28 November 2016

Written by Mike Douglas

for Daily Focal

As you may have gathered, or even correctly guessed, I am not 10 years old. Shocker I know!
In fact I haven't been 10 for, well 20 years now. So why do I enjoy watching wrestling? 

I did watch wrestling in the late 90's when the 'Attitude Era' of the then WWF was on TV. I'd watch a review show on a weekend morning, where all the main points or 'spots' would be covered. I enjoyed the larger than life characters, the one liners, the story lines and the occasional match. For me this was around my time in secondary school and the start of my college life. I guess it's a time when you start to develop your own interests but also a time went your interests can change quickly. It did for me, as a young person the attention to wrestling is obvious. I mean the product is being marketed at me and my age group. 
Like most teens that watch my interest faded as friends, studies and life became more important and wrestling seemed more like a child's thing. 

Is watching wrestling your thing?
Over time I would catch the occasional highlight on YouTube, once the Internet was mainstream (o my gosh, feeling old). Without the web, I wouldn't have watched or been exposed to anything wrestling wise for close to 9 years. 

While in Australia I discovered The SteelCage Podcast, which I started to listen to. Hostels and travelling meant I had the time to sit and listen to people talk and I found listening to the SteelCage Team really interesting. Their passion for wrestling, their annoyance at the product. It got me interested again. It was different now though, sure the characters where still important but I found different things interesting. Now I actually cared about the wrestling, not just the 'spots', the story lines are important as before, but I remember more than 4 weeks back and so get annoyed at the lack of continuity. 
Talking to others about wrestling and listening to podcasts and YouTube channels where wrestling is discussed makes me feel like I'm part of a community. So even the things that are annoying are sometimes acceptable. I feel like I stated to watch in a different way. 

I guess I now watch in the way that many watch traditional soaps, I watch for character development, to see the story lines unfold (usually in the predictable way you expect, just like soaps), for the occasional big moment - OK there's no helicopter crashing into a pub, murder marring your mum or crazy birth scene (let's not talk about Mae Young and the hand!). But I get to see men and women perform exciting moves of agility, power, aggression and flexibility. With the added benefit of a cool storyline going on around that match up. 

This scripted fighting is no different to a soap in many ways. So why is it seen as such  a child's thing? Well, as I said the continuity is probably a big thing for regular fans, but the need for silly acts and ridiculous story lines means WWF, now WWE is often seen as 'for children'. This causes many problems for this organisation in particular because they try to be everywhere doing everything. There's former UFC heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar beating people up on the same show as pretty boy Roman Reigns and the Goldpainted Goldust.
WWE tries to be both the child's silly and wacky product as well as a brutal fighting arena adults would watch. That's a hard sell and I think why many don't understand or appreciate the product. 

That being said I enjoy it. I have even found a new wrestling product that I love in Lucha Underground. This Mexican focused TV programme has great story lines, characters and 'spots'. This product embraces its position as a TV show, it doesn't try to be real like WWE do, where you are supposed to think it's all real. Lucha Underground embraces its role as a show. Their performers are actors. This means they can do ridiculous things like have a character with a dragon face and lizard tongue.

Recently I have been pleased to see the role of women on shows like these be...elevated. There are now seen as competitors, athletes and actors. Not as eye candy or a chance to have a toilet break. In fact I write this having just seen Lucha Underground crown a women champion, not of a women's division, she is their Champion! 

Wrestling as a show will always have down sides, occasionally the bests fans will have times when they question if they still want to watch. 
The reason we watch may change, the product we watch may change. 
But I'm pleased to say I have products/programmes I enjoy watching and a big part of those are wrestling. 

We'd love to know...
What are your thoughts on wrestling?
Tell us how wrestling is for kids and why Roman sucks?
(because he does!) 
[Leave a comment] 


  1. Great piece man. It accurately sums up the conversation I have with anyone over 15 as to why I still watch wrestling.

    Roman sucks because we're not stupid and he's so prescribed and in authentic. Good performer if let loose though.

  2. Thanks Ryan (typing this with WCPW on in the background). Glad to hear from a fellow fan.

    Roman is so forced it's ridiculous. The only way it works is if he is turned heel very soon. I'm not sure about the good performer, while he has gone better, he can't act, doesn't sell any move & goes missing in multi man matches...



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