Pro Wrestling: How It Has Survived Over 100 Years

Matthew HesterSenior Writer IAugust 25, 2010

There is one thing that I have noticed throughout my lifetime as a wrestling fan. I can always count on people putting pro wrestling to its grave.

The funny thing is I used to believe in that nonsense. Yet time and time again, these people were always proven wrong.

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 worst-case scenario for a second, folks. Even if WWE and TNA both folded at the same time, wrestling would still survive.

When wrestling was proven to be fake in the 1920s, 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.

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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.

I just would start of by saying 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 fairs or circus. It was an instant draw that would help sell tickets for years.

Back in those times carnies, always protected their product much like they did their sideshows. While it is true that there were indeed “Shoot matches,” these rarely did happen.

In fact, the only time they did happen was when there was a grudge match to settle. Other than those rare occasions, it was always fixed.

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 '20s, the major sports would get their wish. It would be made known to the public that wrestling was indeed a sham.

It was thought for the first time that it would finally be the end for pro wrestling.

To the other sports' surprise and dismay, it survived. Whether it was because people were slow taking in this newfound info, or they just didn’t care. Pro 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.

Although, it should be pointed out that to the NWA traditionalists, the NWA started in the 20’s. The NWA 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 asked 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 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 were any crises or problem going on in the country, you can bet somewhere wrestling would put an angle on it.

In the '40s, wrestling would often use the world wars as its base to generate heat amongst the fans. Of course the blond-haired, blue-eyed babyface would always save the day for the good old U.S.A.

During the '50s, 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 1950s, like in baseball, pro wrestling broke the racial barrier lines, by having Bobo Brazil beat Buddy Rogers to become the first black man to hold the NWA title.

This is a trend that would follow all throughout wrestling’s history.

Wrestling has always found a way to sink their teeth into us and make us watch. Even though people knew it was fake, they still couldn’t turn away.

Even as late as the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s, 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.

Also 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 antiheroes like Stone Cold, Brian 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.

You can bet your bottom dollar that 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.

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