Like some of you, I can remember wrestling being the "cool" thing to watch when I was younger. A lot of my friends would show up to school with t-shirts glorifying wrestlers like Stone Cold Steve Austin and the Undertaker. Even our class shirts featured a spin off of the NWO logo. I never really understood what the hype was all about, and to be honest, I still don't.
For the longest time I considered wrestling to be the tough man's soap opera, a rehearsed and overly dramatic spectacle with poor "actors". I never bothered to watch any matches long enough to know the different story lines surrounding all the characters. I could only handle so much of the machismo and over-the-toppedness that I thought was the mainstay of wrestling's entertainment value.
As a form of entertainment, how does the viewer classify wrestling? Is it appealing because one gets caught up in the episodic drama that the story lines provide? Or is it the "sport" of it that keeps people coming back for more? As someone who appreciates both the sense of competition and entertainment that sports foster I can't consider wrestling a true sport. With outcomes that have been preordained and no real criteria for becoming a champion (except maybe a bodybuilders physique and charisma) wrestling falls way short of being considered a serious sport. I mean, the combat's not even real. I'm not questioning the athleticism of the wrestler's themselves. I doubt the average person could waltz into a ring day in and day out and pull off the kinds of acrobatic feats these guys do.
If not entirely a drama with a multitude of characters nor solely a spectator sport, then perhaps pro wrestling is in a league of its own. It must be this middle road that wrestling has paved over the years that makes it so appealing and continues to draw a large audience. Even so, I wouldn't consider myself a part of pro wrestling's following; but who knows? Maybe I'll be a fan by the end of the semester.