Monday, September 15, 2014

So far, the article "Actors on a Canvas Stage: The Dramatic Conventions of Professional Wrestling," by Gerald Craven and Richard Moseley has been my favorite. It really explained a great example of why people could get into Pro Wrestling. The fans of Pro Wrestling see it as a "play," even though I'm sure that they would never admit that. I will never find Pro Wrestling appealing, however I do thoroughly enjoy viewing a play. So, I'm thinking of fans going to see "The Grudge Match" at Madison Square Garden as me going to see "The Phantom of the Opera" on Broadway. While the type of fan who would find each appealing, is opposite of the other, it's the same principle. Both sets of fans realize that they are watching a staged performance with actors who tell a story. In both, there are good guys and bad guys. They even both have stages.

"Tonight the Hulk vs Ox. Baker," by Randall Williams was quite an entertaining story for an article. The part that was most interesting to me was found at the end.  Two wrestlers happened to die after a fight with Baker. This become a part of him. It attached to his persona within the world of Pro Wrestling and there was no getting rid of it. Instead of letting this seemingly negative publicity tarnish his career, he embraced it and became known from it. The article ended with a story of a lady who hated Baker so much that she screamed at him during matches. The coincidence of two men dying after their fight with Baker seemed to be real to her and she hated him with all of her guts. This type of fan interaction is what makes Pro Wrestling so appealing. They can love a guy or hate a guy, but they would still go to the arena to see both. That way they can either cheer for a hero or cuss at a heel.

1 comment:

Sam Ford said...

Appreciate your feedback here, Marshall, and I look forward to diving into both of these topics during our class discussion this afternoon. Craven and Moseley take a thread that we have been discussing in class throughout the first part of the semester and draw it out explicitly--similar to Gutowski's use of folklore frameworks to understand the construction of a wrestling story, Craven and Moseley use the framework of the play to help explain how a wrestling performance can be understood. Now, implicit in both their comments and yours is the idea that those who go see a wrestling match also wouldn't go see a play. On the other hand, as we watched wrestling from the 50s, we have people in suits and ties and dresses in their respective cities at the wrestling match...and I think it merits discussion how much we see the two activities as mutually exclusive.

And I also appreciate that you bring up in particular the conclusion to Randall Williams' piece about the reputation of Ox Baker and how he takes two very real situations and weave it into his character. What do we make of this? Is it a crass violation of humanity to speak of two beloved wrestlers dying in such a crass manner? Is it part of wrestling's complete lack of compassion and humanity for the workers whose bodies it chews up? As Marshall points out, is it a brilliant way to use unfortunate reality to heighten the fiction, in a way we might see as morally justifiable? Is it Ox Baker's only way to make use of what otherwise could be a major strike on his career?

And is there more going on than meets the eye with the old woman and her rivalry with Ox? What are we to make of her belief that he's a killer, alongside her defiant willingness to stand up to him?