After reading Jim Freedman's Drawing Heat, I have a better understanding of the reality of wrestling. It made me look past the large-scale, glamorous WWE performances and into small traveling wrestling shows.
It seems like the wrestling performances were much more primitive. I didn't realize that such small performances existed. It seemed more like a circus act in the way they promoted and traveled from city to city. The wrestlers and promoters, like Wildman, were just trying to survive. They had a pretty stable fan-base and knew that they could make a living wrestling. How well they lived, however, depended on how much they put in to making their shows successful.
In Drawing Heat, Freedman recalls Wildman complaining about Verne Gagne keeping him out of Winnipeg and how he could never compete with his show. I found this funny because we learned about the territories in wrestling during the 1950's-80's not too long ago. The way that Verne didn't give Wildman a chance reminded me of Vince Jr. not giving Verne and all the other promoters a chance. Their stories always ended with the big guy, Vince Jr and the WWE, coming in and overtaking the territorial promotions.
The piece really emphasized how important the fans are. They are just as much of the performance as the wrestlers. Without the loyal fan-base, wrestling wouldn't be able to survive. The title of the piece, Drawing Heat, refers to the fans and how the purpose of every wrestler is to draw some kind of response and interest from the audience. Ultimately, the more the wrestler shows his love to wrestle and perform, the more heat will be drawn from fans.