WWE Proclamation: Wrestling's Phenomenon and the Fan's Quest for Reality
A phenomenon is a fact or situation that is observed to exist or happen. The existence of phenomenology ties into the fact of philosophy. For example, if a tree falls down in the woods and nobody is there to hear it; does it make a sound?
Philosophers since the beginning of time have studied the idea of a phenomenon and its ideas and origins. Professional wrestling is indeed something that captures the audience in a way that has yet to be seen or described before.
Any football game can be explained by a 20-second sportscast on ESPN's SportsCenter. One team is the clear winner and the other is a loser. It would only take me a few minutes to analyze the Super Bowl and the spectacle that it is.
Simply, every professional sport in the universe can be explained to the common ear without hesitation or miscommunication. As long as the information is delivered correctly, the message will be clear.
However, wrestling is a whole different animal. WrestleMania is the greatest example on the table.
An experience that can be shared with others is just that, witnessing a pro wrestling event with whomever you share moments with that last a lifetime.
When a superstar wins a title, whoever is next to you is cheering along with you. Being a part of the WWE Universe is like one big family. Through thick or thin, I love this business and it is in me ‘til the end. Each year brings something different: an iconic moment, one last swan song or an emphatic return highlighting a night of individuality and the embodiment of a superstar.
Today, I will be diving into the aspect of wrestling that makes it a phenomenon. It will be a rather quick slideshow, but I feel that it is necessary to talk about. There will be two main points that I will be going in-depth about.
1. Good vs. Evil
2. Actions Speak Louder than Words
Chinmay, a former Bleacher Report writer, helped me come up with these ideas. It all begins as a kid when it was real to us. There was the hero and his villain. Stone Cold Steve Austin was that hero for us and the Rock was the bad guy that needed to be exiled.
On top of that, actions spoke louder than words for one reason: the language didn't choose your opinion on the wrestler, but rather the person kicking out after three chokeslams or a Rock Bottom. In a way, wrestling is symbolic interactionalism.
Professional is a physical reality that exist by a fan's social definitions. Social definitions develop in part or relation to something that is real. - Jacob Waring
Consequently, is wrestling real? Maybe to the fans, but we will get to that in the upcoming slides. Let us now read together what, as kids, we believed to be our entire thought process.
The Philsophy of Good vs. Evil
It is as if the world looks like one big area to roam and dream. Being so young institutes bravery and courage, solely by just walking outside of your preferred sanctuary. Home is home to you, anything beyond that remains a mystery.
Wrestling to most people is that common place of somber and tranquility often desired in life as a whole. Adversity kicks in to high gear; professional wrestling puts them at ease. Whether you are a fan of the superheroes, the underdogs, the big men or the divas, wrestling is as diverse as the world’s culture.
As a young child, this is the moment your eyes first catch a hold of the four-sided ring. At such an early age, everything is bigger and larger than life. The TV turns on and John Cena is on your screen. Immediately you stare aimlessly at the picture and see this man as man who overcomes the odds.
Being that your logistics haven’t kicked in yet, the good guys and underdogs are the ultimate favorite in your heart. Wrestling is real to this age. All of them want to perform an AA on top of a ladder. All of them want to hold that WWE belt. It is a dream.
All of this can be relatable to this day, but it must be tried and the practice should be utilized. If I were to have it one way, the use of dirt sheets and rumor websites would be immediately banned. Obviously, I don't have that power, but it only ruins the product.
Realizing that one man pretends to sell an RKO hurts the brand and that is one reason why fans stop being fans. John Cena is supposed to return at the Royal Rumble. Thank you for the spoiler.
The integrity of the sport diminishes and the reality of the situation remains clear that wrestling isn't real to the adult. A mind increases its capacity to grasp the "grey" in life, which dissolves the innocence of a former child.
Like I already mentioned, kids see things in black or white. It is a part in the brain that isn't fully developed at such a young age. However, that is the reason why wrestling is a huge part in children's lives all across the world.
