An ode to professional wrestling

by Adnan Bašić / Head Copy Editor

Kushida delivers a German suplex to Johnny Gargano at NXT Takeover: Vengeance Day. Photo courtesy of WWE.com”

Being a college student isn’t the most fun thing in the world.

There are stresses that have to be dealt with on a daily basis. From classwork to actual work, balancing school with everyday life is a challenge that all students have to deal with. Then there’s the fact that we’re all living through a horrific pandemic at the moment, so everything can start to take a toll on a brain that is still developing.

At this time, you need to make sure you give your brain some occasional breaks. Sitting back and relaxing is absolutely crucial to making sure you don’t go bonkers, which is why everyone’s got their respective guilty pleasures.

Mine is professional wrestling.

Inherently wacky, there’s just some sort of magic when it comes to watching wrestling. Many watched the product, specifically WWE, when they were younger and believed all the violence and action seen on TV was genuine. Once they figured out the truth, though, their attention turned elsewhere.

Oddly enough, I never got into wrestling as a child. However, I eventually got curious about what was going on as I got older, and I became a fan for a few years. I trailed off for a bit, but in the spring of 2017 my friend hosted a watch party for that year’s Wrestlemania, the WWE version of the Super Bowl. That’s what I needed to find myself back in the wrestling world, and that’s where I’ve been ever since.

Being a wrestling fan at this age usually leads to the same sort of questions being asked. “Don’t you know that it’s all fake?” “Why don’t you watch legitimate fighting like MMA?” “What’s wrong with you?”

The scripted nature of wrestling is what allows it to shine, though. Sports fans know the painful feeling of getting excited for a game only for it to be a boring one all too well. Either one team gets blown out the water or neither manages to excite in any regard. My friends and I still think about how bad Super Bowl 53 was, as the New England Patriots beat the Los Angeles Rams by a measly 13-3 scoreline.

That rarely happens in wrestling. Since the wrestlers and others involved are able to plan a match ahead of time, they can craft a story that keeps fans invested throughout. They don’t always succeed, but when things click then it’s an absolute joy to watch.

Even when wrestling is bad, it can be hysterical. WWE tries to be funny from time to time, but sometimes they accidentally do things that make viewers like myself laugh uncontrollably.

I’ll never forget one Monday night. I was watching wrestling after a long day of school, and I was fighting a headache and general tiredness. Then, in the blink of an eye, my spirits were lifted. A group of wrestlers who debuted beforehand had just been given names, which were T-Bar, Mace, and Slapjack. I could not stop laughing. “They named a  mother*expletive* Slapjack” was what I kept thinking to myself and was what I told my friends through tears of happiness. When he was slammed to the mat, the commentator said something akin to “a flapjack to Slapjack” which only restarted the unbridled laughter. 

Bad Bunny poses with the 24/7 Championship alongside Damien Priest. Photo courtesy of WEE.

It’s this joy that wrestling brings that keeps me tuning in.

Watching wrestling is not complicated. It’s not a critically acclaimed television show or blockbuster film that has to be viewed with a keen eye at all times. You can just turn your brain off while seeing the action unfold and let your instincts take control. Has that man really been knocked unconscious due to a flying kick to the face? No, of course not, but it certainly looks like he has.

If you can maintain a suspension of disbelief, and not take it so seriously, then you’ll have a lot of fun.

Wrestling has even allowed me to become a fan of other figures in pop culture. Before the end of January, I barely knew who Bad Bunny was. I knew he was a Latin artist that was in that one commercial with Snoop Dogg, but that was it. That changed when he started appearing in WWE. Performing one of his songs during the Royal Rumble pay-per-view event, Bad Bunny then started interacting with wrestlers backstage before getting involved in the action around the ring.

Now, he’s the 24/7 Champion – a minor championship in WWE – and he even brought the title belt with him when performing on Saturday Night Live in mid-February. Celebrity appearances in wrestling aren’t always successful, but Bad Bunny’s work as of late has made me a fan of him even if I don’t understand any of his songs.

It’s kind of concerning to think about just how much wrestling I watch on a weekly basis. There are three shows that I consistently watch, one of which is three hours long with the other two being two hours long each. That’s not even counting the occasional pay-per-view event, which is always longer than two hours and can go as long as five and a half hours. All things considered, that’s a lot of wrestling.

 Long may it continue.



Categories: Arts & Entertainment

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