First Impressions: Why Wrestling Is Misunderstood

Ben SampsonCorrespondent IJune 30, 2009

GREEN BAY, WI - JUNE 22:   Vince McMahon attends a press conference about the WWE at the Austin Straubel International Airport on June 22, 2009 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Mark A. Wallenfang/Getty Images)

People always tell me, day in and day out, that first impressions always leave a mark. Whether it's jobs, personalities, something new, etc., the impact you make is always what people will remember.

With all sports, we have seen this; soccer for its amazing moments and out-of-hand fans, hockey for its glory and being Canada's national sport, baseball for being très controversial, and basketball for its fast-paced action.

But, in the midst of all these sports, there is one who stands out like a black sheep in a herd of white sheep.

That's right, the sport which has no credibility or recognition (despite having a bigger fan base than some sports), the sport that isn't even considered a sport by some. Yes, I'm talking about pro wrestling.

Vince McMahon Jr. bought his father's company, the World Wide Wrestling Federation, in 1982, and changed the wrestling world from being a carnival act to one of the biggest forms of entertainment in American history.

The storylines became more wild, the characters had a bit more flair, and to top it off, McMahon had TV coverage, courtesy of Titan Sports (his company).

Sadly, this is when people started watching wrestling and getting into the art form, and people soon realized that wrestling wasn't a sport.

They thought of many ways to expose the wrestling business, from analyzing rigged fighting, fake angles, and GIANT men who strutted to the ring wearing tights, who had big muscles. The exposers then blamed steroids for all of these muscle-heads.

So, in 1992, trouble started. Vince's World Bodybuilding Federation (circa 1990) was shut down after McMahon was accused of passing steroids to bodybuilders, as well as wrestlers.

The year of '93 saw Vince wrapped up in a steroid controversy, and then put to trial in 1994, gaining a plea of "not guilty." This trial would sever the friendship of Hulk Hogan and Vince McMahon.

The funny thing is, McMahon had a line of bodybuilding supplements both wrestlers and bodybuilders used called ICOPRO (Intergrated Conditioning Program). He even had top stars like Bret Hart, Lex Luger, and Razor Ramon star in commercials for the product, so this would've added to evidence of his allegations to steroid use.

The late Bad News Allen, in the book Pain and Passion: The History Of Stampede Wrestling, quoted on Vince, "He was 60 years old and jacked," meaning McMahon had used steroids.

Many wrestling journalists, columnists, and authors say that guys like Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart, Dynamite Kid, Davey Boy Smith, Chris Benoit, and others have layed down the foundation for today's generation of superstars, but of those f ive wrestlers, four have taken steroids (except for Bret), and two have died at a young age (Benoit and Smith).

This is the core problem.

People like Dave Jackson have now shown us the stereotype wrestling portrays; a bunch of half-naked men all oiled up and jacked up, in tights feeling each other.

We, as wrestling fans know that it isn't true; wrestling is an art form, and while some may be half-naked, they still put on a good show (i.e. Randy Orton).

Most wrestlers do wear tights, but since the Hardy Boyz's fame escalated, as well as Rey Mysterio's, there have been some wrestlers who prefer not to wear tights.

"Oiled up" is true, but it is being over exaggerated here; wrestlers put on oil to show off their athletic prowess, such as their abdomen, or any part of their body they want people to look at and say, "Wow!"

Feeling each other is 0 percent true in pro wrestling; wrestlers grapple to lift each other and inflict pain on the other as safe as possible.

Wrestling's stereotype also shows our problem; steroids.

Steroids were a way to get stronger for pro wrestlers, but ever since McMahon's trial in 1994, non-wrestling fans, and even some wrestling fans think all wrestlers have used steroids.

While some of this may be true, as steroids have been used as painkillers, and rehabilitation (such as Batista), these were prescribed by a doctor, meaning they weren't the kind of steroids McMahon had been persecuted for handing out.

Since then, steroids have started to die, with only the older men still able to go because of steroids.

While some wrestlers, such as Batista, have used steroids (for medical purposes), there are a lot of wrestlers like Randy Orton, John Cena, Triple H, Kurt Angle, CM Punk, and Edge who are wrestling in the main event of professional wrestling that are non-steroid users.

Another problem with pro wrestling is the choreography, aka "fake."

Wrestling has been a closed art, but ever since the exposure of the sport, fans have called it "fake," "stupid," "not real," "not even a sport," and "so ******** fake!"

The term sport, courtesy of Wikipedia, means, "an activity that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often engaged in competitively." So wrestling is, in fact, a sport.

While some people may keep their personal/first opinion/impression of pro wrestling, there will be some that will change theirs.

If pro wrestling can prove to the haters and to the fans that it has changed and there are no steroids involved, then maybe the sport will gain some credibility.

Then it won't be the black sheep in a field of white sheep anymore.