Fake but entertaining
I first started watching World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) when I was around 12. Then it was known as the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). I was very much taken in by the professional wrestlers at the time. Hulk Hogan was my favorite and I was very much taken in by Hulkamania.
I was later on disappointed when I learned that all of it that I saw was part of an act. It was all a fake. It was tough to accept that the people whom I considered to be heroes were actually playing out their role from a script. I was angry with the whole concept for some time.
But after a few years I found that when I watched the WWE I was actually loving the soap operaish build up to any big ‘fights’. Even though I knew that the matches were fixed I started following the show on TV mainly to see how the story lines would develop, what all plot angles would be explored and especially the theatrics that WWE’s ‘Superstars’ would put on.
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However I also realized that not everything involved in it was fake. Some times the contestants were rivals in real life as well like Shaw Michaels and Bret Hart. Some time screwjobs too are real like the ‘Montreal Screwjob’ by Vince McMahon on Bret Hart.But above all the risks these guys take are also real. You can’t fake a fall from the top of a big 12 ft cage and not have some impact on your body. Sometimes you can only hope that everything would go to plan with some of the stunts that these guys try to pull off. The best example of this being the accidental death of Owen Hart while trying to perform a stunt. The injuries these guys suffer and the torture they put their bodies through are as real as anything else. You have to respect their courage regardless of their intelligence.
The main reason why people like to watch it is because it’s the male version of a soap opera. You have artificial drama, intrigue, treachery and what not. Almost everything that you can find in a soap opera is present in the WWE wrapped in testosterone pumping alpha male combats, albeit staged. It’s brash and profanity laden dialogues are something which you don’t get to hear everyday.
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People who watch professional wrestling are not all idiots. Everyone knows that what they are watching is a fake and the matches pre-determined. But they suspend their belief for some time just like they would when watching a movie about Aliens or Godzilla. They take it as just another form of entertainment. They don’t follow it for the records, because the records are as artificial as the sport they are involved in. They don’t follow it for the excitement of the fight because real fight never lasts as long. They watch for the story line.
Take the latest Wrestlemania 23 for example. People go to watch if Vince McMahon would get his hair shaven by Donald Trump. They go to see if the Undertaker can defend his Wrestlemania record (again a contrived and manipulated one) of 14-0. They go to see if Shawn Michaels can overcome John Cena and become a champion once again.
Yes the wrestling fans know it’s fake. Some may even question their sanity or their maturity in watching these. But my point is who cares. It’s just another form of entertainment. Take a look at the ratings and you will know for sure that it is entertaining to many. Enjoy it as if you would enjoy any action movie. As for violence, I have seen more violence in movies like ‘Saw’ than in the WWE.
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- WWE - Fake but Entertaining