“Live tonight, an Inferno match between the Undertaker and Kane! Plus, an evening gown match, the loser gets stripped down to their panties and bra!” What kind of show would produce such insane events? Does America really care to see these events take place? Not only is this type of show acceptable, but it has become a cultural phenomenon. Some people may say “That must be some sort of filth found on the Spice channel!” However, this phenomenon is known as professional wrestling.
Why do Americans accept this form of entertainment, even if they know it is morally incorrect?
Currently, professional wrestling among males and females of all ages is extremely popular across America. Wrestling fans participate in the phenomenon when attending wrestling events, live or televised, wearing clothing depicting wrestlers or wrestling organizations, as well as by communicating with other wrestling fans. There are numerous wrestling magazines which a fan can purchase to learn more about the sport spectacle, and millions of various collectibles and toys connected to professional wrestling have been sold since the sport gained tremendous popularity in the mid-1980s.
Wrestling fans can even surf the web and find results, biographies, pictures, interviews, and news on all of their favorite wrestlers and organizations.
Professional wrestling has always been labeled as entertainment for “Rednecks” or some obscure group of individuals. People always considered wrestling “fake” and mindless, suitable for those with “simple minds.” However, the popularity of wrestling has exploded over the last three years and captivates audiences of all ages. As of late, “WWF Raw” by the World Wrestling Federation is the most popular show on cable television. If a person were to examine the underlying images that are being portrayed in the programs, they may be surprised to learn just exactly what attracts so many to the screen. The World Wrestling Federation contains life-like storylines that continue for several weeks, very similar to daytime soap operas. The violence, attitudes, language, and sexual material in pro-wrestling are all clearly used to capture the minds of the audience.
The World Wrestling Federation takes life-like topics and turns them into “angles” that involve several different wrestlers. Some of the topics that have been used include a “disgruntled employee getting revenge on his boss,” a “wrestlers’ obsession with sex,” a controversial cancer angle, “a wedding turned wrong,” a wrestler grabbing the genitals of an opponent, and even “drunken old women fighting each other.” In my opinion, the angle involving cancer, although a real-life topic, should not have taken place. Too many people have loved ones who suffer with cancer, and it just was not appropriate to portray this on television. Nonetheless, in this angle, the father of a wrestler (The Big Show) is diagnosed with cancer. However, another wrestler (Big Boss Man) does many evil things to make the life of the Big Show miserable.
The Boss Man sends a messenger to the Big Show telling him his father is dead, when in reality, he is not. Eventually, the Big Show’s father dies, and a funeral is planned. The funeral is held outside, which set up a very disturbing, but strangely funny scene. As the Big Show is mourning the loss of his father, the Boss Man drives a car through the funeral, and hits the Big Show. The Boss Man ties the casket to the back of his car, and proceeds to drive away, with the casket dragging behind. The Big Show gets up and sees this, and jumps on the moving casket.
Up until this point, the cancer angle seemed very serious and sad, but having the Big Show “casket surfing” lightens the mood. Revenge will be sweet, as the Big Show will end up beating the Boss Man to a bloody mess. In reality, none of this is true, but the whole story is extremely shocking, and draws the attention of many. The topics are even more outrageous than an episode of the “Jerry Springer” show. This type of entertainment has attracted millions of loyal fans, and extremely high cable ratings on Monday and Thursday nights. Professional wrestling ranks second just behind “Monday Night Football” in the Nielsen Ratings.
Although this type of outrageous behavior may upset many people, it is accepted widely and enjoyed by millions of teenagers and adults across America. People in America have become desensitized to sex and violence by having organizations such as the WWF making it appear “O.K.” on television. Although it is immoral and not yet accepted by society, pornography is rampant in America, with strip clubs and porn shops situated in the same areas as family shopping centers. Violence can be seen everywhere, especially in the evening news.
Wrestling takes the two biggest topics of American society, and turns them into a two hour show. Americans accept this and are willing to watch or pay to see the action. Although many wrestling fans such as myself view the show and see it as pure entertainment, there are many more people who believe what they see. Sadly, these type of people make up a large portion of wrestling fans. Because of this, many nations see Americans as “ignorant” and “shallow.”
Critics claim that wrestling is a “Cultural Phenomenon” which embodies all of the negative aspects of American culture. People who are willing to watch a man rolling around in feces or someone falling twenty feet from a cage into a wooden table instead of doing something that could be potentially productive does not say much for American society. Opponents of professional wrestling may also say that the direction and values of American culture are quickly deteriorating, in part, due to a cultural phenomenon such as professional wrestling. As long as Americans demand instant gratification and the quick fixes of raunchy entertainment, phenomena such as wrestling will be around to act as mindless distractions from the real world.
The critics of wrestling have not stopped its tremendous success across the world. Wrestling can be seen as a form of entertainment, just as movies and sports represent the same kind of enjoyment to viewers. Wrestling is not the cause of society’s deterioration, as it is meant to please viewers across America. One form of entertainment is not going to cause American society to crumble.
Wrestling used to represent “good guy vs. bad guy.” Times have changed, and now, everyone cheers for wrestlers such as “The Rock” and “Stone Cold Steve Austin” who portray qualities that the fans appreciate. The Rock is extremely popular, due to his “coolness factor.” Everytime he gets on the microphone, he promises to “Lay The Smackdown on Someone’s Candyass” and things of that nature. He always praises the fan’s, and considers himself the “People’s Champion.” Because of his popularity, it doesn’t matter if he wrestles a “good guy” or a “bad guy.” Fans like someone they can cheer, but would not cheer someone who appears corny, like a “superhero” type character.
Professional wrestling never has any repeats, and always keeps a fresh, new storyline. That may be the biggest reason why people keep tuning in to this phenomenon. When it comes down to watching either a rerun of “Ally McBeal” or a live “WWF Raw,” many people would choose to watch something new, such as “WWF Raw.” American society is constantly evolving, and over time, all people need to accept the changes that it goes through, whether positive or negative.
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