Why Pro Wrestling is an Art Form
Professional Wrestling has been with us since the early 1900s. With many companies starting out and going out of business along the way. While we won’t discuss whether its fake (it’s not it’s predetermined nothing in the ring is fake.) We will discuss my feeling on why it is one of the most visceral forms of art on the planet. One reason it should be considered an art form is how no matter where you live be it the United States, Canada, Ireland, or Japan you can tune in or attend any show, and whether you can speak the language or not you can quickly grasp the premise of the match and chose for yourself if you want to cheer for the face (good guy) or heel (bad guy). Quick tip the wrestlers don’t care as long as your engaged that’s the main point of art, right? To get you engaged ask questions and try to find the meaning behind it.
The biggest argument as to why pro wrestling is art is the choreography so much goes into a match that most people don’t know first and foremost is the training you have to learn how to fall properly you also have to learn how to move your body properly (much like in dancing) and do the moves properly as to not cause unnecessary injuries on the multitude of opponents you will face in your career. Secondly is actually putting the match together these days most companies use producers more often than not these producers are experts in the field of wrestling and sent many years perfecting their craft, these producers help the talent put together how the match will go from start to middle to the end to create the best match possible much like directors in television shows and movies. Another part of the choreography is the Entrance from the way you walk to the music used it is all choregraphed and put together through trial and error and advice, as well as reactions from the crowd when you come out for example Stone Cold Steve Austin used what he called the BMF walk when he came to the ring during the height of his popularity he wouldn’t walk to his car this way or through the mall he thought of what he wanted to project to the live crowd and worked out what would best fit his character, for a more recent example Drew Mcyntire comes out with a sword from Scotland and quite literally stabs it into the stage at the beginning of his entrance, both of these examples have one common thread forethought and trial and error. Another less known part of the choreography of pro wrestling is you are trained to always position yourself on the left whether it’s a clothesline or a vertical suplex, you may be thinking to yourself why is that choreography well its actually quite simple so you can wrestle someone from a different culture that speaks a different language without killing each other.
If comedy and acting is considered art why not Pro Wrestling in the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) you have to memorize your lines and perform them in front of crowds or live tv much like Chris Evans, Robert Downy Jr. And so on, with really no rehearsal and most definitely no retakes, in AEW (All Elite Wrestling) the wrestlers are given free reign of what they want to say more often than not outlining what they want to say so they know where they are trying to go but filling in the blanks to get there live, much like improv. Like live theater Pro Wrestling gets no redo’s while you’re in front of the live crowd and provides you an instant reaction from the people in attendance. While telling age old stories of good vs evil and revenge as well as young men trying to take the spot of the more established stars there’s a little bit of something in pro wrestling for everyone and is universal in its own language which like I stated before translates easily without you knowing the language or not.
The similarities of pro wrestling to all other accepted artforms almost smack you in the face if you’re paying attention the most prevalent of course is martial arts due to the combat nature of pro wrestling and martial arts the only difference is the winner isn’t predetermined and the safety of the wrestler across from you is paramount to the big lie if you will, to dance and gymnastics some of these wrestlers can do amazing things due to the unparalleled athletic ability pro wrestlers have in this day and age.
Now as I climb down form my soapbox here, I will leave you with one last reason pro wrestling could actually fit right into the Olympic games, now you may be thinking alright this guy’s insane hear me out ballet and figure skating have a scoring system to determine who wins the gold silver and bronze and who gave the best performance. This could easily be adapted to pro wrestling now while a match winner and loser would have to be established ahead of time this is where the points system comes in a few examples on what you would score performers on.How the moves looked or crispness, if there were any mistakes or botches (these are always easy to spot) was the story easy to figure out, how did the crowd react (sitting on hands or cheering wildly)?
I am sure Olympic perfectionist are freaking out right now and there are more ways that they would need to score these athletes I truly believe it would be a viable way to introduce it as an Olympic sport as well. If I have not swayed your thoughts on whether pro wrestling is an art form in the most visceral sense let me provide you with a quote from Dustin Rhodes out of his book Cross Rhodes: Goldust, Out of the Darkness, “I try to focus on that one person in the front row who I know doesn’t want to be there. I find him, too, because there is always somebody who comes to the match because his son or daughter is a big fan. That dad isn’t interested. He hates wrestling, and you can see it on his face. ‘This stuff sucks. It’s fake. I can’t wait to get out of here.’ I can see the kids are jumping up and down as the dad sits there, hating every one of those first few minutes. Then, after a move or two, I start to see a little bit of a sparkle, a barely visible twinkle in his eyes. Still, he’s not there yet. He isn’t even close to getting out of his seat, much less getting emotionally involved in the match.
Now this may not have swayed you dear readers and viewers I do hope I have provided you a way to at least look at wrestling just a little bit differently and more of an open mind when a friend or acquaintance tells you the watch pro wrestling, maybe I’ve convinced you to tune in and that all us wrestling fans can ask for really is more eyes on the product we all love.
By Jason McCarthy Sr
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