In his book, Hitman: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling, Bret Hart writes,
There is something beautiful about a brotherhood of big, tough men who only pretend to hurt one another for a living instead of actually doing it.
I have been a fan of pro wrestling ever since I could remember, but I had never fully understood why I loved pro wrestling so much until I read that quote.
I am a peaceful person. I read the news daily just to stay informed, but reading about war, violence and destruction makes me clench my fists in anger and punch a wall.
Thinking about the nature of traditional pro wrestling, on the other hand, makes me smile.
Instead of hurting each other, pro wrestlers protect each other. Even if a couple of wrestlers legitimately dislike each other, they do not intentionally try to beat the living daylights out of each other. They do not shoot each other. They do not drop bombs on each other.
They only pretend to hurt each other. That is beautiful. Watching pro wrestling is cathartic to me. It purifies me of the negative thoughts and emotions that reading the news creates in me.
I don’t know about you, but I love seeing the seven-foot, 441-pound Big Show smile and wave to the kids in the front row. I also love the fact that the 400-pound “World’s Strongest Man” Mark Henry writes poetry (or at least used to write) outside the ring, and that he was shown smiling at the 2012 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. Who knew such a mean-looking dude could smile?
Who doesn’t like a gentle giant? Pro wrestling has been home to many of them, such as the late great Andre The Giant.
I did not write this article to persuade the haters to start liking pro wrestling or ask them to appreciate pro wrestling. I can’t change their minds. Rather, I wrote this article to remind us all (wrestling fans) of the beauty of wrestling, and to be proud of being wrestling fans.
This weekend at Extreme Rules, John Cena will face former UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar in an “extreme rules” match. “Extreme rules” can mean anything, but one thing I don’t expect to see is a legitimate mixed martial arts fight.
I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I think that’s a beautiful thing.
Anyone can fight for real. The Bloods and Crips fight, lions, tigers and bears fight, Metta World Peace fights, flies fight. Big deal. There’s no beauty in fighting (in and of itself). We might admire the skill, heart and determination that some fighters possess, but fighting in and of itself is an ugly thing.
Haters of pro wrestling claim to be haters because pro wrestling is scripted. Well, someone needs to tell them that they’re missing the point. Who cares if it’s scripted? It’s supposed to be scripted. That's part of the beauty of it all. It's an art; darkness turned into light. Is there not enough violence in the world already?
I’m not downplaying the skill that’s involved in pro wrestling. Rather, I’m praising it. In my opinion, it takes just as much (or even more) skill to be a good pro wrestler as it does to be a good “legitimate” fighter. The difference is that wrestlers choose to protect each other instead of intentionally hurting each other.
I will leave you with the following quote from the documentary, The Unreal Story of Professional Wrestling—which sums up what I believe to be the beauty of pro wrestling:
Are we celebrating violence when we enjoy a wrestling match? Definitely. Does this mean we're a society in decay? Maybe, but don't forget that, unlike the Romans, we're not throwing Christians to the lions here. Maybe we should sit back, relax, enjoy the show, and take comfort in the knowledge that we live in a society that prefers its mayhem to be make-believe.
Pro wrestling: what a beautiful thing.
Thanks for reading! I hope you've enjoyed my article. I'd love to hear YOUR reason(s) for being a fan, so feel free to comment!