Pro Wrestling Is a Sport and Its Absence Will Hurt Us All

James TriggsCorrespondent IJune 4, 2009

Jeremy Kaufman, a columnist here on Bleacher Report, brought up the issue of pro wrestling being here.  You can see it here:

I am not mad or concerned that this has been brought up. In fact, I am pleased.

I would like to take this opportunity to defend pro wrestling. Without these opportunities, the image of pro wrestling cannot improve.

Ab love principium- let's start with the most important, as they used to say.


Steroids are most visible in pro wrestling

Steroids are used in so many sports, but it is in pro wrestling that it is the most visible, especially after high-profile instances of use.

As long as pro wrestling is discussed, there will be mention and discussion of steroids.

This makes pro wrestling a launchpad for dealing with the problem as a whole.

If Bleacher Report is to become a widely read source of sports journalism, as Jeremy Kaufman says,

"Arguably, the greatest issue with our era of sports is the utilization of steroids by professional athletes."

Just look at the Tour de France, for one example.

Bleacher Report can be used as a forum to combat steroids. In pro wrestling, due to the schedule and the belief of some that you need to have considerable muscle mass to succeed, it is more likely that the issue will be raised in pro wrestling more than in other sports.

How would a person who has never watched pro wrestling be able to combat steroids in pro wrestling without failing to appear authoritative? You won't be very persuasive if you don't appear like you understand what you are saying.

Sports organisations and individuals won't be convinced to make appropriate changes unless the message gets through.

It’s not enough to say what should be done, but why.

Unless you know your stuff with pro wrestling, you won't be able to fully target the issue on a maximum of opportunities.

If pro wrestling is not featured on a site like Bleacher Report and so steroids are not properly discussed, the pressure against steroids won't increase.

Pro wrestling is unlike anything else, yet similar in a number of respects, so that you can only combat steroids in pro wrestling effectively by a pro wrestling approach and that means considering all the aspects of pro wrestling.

That cannot happen if pro wrestling discussion is banned or severely limited.

If the issue of steroids in pro wrestling is not combated, it does send a bad message to everyone else. Pro wrestling is the place from which to combat steroids, which has yet to fully happen.

It showcases athleticism without serious violence

"While athletes within the boxing and MMA communities spend years of their life learning the technique and philosophy behind their powerful attacks and counter-attacks, professional wrestlers fight their way to victory through fake punches, jumps off a rope, and by slamming their victim in the head with a chair that is oh-so-conveniently left available by the side of the ring."

That is an oversimplification.

You see, good pro wrestlers do study strategy and philosophy behind how they should develop their matches, calling moves in it, so that it is as entertaining and credible as it can be.

Unfortunately, that hasn't happened as often as it should, especially in recent years.

These attacks are not faked, but the extent of force depends where you are and at what time period.

In Japan, they work like MMA artists as a rule. I've seen matches where they kick harder than kickboxers. I've seen matches where they punch just as hard as boxers.

WWE is not Broadway. A more proper comparison is with Chuck Norris. The Chuck Norris jokes are known to all to be false, but we maintain a very high perception of him because of what we know to be true.

In pro wrestling, the moves are all real, though the force, or stiffness, varies. Those who perform the moves are athletes, under a number of definitions. They are vigorously active in terms of body movement and they are trained to compete in it, something I will come back to later.

Like other sports, there is a risk of injury; in sports like soccer and tennis, there is a grave possibility of ankle and knee injuries.

Before you argue that unlike those sports, you can die in pro wrestling, I would like to point out that is actually false.

In Soccer, people can die in riots or from a brutal collision with something. It is rare but it can and does happen.

Pro wrestling isn't any different. In Tennis, people can die from heat exhaustion, as has nearly happened in some of the Australian Opens.

In all sports, injury is not part of the sport and death certainly isn't, but it happens. Deaths related to pro wrestling rather than due to steroids or other illicit substances are rare.

How many can you think of? To name just three, I can name Mariko Plum, Brian Ong and Owen Hart.

There are more, but not a great number as with other sports. Yes, kids have imitating pro wrestling, but that is a not what is being debated here.

