up the realism of wrestling and ask why I still watch. My response is quite simple, Do you like (insert random show/movie/game)? when they say yeah I love that shit, I say Why? It’s fake, A hell of a lot more fake than wrestling has ever been. Do you think Will Smith hunts aliens in real life? So why do you like his movies? Its entertainment. simple as that, Its entertainment and I find it entertaining. My mother is obsessed with Soaps and she has the nerve to complain about wrestling being fake, any time she watches with me thats all I hear, this is all fake why do you watch it. pfft this is stupid he didnt realy hit him. I love my mother but I want to punch her in the fucking teeth when she says moronic shit like that. So when she watches soaps and Im around I say the same shit. pfft, you know shes not realy sleeping with him right? This is fake, why do you like this crap? Did he just save money on his car insurance by switching to geico? Hell even the acting is better on WWE than any soap I have ever seen.

  21. Michael Ryne
    January 12, 2010 at 12:00 AM | #25

    I understand that any feedback is good as a writer, yes. But I was just annoyed by the whole notion of you are just wasting our time when you decide to branch off and write something a little bit differently.

  22. Bradical Jones
    January 12, 2010 at 2:10 AM | #26

    Excellent article. It’s good to know that I’m not the only one out there that has to deal with the “two dudes touching each other in their underwear” comment. “An art from at it’s best”. That is a unique way to look at it. Thanks for that too, you just gave me some new ammunition to throw at the haters. I think deep down, everybody loves wrestling, it’s just “cooler” to not like it. Oh it’s fine to cheer for Optimus Prime beatin’ up Megatron, or feel bad ’cause Edward and Bella broke up, but it’s stupid to count along with a ref and gasp when he doesn’t get to three? So I still have a passion for wrestling, arrest me. I love wrestling and if you’re not down with that, I got two words for ya…

    Once again, great article. Keep fightin’ the good fight!

  23. swanni
    January 12, 2010 at 2:44 AM | #27

    John can you clarify one issue for me. When you say wrestling are you reffering to the sports entertainment aspect only?

    If so should the title not have read differently?

  24. Mike B
    January 12, 2010 at 5:39 AM | #28

    Great article JC. I have to add that my ‘moment’ was watching the British Bulldog beat Bret Hart at Wembeley stadium at Summerfest, sorry, Summerslam on tv. As a kid, it blew me away.

    • January 12, 2010 at 7:44 PM | #29

      That was mine too! SS ’92 was the first PPV I ever saw. The whole card was great, but Bret/Davey Boy was just an amazing match. So was Bret/Owen Wrestlemania X or Owen/Davey Boy in the finals for the European title.

      The first year of Raw – it was so innovative and unique – and late 90′s Raw – when the Monday Night Wars were at their height. Who can forget Mick Foley’s “Rock, This is Your Life” or the D-X Nation Spoof or when Steve Austin attacked Vince in the hospital – beat him with a bedpan. It was the craziest thing. And when Mick won his first WWF world title – that was awesome.

      I just loved Philly-style, old school ECW. Nothing was/is quite like it. And late 70′s/early 80′s NWA – classic!

      Other great moments – Meeting Owen Hart. Going to my first live card in Dec 1992. Going to Wrestlemania XV and the King of the Ring ’95.

  25. MJ
    January 12, 2010 at 6:39 AM | #30

    Really good article John, I enjoyed readig it, and really made me think about it. A well known saying over here in the UK is(and before you say you’re canadian, they tend to include canada in the ‘America’ bracket) “America; where they believe the moon landings were fake but wrestling is real.” I’ve had that quoted to me a number of times by friends who question why I watch wrestling. And to be honest that does sometimes make me question myself. Not in a way thats like ‘should I really be watching this still,’ but in a more philisophical way.

    For me, this article was you answering that question you’d asked yourself, and what I expect a lot of other people have asked themselves. And because of that it is very interesting.

    Pro wrestling to me is one of the biggest myths(probably not the best way to describe it) Only the fans know what its really about. and how it works etc. It really is like a club with a big secret At the end of the day its just like soap operas. I’ve turned round to people before and give arguments against them watching soap operas, along the same lines as they give against pro wrestling For some reason they just don’t see it like that.

