If wrestling was really a sport, wouldn't there be an exclusion of "storylines"?
This is something I, like many, have more often than not asked mysef. And for good reason! While I recognize that the sheer amount of skill and brutality needed to be a wrestler can easily qualify it as a sport, one must also question the way professional wrestling works.
Let us not forget that not only are the stories scripted, but also the matches.
Every move accomplished or failed is ultimately a predetermined act, so what exactly makes one wrestler any better than another if they all plan what they do before they do it?
Clearly the way they do it, correct? But can that be explained to the casual viewer?
If we lived in a world where wrestling had no backstory and was simply the in-ring work, would it have ever been as popular as it was over a decade ago? My real question is: would anyone really care or pay attention to wrestling if there were no storylines?
From where I stand, I don't think so.
Call it dependency on the routine or low attention span if you'd like, but one can't ignore the fact that wrestling isn't a widely recognized "sport". It's a tv show to the average human being. That, in and of itself, says a lot.
Let's break things down. Most fans find themselves on either side of the "Wrestling vs. Storytelling" argument. Wrestling is simply the in-ring work that entices so many. The vicious skin on skin contact that makes you feel like you're watching a fight to the death and keeps you on the edge of your seat.
Why do you watch wrestling?
Storytelling encompasses the actual people (characters) that you watch duke it out and the motivations behind why they're fighting. These people and motivations are usually extremely over the top, brash, and outrageous. But, in a world without story, couldn't it be said that the motivation to outwrestle your opponent could come from the prestige of reaching the top?
Even then, would people still pay attention?
I tend to fall in the middle. It's complicated to me. While I love to see a good, old-fashioned wrestling match, I definitely get more into it if there's some sort of story driving the match and my interest in it.
The way I see it, I'd like to see a catfight over a man rather than just a catfight.
Then I think about how I could rush to the TV to see a Dolph Ziggler match, even if he isn't a storyline. Why? Because he's known to be a great wrestler!
But wait, is that a part of his character or just really him?
Obviously him. But in the crazy world of wrestling, the line is extremely blurred between the people we see and the people we think we see.
Nothing is clear and dry.
And that's where I find my answer: There is none! You watch for what you want to see.
What I'd like to know is what the majority likes to see. Let me know on which side of the wrestling bandwagon you fall, because it's an argument that will always be present.
I, for one, am on neither side.