`Pro-wrestling is one of the most underrated and yet one of the most demanding professions on this planet. The recent events of wrestler’s death have underlined it once again.
The pain of dreams is most severe in this particular profession. We always ponder upon how difficult it is to be a pro-wrestler, How much toll it takes on a body. We always mourn the dark side of this business.
On Bleacher report, we have seen masterly articles from Mathew Hester, John Cobbcorn and Mike aka The Professor, which have dwellt upon the severity of being a pro-wrestler.
My article will be on the similar lines, but it will dwell more upon the psychological side here.
There are critics of this sport, who have cited drugs, broken relationships, suicides and murders to allude how unethical this sport is. As educated fans, we know that these tragedies have a reason. That reason lies well in the lives of our dear performers.
Why these tragedies happen is a tricky question. The more important question is why do wrestlers reach that stage.
Pro-wrestling is synonymous with physical pain. Body wears down a bit after every show. Few bumps every night makes the life difficult. Endurance has limits and that is why painkillers remain the only way to escape it.
Wounds inflicted on body are just a tip of the iceberg. The pain comes from deep within. Every single night takes tremendous toll on soul. Body has way to let its pains be known. Mind does not have the same luxury and yet there comes a moment when even a soul would cry.
The body only takes bumps in the ring. The mind on the other hand struggles with the constant pressure, chronic disappointments and taxing dreams. It is broken down mind that paves the way to disaster.
Not every wrestler makes it big, but every wrestler invariably dreams big. Mind you, it is most likely the only business, where dreams are put on a bet and realized by booking.
When a rookie steps into the ring, all he sees is a light at the end of tunnel. What comes afterwards is a tough road. A first glimpse of glory is enough to turn him into an obsessed lover of her. Secondly, performing your flair in front of people has its own kick. It turns into a passion and then finally into an addiction.
Every wrestler goes through the same cycle.
Every day, dream gets bigger but the life remains static. Every day starts with a hope and ends with a routine. After several years, there comes a stage, when mind still hobbles around the same hope and body just could not hold on to it.
If this is not enough to have such a reality, we have another dimension too. Let us see that.
In psychology, experts call gimmick an ‘alter-biography’. It is a well-coined term. Experts agree that alter-biography is way too powerful in pro-wrestling than in any other performing arts. Even in movies, stars live their characters for few hours a day for several months. In other arts, this period is even shorter.
Compare it to the pro-wrestling here. In Pro-wrestling, performers live their characters for more than few years and on each and every day. Indeed, it is essential for the sport. It is the reason we are hooked on to these gimmicks.
However, in reality, wrestlers get absorbed into character much more than we do. Every key-fabe experience their character goes through is lived with equal intensity by the performer. Every emotion that the character goes through is lived by the performer. Consequently, pro-wrestlers go through double turmoil.
There is another aspect of pro-wrestler’s life that is often forgotten by all of us, Family. Many of the performers do have a family. However, the kind of schedule they have makes it complicated. Domestic issues often arise. It is not an exception in the business to have ‘Domestic Violence’ charges leveled performers. Does it do any good? Hell no. It is not only wrestlers but also their family feels the brunt. It all adds to more frustration and despair of already gloomy mind.
The majority of performers experience all the negative aspects that I am discussing here. It is rather a rule rather than exception. Not everybody is John Cena or Undertaker. There are many faces, who wander around without their identity.
They are the ones to fall prey to these vicious resorts. Their soul cries for respite, for serenity. They can heal their bodies somehow, but cannot console their minds. They are the ones, who in the moment of numbness lay their hand on a pot. It is someone of them, who out of sheer despair choose to end the life.
We sit here condemning performers. We call somebody a sell out, somebody a loser. Our society looks down upon these wonderful artists, who have brought joy to millions across the worlds by sacrificing not only their bodies but also their souls. We almost all the time forget that life is always very harsh on that side of the society. No doubt, as a society in general we have ungratefully short memories
I just hope here, some points that made me think, will stimulate you too.
Thanks a lot for reading. If you liked it, then please let be known, and if you hated it even then let me know.
Lastly, I would suggest you to read following articles. Trust me my attempt does not even hold candle to these gems. I tried to search for John Cobbcorn’s article but could find it, Sorry for that one.
By Matthew Hester –
By Mike aka the Professor –