I think the majority of the hardcore pro-wrestling fans have come to terms with the fact that the sport as we know it is scripted. Heck even the WWE has changed the definition of what it produces to "Sports Entertainment," yet another step toward the realization that everything we may have held to be true regarding the company was all a lie.
Yet many fans, myself included continue watching and being entertained by the weekly episodes of my favorite shows. Many have trouble understanding why many adult wrestling fans, or perhaps just mature wrestling fans can be entertained by something that pushes itself to be real, when we knowing understand it is not.
I myself have come under criticism for being a wrestling fan, and especially since I am a proud outspoken one. I find most are actually UFC or to a larger degree MMA fans, which seems hypocritical as MMA would probably be nowhere near as successful as it is were it not for the popularity of pro-wrestling years before and even to this day.
Aside from that one of UFC's champions, Brock Lesnar is a former wrestler himself, coming from the same stock as many other athletes they may consider "actors only."
So what is it that entices me, and probably many other pro-wrestling fans? Are we just naive, or gullible? No, but maybe ignorant is a better word, because we know what we are seeing is all a lie, it is all scripted action, yet we ignore it and allow ourselves to be entertained by it.
But is it really that bad? Are we ignorant for enjoying a movie, when we know that the story is false, and the effects are merely computer animations? Are people ignorant for letting themselves enjoy and maybe even sometimes believe in something they know to be untrue?
I think that is exactly why the WWE has differentiated themselves as 'Sports Entertainment' as opposed to just a sport. To convey a credible storyline for the viewers you need more than just an athlete and to perform night after night on such a rigorous schedule, pushing your body to the limit is more than most actors can do as well.
It really is a combination of the two, and perhaps that is why many wrestlers have been able to transition to movies as a result.
But no WWE superstar can be credited with being the sole reason for the WWE's success or even their brands success. No they cannot even be held entirely responsible for their own successes, because the moment they became part of the company they had writers telling them who they were to be, what they acted like and what to say.
The way they moved, to what they said, and even their action in the ring all be partially credited to the behind the scenes writers working for the shows.
Now that's not taking away from the wrestlers, they play their own part, but like any other form of scripted entertainment you need both the leading man, or woman, and the behind the scenes that make it all happen. It is a dichotomy between the two which creates the shows and performances we enjoy.
I think this is the part of wrestling that really draws me in. They perform maneuvers and moves in the ring that in a real fight you wouldn't see. In a real match performing a moonsault or shooting star press is just too risky and time consuming and moves like the hurricanrana would be impossibly difficult to achieve. But the over-the-top action and grandeur of it all is exactly what I am interested in.
And on top of that the stipulations to matches and goings on backstage add to the drama and the excitement to the match. I think if you had the choice between going to an exhibition football game and a championship football game most people would want to see the championship game, because more is on the line, and it would be much more dramatic and exciting.
Wrestling on the other hand can make an exhibition match just as exciting as a title match, I mean for me to choose between a regular title match between JBL and John Cena or a Parking Lot Brawl between the same competitors has me leaning towards the latter. Few regular sports have the ability to do that, save for maybe instances when two teams have a fierce rivalry, such as the Edmonton Oilers and the Calgary Flames.
Yet why does it seem that the writers for wrestling only seem to really push one really good story once or twice a year? Case in point the "Vince is Dead" storyline, where Vince was 'killed' in a car bombing that could have been perpetrated by seemingly anyone. Granted the story was cut short due to other tragic circumstances, but ratings during that time skyrocketed.
And even after the Benoit tragedy they tried to recreate a great storyline surrounding Vince in the story regarding his illegitmate son. This too was a good storyline which had alot going for it, till the inclusion of Hornswoggle. To a lesser degree the "stage accident" which has kept Vince off camera to date was also a good idea, which seemingly went nowhere.
So why don't we have more of these great stories that boost the ratings? You could say that these great storylines are reserved only for times when a seasonal drop in rating is expected, which is about the time Vince's car bombing happened, a few months after Wrestlemania and the hype had died down.
Or could it be that running these storylines consistently would reduce the impact they have on the audience when they do occur. Again another possibility.
Maybe I'm just sick of storylines that seem irrelevant, like Santino and Goldust's feud...or whatever it is they are going for. And maybe I'm just a little tired of storylines that just drop into nothingness, such as Undertaker trying to send Vicki to hell, seems like he wants to make a pit stop in purgatory before doing that.
Or maybe I'm just expecting too much when I get rehashed story ideas thrown at me, as is the case for Kane, Kelly and Randy Orton's love triangle, or the Kane, Lita, Matt Hardy love triangle before that, oh, and the Kane, Tori, X-Pac love triangle that preceded that.
Maybe this is all a part of WWE's plan, have us drowned with boring, confusing and copied over storylines that when they do introduce a new storyline that has greatness written all over it we buy a bigger TV just so we can more fully appreciate it. Or on the other hand maybe Vince or one of his offspring got ahold of a good story and raped it of all that was good and left us with these distorted wrecks.
Or maybe I'm being a little too harsh, not all storylines lately have been bad, the Legacy formation has me interested for what it's worth.
On the whole though I feel that much could be done to improve the stories they concoct. Santino can be used in a comical way, while still being interesting to the mature viewers, as his Intercontinental Title reign proved to many. And sometimes a reused idea can be altered to make it better, although no recent incidents come to mind.
I really believe this is just a lack of trying on some writers parts, as much more can be done with certain individuals than they are currently doing. Especially for individuals not involved in the Main Event, which really becomes apparent when you look at ECW which only has two discernible storylines over the last month, Jack Swagger's rise in the roster and Mark Henry's feud with Finlay and his son.
But then again maybe I expect too much.