Everyone's sharing their views on the AWA which is great, and I'll post my thoughts and observations on that later, but I just wanted to see what others' reactions were to the Gutowski reading. What caught my eye in it specifically was the manner in which it explored the relationship between professional wrestling and the media, which has been rather inconsistent to say the least. I just wanted to take a closer look at wrestling "low-brow" status and see where it is and isn't entirely justified.
This was also highlighted by the AWA documentary where there were interviews with ESPN. I thought it was bizarre when I was watching it, just because today, I think it would be almost insulting to ESPN "analysists/experts" to feature professional wrestling on one of their shows. I remember one time ESPN was writing about professional events and which events drew the most people ever, and WrestleMania III was in the top five of their list, I believe. Almost everyone seemed to be a fan back during that time era, and even those who know nothing about wrestling have at least heard of Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant, who headlined this show.
Instead of at least acknowledging the fact that this show was successful and is frequently considered the best WrestleMania to date, the ESPN "experts" tore into it and mocked it, like it was a joke. But then they turn around and feature poker as a sport in the next hour, which I suppose delves more into what some consider a sport - but I don't think it's that difficult to see that pro wrestling is just a tiny bit more of an athletic event than poker.
I know that many of the things showcased in the history of wrestling has added to the stereotype that it's a joke and doesn't involve athleticism, but then there were the matches like Dory Funk Jr and Jack Brisco to more modern bouts between say, Kurt Angle and Shawn Michaels from last year. It's a lot easier to overlook these kinds of matches and brush off wrestling as being something that will die on its own terms, but I just find it a little hypocritical that ESPN would do this and then turn around and feature poker or fishing or something to that extent.