MMA fans could potentially do the same thing. They don’t, but the point is that the deaths of kids, though regrettable, do not determine what a sport is and what is not.

Indeed, in the future Bleacher Report can help address issues like this if pro wrestling remains here.

"However, professional wrestling tries its hardest to portray the very level of violence that boxing and MMA try so hard to avoid, through the utilization of ambushes, weapons, and attacks that would typically be life-threatening if they were real."

Surely you are watching WWE.

Yes they have ambushes and home invasions which are in bad taste and which the pro wrestling community condemns more than anyone else. The product of one organisation shouldn't be used to judge the sport as a whole, especially when said product is in a bad time.

To use your example, I don't judge baseball by the Black Sox scandal.

Does pro wrestling appear brutal and bloody? Sometimes, as does MMA and boxing, but for the most part it is friendlier.

Most of the pro wrestling product on the independent circuits throughout the globe is indeed family friendly. The major promotions are less so because they have more serious storylines.

In proper pro wrestling, serious storylines are handled well. Violence is not glorified. Entertainment of the crowd is. They put their bodies on the line in the name of entertainment, but not to the point of actual damage beyond minor injuries when done correctly.

In pro wrestling, the blood is appreciated by the audience out of respect for the competitors.

Any sport aims to entertain, but only pro wrestling has a specific focus on entertainment. On top of the sporting elements, there are entertainment elements. That doesn't change pro wrestling from being a sport.

Due to the different focus, a lot of pro wrestling fans have become MMA fans. The more pro wrestling has a presence; ultimately, the more MMA has a presence. 

 Pro wrestling benefits amateur wrestling as well. Discussing pro wrestling can lead to interest in MMA and amateur wrestling.

Pro wrestlers compete with themselves

The definition of a sportsperson or an athlete is widely accepted to mean an individual who is trained for a sport and regularly competes in it.

Pro wrestlers are trained at pro wrestling schools.

Pro wrestling is unlike anything else and has more elements of entertainment than  any other sport. It is still a sport. A narrow minded opinion of pro wrestling is often the result of two things: a media which has felt embarrassed and thus aggressively negative towards pro wrestling since it was revealed to be choreographed, as well as personal ignorance.

Ask any athlete and they are likely to say they compete with themselves to be the best. That's not a mere sporting statement. In any sport, to succeed you have to push yourself. That is very true with pro wrestling.

Just because there isn't a ranking system like in other sports doesn't change that that there is competition.

Pro wrestlers work with their in-ring colleagues to assist each other, rather than fighting against them. They still do, compete with them to a certain extent for a position in a major promotion in the independent circuit and to impress enough people to become a champion.

In pro wrestling, a championship is no mere prop. It signifies that the individual holding it is talented enough that they can carry the company. They are reliable and consistent, in the eyes of the company.

Pro wrestlers aim to become champion and do compete with it through trying to do the best they can do with what they have to work with.

Any pro wrestler knows how hard it is to succeed in the pro wrestling world. In order to get known and reach major promotions, you need to stand out in terms of technique, in terms of charisma, in terms of attitude and in terms of creativity.

Pro wrestlers compete with each other while working with them, competing to get into a major promotion, or into a higher card, a higher spot. In pro wrestling, the majority of the competition is friendly. It is still competitive.

Pro wrestlers compete with each other to achieve fame and fortune, for there are limited spots in the major promotions. In a sense, they also compete for a place in history.

The articles here and throughout the web as well as discussions do analyse legacies and how good a wrestler is and these are essentially the same as analysis of any athlete and their legacy.

In addition, pro wrestling companies are business competitors. They compete with each other for the best talent, for the best TV deals, for the most viewers. Sound familiar?

Pro wrestling is a team sport. Promotions are teams and those in each team compete to prove they are worthy the spot they have and to prove they have what it takes to carry a company, like in other combat sports.

The promotions themselves compete as well, sometimes ruthlessly as some of the manoeuvres in the past have been.

Now, to some extent, MMA is another source of competition as well and this competition is between beliefs as much as it is about the actual product.


This is the end of the first part. Thanks for reading. Please read the second part before you comment: there may be a response there to any questions you may have.


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