I was totally awestuck by the mexican masked wrestlers' performance we saw on wednesday night. The format was so different from american wrestling-- it was super-acrobatic, choreographed with an impossible precision, and performed cleanly and with a breakneck pace. I'm really suprised that these wrestlers were consistently the undercard, and that the audience seemed less engaged with their incredible physicality. They were just SO good at what they were doing, and what they were doing seemed to be on a different level of physical criteria than the often slow-moving, power-move-wielding american wrestlers.
What was notably absent from the mexican wrestlers was the drama, the grimaces, the sweat, the blood. Neither wrestler made any dramatic twitches of pain; the struggles to get back up were short and largely without the elaborate performance that we see from the WWF stars at the time. Just the fact that they are masked changes the dramatic format completely. There is no person represented, just the character embodied by the costume.
So, I guess this just compounds the point that we've been discussing all along, that the success of pro wrestling is largely dependent on it's soap opera dramatics; that fans tune in for the story and the personality as much as the athletics. The athletics become the medium for all that drama, and therefore are integral, but first and foremost the entertainment is coming from the performance of personalities.