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Yes, I Know it's Fake

I have a love for many things. A good movie (Raiders of the Lost Ark), a good book (any of the Dark Tower books that I have read so far.  Currently at book 4 of 7), a great video game (Super Mario Galaxy 2), a great TV show (Lost) get the idea. But there is one thing that I have a love for. Something that people roll their eyes whenever it is mentioned. Something that is shown on Mondays, Fridays, and the monthly Pay Per View. Some of you know by now what it is that I am talking about. Others are likely wondering what the hell I'm talking about. Then there are the ones who don't give a damn either way. I am of course talking about the awesomeness that is professional wrestling.

"Oh great." you say as you roll your eyes, "You are aware that it is fake right?"

Yes, I am brutally aware of the fact that professional wrestling is fake. I am aware that the wrestlers are essentially glorified stuntmen. I am aware that the outcomes are pre-planned, and YES, I am aware that wrestling has been considered the decline of our society...

BUT consider this...

While wrestling is considered to be fake as the storylines and rivalries are completely scripted, much of the injuries that the wrestlers have endured are very real. I don't mean the cuts that suddenly appear on their foreheads. They do that to themselves. It is a technique called "blading" and they pre cut themselves shortly before a match and put Vaseline on the cut to hide it, or during a match shortly before they take a "vicious" attack to the head. No, I mean other injuries. Injuries that can be so devastating that they leave a wrestler permanently scarred, both physically and at times emotionally.

Take Mick Foley for example. One of my favorite wrestlers, not because he can take a good hit and sell it to the point that it genuinely looked painful, but rather that he is a funny guy, and a very eloquent writer. His injuries are so extensive that it's amazing that he still does what he does. A laundry list of injuries that include: Two-Thirds or his right ear missing, Eight concussions, A Broken cheekbone, A Separated Right shoulder, Second degree burns on his right arm and shoulder, Two herniated discs, bone chips in right elbow, A broken right wrist, Torn abdominal muscle, Torn meniscus, Nose broken twice, broken jaw, a dislocated left shoulder, a fractured left shoulder, a broken left thumb, five broken ribs, a bruised kidney, a broken toe, and he has had to get over 325 stitches throughout the course of his career.  I am sure there have been more injuries sustained over recent years but still, that's pretty devastating.

Needless to say, he has endured much during his career. This is part of the reason I watch wrestling. These guys, put their bodies on the line on a constant basis. As evidenced above, these injuries are very real. So much so that several of my favorite wrestlers are no longer wrestling, or even no longer with us. They take suffering for your art to an entirely different level. I have tremendous amount of respect for the wrestlers as they do this for the entertainment value. I must say, for the most part, they put on a hell of a show.

Which brings me to my other reason for watching wrestling; the spectacle and showmanship that the wrestlers put on just to get to the ring.  These guys and ladies are larger than life on screen and we the audience love them all the more for it.  The trash talk that they do to each other in what is called a "promo" can be extremely entertaining and funny.  It also helps move the story along.  The way they are depicted as characters of almost mythical proportions makes the show all the more entertaining. After all is said and done however, they are relatively normal people, with wives and families.

 If you were to ask me who my favorite wrestlers are, I would have to say the previously mentioned Mick Foley who was incredible at taking extreme amounts of punishment during his heyday is a definite favorite.  The Rock for his trash talking skills and simply magnetic ring personality is another one of mine.  Stone Cold Steve Austin is pretty awesome too.  Favorite Old School wrestlers include Hulk Hogan, Macho Man Randy Savage, Andre the Giant, Bret The Hitman Hart, KoKo B. Ware, and the Bushwhackers.  I don't watch as much as I used to a few years back, but I must say that Triple H and Rey Mysterio Jr. are two of my favorites now.  I also have to give mention to the one Pay Per View that I will always go out of my way for every year and that is the Royal Rumble.  I absolutely love the actual rumble itself as it is a constant surprise and one of the most entertaining hours of TV that one can get away with seeing.  It really is fun.  Even non wrestling fans will get into it from how fun it is.      

So, next time you happen to find yourself flipping through the channels on your TV, and you happen to come across a wrestling show, (specifically a WWE or TNA) give it a chance. You might actually end up liking it...Or you might (like my wife) end up watching it because you like the muscled up guys...if that's your thing.

In Roland Barthes uber-intellectual book Mythologies, the first essay is about French professional wrestling, which he points out is not fake: it's staged.

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