Professional wrestling doesn’t get enough credit

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Photo by Miguel Discart via Wikimedia Commons

Professional wrestling is pre-determined.

There’s just no doubt about it. There are aspects of pure athleticism in pro-wrestling but their outlandish storylines make for entertainment. There’s a term for that and it’s called “sports entertainment.” In fact, it’s in the name of the world’s largest wrestling promotion, the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).

Many will argue that pro-wrestling has done so much throughout the years to ever be taken seriously again and they’re absolutely right. It will probably take years of rebuilding until they gain the respect from sports critics. It goes as far as to debating if pro-wrestling should be considered a sport of not. Whether one chooses to believe it’s fake or not, pro-wrestling doesn’t get the credit it deserves. What a lot of people fail to realize is that those are real people in the ring performing and taking bumps every night that the human body shouldn’t. Below are some crucial points to remember before disregarding pro-wrestling as a whole:

Athleticism

And your NEW #Women'sChampion #RawDallas 👑 #2ndNature

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Undoubtedly, pro-wrestling requires a lot of skills such as physical strength, endurance, stamina and ability. These individuals train just as much and, if anything, harder than most professional athletes as their routines require much more physical exertion. If one could ask themselves, could Tom Brady or LeBron James do half of what pro-wrestlers do, what would their response be? Look at it this way, pro-wrestlers have more in common with gymnastics, which is considered a sport that also has choreographed routines.

Developmental

Much like the rookies of the NBA, NFL and MLB, pro-wrestlers go through years of extensive training to develop themselves physically and mentally. It takes a lot of willpower to push oneself to be able to believe they can become the next big thing. WWE caters to a bunch of new and promising talent at their Performance Center shaping up a new era. These individuals not only build their fictional characters but themselves as an athlete and person.

Wellness

It’s not uncommon for any athlete to stumble upon steroids. Anyone is capable of taking steroids and aside from baseball players pro-wrestlers seem to take the most blame on usage. There have been many cases where a pro-wrestler was linked to steroids and most promotions have their talent undergo wellness exams just like other major national leagues and receive suspensions for it. A lot of skeptics just find it hard to believe an individual can work and train so hard to achieve the outstanding physique a pro-wrestler carries.

No off-season

Wrestling never stops. The lifestyle of a pro-wrestler is almost fully 24/7. In addition to being thrown into the spotlight, these individuals travel on a daily basis from thousands of miles on the road and in the air, they more than likely don’t receive a vacation longer than a week and only two out of seven days a week off. This can add to physical exhaustion onto the body and mind. Not to mention, WWE programming does not have an off-season. These individuals work close to 300+ days a year.

Injury prone

It’s simple. Pro-wrestlers are much more susceptible to injuries than most sports athletes. One wrong move can cost a wrestler not only their career but their life. Many infamous signature moves have been banned to protect the talent. This should be one of the strongest points in defending wrestling except sometimes injuries turn out to be part of a storyline. It is entertainment after all but when it’s real it’s real.

For example, first ever Universal Champion, Finn Bálor, sustained a 180* labrum tear, a torn bicep and pectoral tendon, cartilage damage and a fracture to the glenoid neck socket early in the main event of SummerSlam 2016 and still finished the match.

Competitiveness

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Photo Credit: WWE.com

Pete Dunne in his WWE tryout in Glasgow, Scotland

Others argue that the reason as to why professional wrestling isn’t a real sport is due to the lack of competition, thus leading to the probable reasoning to it being fake. While, that is apparent in aired programming, as most winners are pre-determined, there actually is a sense of competition in the world of pro-wrestling. Before arriving into the big leagues, most talent go through extensive tryouts and compete for years all over the world in high school gyms, bingo halls and backyards in hopes of being noticed. There are agents who scout talent from all over the world and invite them for an opportunity to tryout.

Talent

Aside from the athleticism, it’s not just about being the biggest guy in the room or who can jump the highest, it’s important for the individual to possess real talent. It does no one any good if a man can lift three guys but can’t deliver a convincing promo on the mic. Pro-wrestlers can be compared to actors and actresses as they have a script to go by but what most don’t know is that the majority of the time the talent ad libs each segment and practice their ability to stand in front of a camera and audience to deliver a believable promo.

Wrestling is a sport in the audiences’ eyes

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Photo Credit: WWE.com

“Shocked Undertaker Guy” embodies the entire WWE Universe after witnessing The Undertaker’s Wrestlemania winning streak come to an end at Wrestlemania 30 in New Orleans, LA. 

Half of the time the audience doesn’t know the outcome of a match and will appear as a true contest. The term sport is defined as “an activity that involves physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment. Technically, the audience witnesses both athletics and competition resulting in, sometimes not clear, a winner and a loser.” Pro-wrestling may lack true competition on its programming but much like gymnastics and cheerleading, the routine is pre-determined and it lies on the execution of the individual that entertains us all. If there’s one thing that can be accounted for as real it’s fan reactions.

It’s not fake, it’s pre-determined

On March 2015, YouTuber Max Landis released a parody/short film about how much pro-wrestling has in common with other forms of entertainment and what wrestling actually is. This video serves as the perfect response to someone claiming wrestling is fake.

The pre-determined aspect of pro-wrestling shouldn’t be the reason as to why it shouldn’t be respected. Where does the world draw the line and give credit where credit is due? In the end, in every sport – football, baseball, basketball, soccer, tennis, wrestling – all have one goal and that is to entertain.

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