How Pro Wrestling Has Survived Over 100 Years

Matthew HesterSenior Writer IMarch 14, 2010

I have a bone to pick with some of the things I have read over the last few years. I am sure you have all seen these articles also. The constant streams of “Wrestling is in trouble” articles are getting out of hand. Let me start off by saying professional wrestling is not in trouble at all. It never has been in trouble and most likely never will be in trouble.

Professional wrestling has been around for over 100 years folks. It is as American as apple pie and baseball. Wrestling has survived countless depressions, bans on violence, and many brutal wars. Let’s look at a worse case scenario for a second folks. Even if the WWE and TNA both folded at the same time wrestling would still survive.

When wrestling was proved to be fake in the 1920’s there were many people then who said wrestling would fold. Guess what folks? Not only did wrestling survive, but it flourished and soared to greater heights than ever before.

Also, if I hear one more time “How can people still watch that stuff, it’s fake” I’m going to go nuts. We know its fake people, so please stop looking down on us fans who do watch it. First off, I just would like to say this isn’t going to be a couple pages of ranting. I decided that I would take some time to explain to all of you how and why wrestling will always be here to stay.

To do this we have to travel all the way back to when the jig was up on pro wrestling.

From the time pro wrestling was even conceived in the late 1800s. The authenticity of it was always questioned.

You would mostly find wrestling back then at your local fair or circus. It was an instant draw that would help sell tickets for years. You see, Back then the carnies always protected their product much like they did their sideshows.

While it is true that there were indeed “Shoot matches,” these types of bouts rarely did happen. In fact the only time they did happen was when there was a grudge match to settle. Other then that it would always be a fix. Most of the other major sports always detested wrestling back in those days. It was boxing that hated it the most though. Mainly because that’s where they would always lump wrestling with.

In the late 20’s, the major sports would get their wish. It would be made known to the public that wrestling was indeed a work. It was thought for the first time that it would finally be the ending for pro wrestling. To the other sports surprise though, it survived. Whether it was because people were slow taking in this new-found info, or they just didn’t care. Wrestling would indeed stay alive and well.

Pro wrestling would only get stronger in the 1940’s. As most of you probably already know, the NWA would form. This would only make the industry tighter and harder to crack. The NWA would even on occasion throw in some “Shoot” matches to try to make it seem legit. Even in those times if you were a pro wrestler, or even a fan of pro wrestling you were often frowned upon.

The question that people asked and still ask today is “How can people watch that stuff”? In case you don’t know let me tell you how people can and do watch wrestling.

Americans in general love three things: politics, drama and sports. While legit sports will always be superior, and rightfully so, these legit sports, cannot give people all three of those things mentioned above, sure they can give you sports and in turn this can be turned into drama. What they can’t do though is tell you a story like wrestling. Pro wrestling isn’t called a male soap opera for nothing.

All you would have to do back then is read your local paper, watch TV, or listen to the radio. If there was any a crisis or problem going on in the country, you can bet, somewhere, wrestling would put an angle on it.

In the 40’s wrestling would often use the world wars as its base to generate heat amongst the fans. Of course the blond hair, blue-eyed face would always save the day for the good old U.SA. During the 50’s when it can be argued racial tension was at its worse. Wrestling would use that too by promoting new black stars in the south to draw money from the black audiences. It is also worth noting that in the 1950’s, like in baseball, pro wrestling broke the racial barrier lines, by having Bo Bo Brazil beat Buddy Rogers to become the first black man to hold the NWA title.

This is a trend that would follow all through wrestling’s history.  Wrestling has always found a way to sink their teeth in us and make us watch. Even though people knew it was fake they still couldn’t turn away.

Even as late as the 80’s and 90’s they were still using society and politics to hook the fans. In the 1980’s the WWF used the cold war.  Hulk Hogan, the clean cut, pro U.S.A face would often square off against the evil Russians. Hogan would also go on to fight the rich big wigs when Reaganomics’s was at its worse. He battled such guys like I.R.S and the “Million-Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase.

 It was during the United States’ first skirmish with Iraq; Sgt slaughter would turn on his country and become an Iraq sympathizer. Hogan, again, would save the day for the good old U.S.A. In the 1990’s when artists started to fight against censorship, the WWF would give us the “Attitude” era. We would be introduced to anti heroes like Stone Cold, Pillman, DX, and the Rock, just to name a few. Wrestling also did this in the early 2000’s when they would give us “The Right to Censor” faction and the Billy and Chuck angle.

 As long as there are scandals, wars, and other major issues that so often happen in this country, pro wrestling will always be there to capitalize of it. I said in the beginning that wrestling will always be around. There will also be people that want to lay it to rest, just like in the past. It’s a back and forth argument that will never end.

The one thing we can always count on though, wrestling will always be looked downed upon and will always be here to stay.