Speaking to the Notion of Banning Pro Wrestling in Any Way

Michael AbenanteCorrespondent IJune 4, 2009

09 Oct 2000:  General view of wrestling fans at the World Chamionship Wrestling ''Thunder Down Under'' night at the Sydney Entertainment Centre, Sydney, Australia. Mandatory Credit: Scott Barbour/ALLSPORT

The writers behind the articles pointedly calling for Pro Wrestling to be "banned from Bleacher Report" can't possibly be surprised by the fervor and backlash created by their pieces.

The truth is that pro wrestling has always been like our little brother or sister: it's always OK for us to pick on them and beat them up a bit when we're bored or feeling frisky, but nobody else is allowed to, or we absolutely jump to their rescue blindly.

But members of this humble wrestling writers' community, I implore you not to let the recent, poorly conceived attempts at op-ed journalism incite your inner grapplers!

What is the necessary response to these ideas and statements made to upset so many? The concept of "banning" anything in the modern era that is not harmful or fatal to a life (animals included, as we've learned by now) is hateful, close-minded, and just not well-thought through in this day and age.

"Banning" the field of pro wrestling from this website would be no different than, oh I don't know, "banning" books that some find useless or offensive from libraries.

We've covered this before. Think "Fahrenheit 451."

Aside from the obvious argument that the community has its own designation separate from "true" sports as pointed out numerously before my writing this, there seems to be no understanding by anyone who isn't a long-time or die-hard fan that there exists a level of sport and competition in pro wrestling that goes undetected much of the time.

One wonders why anyone who professes not to watch wrestling or enjoy wrestling would feel the need to put down wrestling and its level of "competition"? Very few of us, if any, truly understand the competition involved, fan or not.

Wrestlers are people, men and women, some fans of wrestling and some not. Their struggles to be noticed, to build long careers, to avoid working in uncomfortable environments and to support families is no different than any of us who work "meaningless" jobs for the pay or notoriety.

Their struggles are also no different than the men who spend their prime years working out and practicing skills in attempting to make a pro football team in the summer, or to make a Major League Baseball team in the spring.

In fact, their paths are quite similar in that minor league players of all types must not only perform well (almost) year round but also wait their turns to be called up to the major league level and compete for a roster spot.

This is the intense level of competition aspiring wrestlers face, including veterans, in trying to secure their places within a company.

And unlike the intense competition found in a sport like football, in wrestling there are only two real major league organizations to work for, and not 32.

I'd put a bunch of aspiring wrestlers and their work ethics up against any huddle of Raiders any day, by the way.

It is a level of competition hidden behind a black curtain that goes unseen by people all-too-ready to dismiss pro wrestling for any reason, great or small.

To dismiss the SPORT and the people who watch it, discuss it and write about it here on B/R is just as insulting to the memories and bodies of work of great performers and, reportedly, great people such as Eddie Guerrero and Brian Pillman and countless others whose losses make me sad as I type this paragraph.

I, for one, stake my claim that pro wrestling as an exhibition of physical prowess and psychology is equally as scripted as any professional boxing match.

I'd make the same claim against all sports, as the sentiment across the US grows feverishly at how ridiculously bad officiating is in our pro "sports".

To the writers, I challenge you to take a moment to watch the upcoming NBA Finals beginning tonight and mark my words at how the entire series will play out: the home team will win every close game after being given every chance to win them by the referees.

And the home team that loses at home will likely be Orlando, chiefly because they are not located in L.A.

Every close call or non-call will go the biggest star's way. The results will favor the home team and in the end the series will favor the largest market involved.

How that is different from Vince McMahon deciding to use whomever has the most heat or pop in a main event story/angle at any given time?

Why are we all right with being easily able to assume that Kobe Bryant will get all the calls he needs to succeed in basketball in the same way that I can watch RAW and understand when John Cena will win a match or not?

In 2007, I watched referees snatch victory from the Baltimore Ravens not once, but TWICE in a professional game, in order to give the New England Patriots extra chances to keep their undefeated season alive, which they did.

Both calls were admittedly incorrect, after the fact. TV networks gained millions in viewership and ratings and ad dollars because a large market team with a recent history of success, was making history, and the league latched onto this franchise for all it was worth.

The Ravens meant little to the league and were insignificant to history, and belittled by the leagues "rules".

So how is that different from the Montreal screwjob, when Vince McMahon recognized that his future did not lie with Bret Hart? Or Eric Bischoff pushing Bill Goldberg to a title run past everyone, not for his skills but for what he was worth to the organization?

To conclude this diatribe in defense of a SPORT that I've loved my entire life, I challenge the writers of those articles meant to spark debate and elicit "reads" to look at the bigger picture, understand what you criticize and in what manner.

Steer clear of ignorant generalizations and old-fashioned cliches or stereotypes when setting out to attack a mainstream form of entertainment, regardless of how rabid the following is.

But most importantly, do not be so naive as to think that labeling an activity as "professional" grants it immunity from being "scripted" or "planned" or even "choreographed." Money rules the world, and pro sports are as easily swayed by it as any predetermined venture.

Before any of us questions the level or even existence of competition in pro wrestling, let us understand the athletes' work, their lives and their struggles.

Then think of how many billions of "professional" dollars are wasted on "professional" athletes every year, in all sports, that neither care as much nor compete as hard as most wrestlers do.

And to think that anyone would want to ban me from writing anything that drips with this much passion in the year 2009 on any website is really just scary.