    What keeps me as a fan though, is that I do see it like that. Although results may be predetermined, we still don’t know what they are. It is an art form. I always say to people, what makes a good wrestler os how well they can put together a match in the ring, as another thing people think is that all matches are coreographed and rehearsed. Thats what annoys me. But I understand what is going on, and I have an emotional connection with those entertaining us, and a hell of a respect for what they put themselves through to do it.

  26. J
    January 12, 2010 at 7:01 AM | #31

    Just reading the column brought back a flood of memories of all the fantastic moments we’ve all been lucky to witness.

  27. Darrell
    January 12, 2010 at 10:12 AM | #32

    Dude. You said Barry Horowitz.

  28. michael cole
    January 13, 2010 at 1:32 AM | #33

    I like it because everything is so vintage

  29. EnSabahNur
    January 13, 2010 at 2:00 AM | #34

    Interesting article JC, I must say that i appreciate your insight of the business formerly known as “rasslin.” I am old enough to remember when wwf/wwe wasn’t the only game in town. My favorite wrestling moment was from the mid 80′s during what i believe was a “clash of the champions” program, or some other televised bout “im in my mid 30′s okay ive forgotten alot of details, nevertheless Nikita Koloff who was a face then vs Ric Flair in a steel cage and they fought to a 60min draw with Koloff thinking he had won and walked out with the title (boy you just wanted anyone to take that belt from Flair in those days)! I miss the old NWA, i just miss the good old days of competiton, and not being geared towards kids. I really hope that TNA’s new direction will be successful and that WWE will in turn step its game up, because that is what the art, sport, business, etc; needs. Sadly it has become more about the show so pure workers who cant talk wont get much of a shot. Today’s wrestlers have to be as entertaining as they are good in the ring, or in some cases just look the part. I wont get on that soapbox though, JC keep up the good work (and did you say BARRY HOROWITZ)?

  30. Ralph
    January 14, 2010 at 3:43 AM | #35

    John that was a pretty good article. Wrestling is what it is like all other things in life – some love it, some hate it and many choose to ridicule it because they know no better or afraid to believe they can like it. I’ve been watching for 35 years. I’ve been hooked ever since the Bob Backlund title reign. It was a group of 3 that followed in my household my younger brother, myself and my deceased Grandpa. Those are times I will not forget. Many tried to tell my Grandpa that it was fake but he would not have any of that. His favorite was Randy Macho Man Savage. I can still remember him cranking out the voice. Wrestling will always take me back to my childhood or better yet simpler times. When it was school and watching the WWF on Sunday evenings on channel 9 in NY/NJ. Then in the summertime Gordon Solie on Florida wrestling with Dusty Rhodes,Billy Jack and the rest of that great promotion on late Monday nights like 11:30 PM. Or getting up early on Tuesday morning like 6:30 AM to see the Texas wrestling on the Cablevision cable box that if you synched it up just right you might be able to see the monthly Monday night pay per view from Madison Square Garden.

    Wrestling to me will always be those times and moments like Hulk slamming Andre, Warrior upsetting the Hulk like Tyson getting knocked out in Tokyo, Superfly Snuka off the steel cage, Superfly getting whacked by Piper with the coconut, Rock’s B’day celebration, the RAW the night after Owen passed tragically ( which was the night my son was born ), the Eddie Guerrero tribute, the 9/11 Smackdown episode, Benoit’s championship win, the Lesnar/Big Show collapsing ring moment, Stone Cold and the Zambonie, Undertaker/Shawn Michaels matches, the Four Horsemen versus Ricky Steamboat and his boys feuds and JJ Dillon ending up in ladies garment, the Billy Jack Masterlock,etc.

    I could go on for miles but I’m sure you get the point. Wrestling has been like in a nutshell. It’s entertainment but so much more and for that I will always be a follower no matter what the naysayers have to say!!

  31. May 12, 2013 at 7:19 PM | #36

    I’m really enjoying the design and layout of your site. It’s a
    very easy on the eyes which makes it much more pleasant for me to come here and
    visit more often. Did you hire out a designer to create
    your theme? Exceptional work!

  32. Papa
    September 6, 2013 at 12:16 PM | #37

    we don’t.

  1. January 12, 2010 at 1:52 AM | #1

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