Once the realism of professional wrestling goes away, the fans drop and ignorance kicks in. "I know it's fake. The wrestling isn't real, so why should I watch?"
Those are very real quotes that I heard in fact last night.
A very good friend of mine questions my love for pro wrestling because he was a wrestler all throughout high school. He claims it is a mockery to the legendary sport and an official crime. "It's fake and stupid. Why do you watch this garbage?"
We watch this garbage because in our souls, wrestling is real. As soon as that moment comes across our screens when our favorite superstar pulls off the unthinkable and your eyes light up like the night sky. A five-year-old just saw Santa for the first time and the emotions are similar.
The philosophy of "Good vs. Evil" drives the competitive nature of television and that brings in the reality of professional wrestling. Now, the transition from "Good vs. Evil" to our other aspect of pro wrestling relates more of the actions of television instead of the philosophy.
Actions Speak Louder Than Words
Sometimes, a pipebomb is one way to connect with an audience, but more often than not, the actions used by a wrestler transcend throughout the audience much more. For example, when CM Punk blew a kiss to Vince McMahon at Money in the Bank 2011, there didn't have to be a promo.
Heel and face distinctions become much clearer, as Chinmay once said. Facial expressions can do much more or the use of a Stone Cold Stunner to McMahon spoke for millions of wrestling fans that wanted to give a middle finger to their boss.
Just to use that example, Austin did perform his legendary "Austin 3:16" promo, but that wasn't the driving force into his ride to stardom against the McMahons. The fact he went into the ring and gave McMahon a Stone Cold Stunner sent shockwaves throughout the business.
Fans could relate to what Austin had completed. It was a full circle of frustration and disgruntled workers that couldn't stand up to the superior being. The sheer facial expressions of Austin in handcuffs sold the action presented.
Remember, Stone Cold didn't say anything over the microphone when these two instances took place. It was for the audience to imagine and predict what would be said. That is a creative control no sport can put into place.
Like, I wonder what would have been said if Austin had a microphone on his way out with handcuffs and officials dragging him out of the building? Nothing was said except in our minds.
To proclaim that all of this is accurate can be an overstatement. Of course, there are exceptions to any rule, but logic takes justice over opinions.
Promos aren't as critical as the fans believe, myself included. Just the thought of Punk's pipebomb gives me chills to this day. Also, the moment when Mick Foley screamed at Edge years ago to defeat the Undertaker at WrestleMania.
Those moments will be locked in time as defining instances in wrestling. It is the photography of these snapshots below that tell a story:
- Punk's kiss to McMahon
- Austin's smirk to McMahon in handcuffs
- Cena's bloody mouth after his scuffle with Brock Lesnar
- Ric Flair's crying soul after his loss to Shawn Michaels
- The hug HHH, Taker and HBK shared at WrestleMania 28
No promo came before those moments, which made them feel real. This will sound very immature, but professional wrestling is real to me. Above all else, I have wrestling to fall back on and give me a smile that won't leave my face.
I urge all of you to think like that and it becomes that much more enjoyable.
Let Wrestling Be Real
No matter the embarrassment or foolishness of my title, let wrestling be real. Consider the "Good vs. Evil" component of the philosophy wrestling entails. I urge you to look at the little boy above this text and see the happiness and awestruck wonder he is on.
To that little boy, Cena is a superhero. For everything that an adolescent goes through day after day, that moment where all is forgotten translates to professional wrestling. The sport is not fake to that young child and he is happier when he watches it than we all are.
All of us are too busy reading the spoilers and getting mad when Dolph Ziggler jobs to Mark Henry and it ruins the entertainment. We're too busy wanting to see Daniel Bryan wrestle for 60 minutes and Punk talking about his anti-establishment theories for 30 minutes on a platform.
That's no way to enjoy wrestling the right way. Enjoy it's magic, spirit and well-being because it could be taken away from you at a moments notice.