Monday, September 8, 2014

9/7/2014 Post for History of Pro Wrestling

As I was reading the book, "Inside Out," by Ole Anderson with Scott Teal, I found a particular story interesting. In Chapter 3, the author gives an account on how he got into Pro Wrestling. It was so intriguing because he got asked by someone at the gym to give Pro Wrestling a chance. As he began to get into it, he believed that Pro Wrestling was still real because their "practice," or I see it as initiation, was so intense and painful. During this time, they had actual wrestling or shoots. This is so interesting to me because he got involved with Pro Wrestling without knowing really anything about Pro Wrestling. He didn't even genuinely realize that Pro Wrestling was fake. I can relate to that because I am taking this class without really knowing anything about Pro Wrestling. One question that I really wanted answered, starting off the class, was if Pro Wrestling was real or fake. Within the first class session, I quickly realized that it was definitely fake.

Another detail about the book, it is always written in wrestling lingo. It's like wrestlers have their own vocabulary that becomes habit or instinct to use. Throughout the book, words like "business," "work," "worker," etc. are used. This is extraordinary to me because the average person, I just mean a person who isn't really a fan of wrestling, would never think of these words as being used within Pro Wrestling. However, it does make sense once I begin thinking about it. They are working and Pro Wrestling is a business.


Sam Ford said...

Marshall...I'm glad you took this particular focus in your post. One of my thoughts was that this semester should teach us that there's a lot we can learn from the vantage point of pro wrestling fans, from people in the pro wrestling industry, and from academics, filmmakers, etc., who are studying/analyzing professional wrestling. And one of the most overt ways to get the way of thinking from the POV of people in wrestling is through the memoirs/stories of the wrestlers themselves. We've already seen this semester that we can see different people cover the same subject and talk about it quite differently. Is Hulk Hogan one of the greatest wrestlers of all time, or someone who "didn't know a wrist lock from a wrist watch"?

In particular, seeing the ways in which wrestlers use the jargon of "the business" firsthand is one of the great values of being able to study and see wrestling from the inside. As you might imagine, in addition to learning some about the history of wrestling from someone who played an important role in that history, a book like Ole Anderson's can be exciting for fans because you can just hear this old hackneyed retired wrestler/booker "telling it like it is," speaking to you within the language of pro wrestling in a way that "invites the audience in."

Gary said...

Marshall, in Ole's book, in Chapter 11, he mentions that shoots did not happen very often, usually with marks off the street, and that during his time, wrestling was mostly an exhibition.

Ole's concept as a wrestler was to make every match as close to a shoot as possible, a working shoot if you will. Opponents would tell him to loosen up. His toughest matches were wrestlers who just didn't care about anything or anyone, or themselves, like Harley Race.

So in answer to your question (from my thinking,) whether wrestling is fake or real, my answer would be that it has evolved to where it is now, an exhibition, with a very rare legitimate shoot thrown it. A lot of the technicians/shooters like Verne Gagne, or Karl Gotch are long gone. Today, it's all about the entertainment value because wrestling first and foremost is a business.