WWE: Will Pro Wrestling Ever Escape Carny Roots?

Josh McCainSenior Writer IMay 18, 2011

GREEN BAY, WI - JUNE 22:  Vince McMahon (L) and Donald Trump attend 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)
Mark A. Wallenfang/Getty Images

No matter how mainstream Hulk Hogan became in the 80s, or however many wishes John Cena makes come true for kids of the Make a Wish Foundation or even how accomplished Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson becomes as an actor, pro wrestling will always be on the fringe of the mainstream.

There are many instances I can point to, and many cheap jokes perpetrated by late night television or other forms of entertainment, but there is one in particular that, for a lack of a better phrase, has pushed me over the edge.

On last night's Late Night with David Letterman, (as first reported by Pro Wrestling Insider) Letterman did a bit on reasons why he believes Donald Trump would make a good president.

While commenting on Trump's dignity, Letterman showed a clip of Trump attacking WWE chairman Vince McMahon from Wrestlemania 23.

This wasn't just a jab at Trump but at pro wrestling all together.  The point of the clip was to show Trump's lack of dignity and therefore the lack of dignity in pro wrestling.

For too long, pro wrestling has been labeled as entertainment for the poor, uncivilized, carny, redneck folk.

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While this may have been true of pro wrestling's roots, it certainly isn't true today, nor has it been true for quite some time.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not labeling the poor or the rednecks as some pariahs of society, I just think it's wrong that mainstream entertainment lumps all of us wrestling fans in one category.

I'm a huge wrestling fan and I don't consider (nor have I ever considered) myself to be a redneck.  I watch and discuss wrestling with some of my closest friends who are white, black, Hispanic and Asian.

I consider none of them rednecks, either.

As I watch RAW and Smackdown and I see camera shots that pan the crowd, I see fans that are more diverse than any other mass gathering of people at any other sports or entertainment venue.

In my dealings with Twitter (@jomac006, follow me) or here on Bleacher Report, I've discussed wrestling with people of practically all races and genders.

Sometimes we've agreed, other times we haven't, but it's been our diversity that has made our conversations so appealing to me.

We're not a mindless flock of idiots that the mainstream makes us out to be (author's note: not all rednecks are like the stereotypes depicted in the mainstream).

Even with the above mentioned superstars who have transcended from wrestling out into the mainstream, or guys like Scott Stafford who does back-stage interviews for RAW and is also the head sports anchor for NBC 4 News in New York City, wrestling is still shoved to the back of pop culture.

Every now and then, wrestling makes baby-steps into the mainstream. 

I think Chris Jericho being on Dancing With the Stars was a big push.  It allowed a demographic of mostly adult women see a pro wrestler first hand, but also find out that he's highly educated and a loving husband and father.

Who knew these brutish wrestlers were like that.

Unfortunately, for every step pro wrestling takes out of the shadows of wrestling's carny roots, it gets shoved back there by some sort of scandal.

The most recent one (though a few years old) was the Chris Benoit suicide murders.

For all the good-will the WWE had garnered through their charities and work they've done with the USO, it was all gone by the actions of one man.

That happened, in my opinion, because no matter how deep of an in-road pro wrestling makes into the mainstream, the mainstream is just waiting for a reason to kick it back down.

In the end, that's fine with me. In fact, in my grown-up world where I work in a day-to-day bureaucracy, it's nice to be considered an outsider in some way.

Even though pro wrestling will never get the respect it deserves as an entertainment entity, we the millions, and millions of wrestling fans out here appreciate the product, and love it for what it is.

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