People can and will poke fun at me for this statement and quite frankly I don’t care. Dictionary.com defines sport as “an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of competitive nature, as racing, baseball, tennis, golf, bowling, WRESTLING, boxing, hunting, fishing, etc”. Now I’m sure the wrestling that is referred to here is USA Wrestling, mainly meaning Greco-Roman and Freestyle amateur wrestling. But why not pro wrestling?
It takes a lot of time to perfect your skill no matter what you do, whether it is in wrestling, cheerleading, chess, or even competitive video gaming. While there isn’t a lot of physical prowess involved for chess or video games, it takes a lot of skill and strategy to be good in a competitive way. In professional wrestling, it takes a lot of time, practice, sacrifice and a passion to do what you do and to do it well. The men and women you see on television, whether it be on the Independent scene, ROH, TNA, Lucha Underground, or WWE, have spent countless hours to perfect their skill to bring them to the masses.
There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that professional wrestling is physical in nature. I always get angry when people say that pro wrestling is “fake”. Why is it fake? What is your definition of fake? Is it only because the performers know who is going to win, lose or otherwise beforehand? Tell that to those like Daniel Bryan, who was forced to retire because of a long string of injuries over the years. Explain that to Edge, who was also forced to retire because of a past neck injury that came back to haunt him after many years of taking bumps on the mat, falling off ladders, going through tables, taking chair shots, among other physical aches and pains of the pro wrestling lifestyle. Please tell Droz that wrestling is fake! He’s spending the rest of his life in a wheel-chair after an accident that occurred in the ring during a match. You can also talk to John Cena, Seth Rollins, Tyson Kidd, and Cesaro, who are currently rehabbing their injuries to return to the profession that they chose to undertake. Also, explain that sentiment to past wrestlers like Arn Anderson, Lita, Santino Marella, Terry Funk, Mick Foley, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, and many others who have been injured within the squared circle.
Along with the dangers, many wrestlers also spend countless hours in the gym. It is another physical activity done to keep them in shape, in order to keep up with the constant lifestyle of being a full time professional wrestler. Don’t football players do the same thing? If memory serves me right, baseball players do the same thing, along with many of them playing winter baseball in their countries of origin. That takes a toll playing baseball pretty much all year around. It’s amazing that those opposed to professional wrestling blindly take the physical part of it out of the equation.
Professional wresting is also very competitive. You’ll hear it all the time in interviews from those of wrestling’s past on how competitive it was to try and have the match of the night, or how the competitive nature of the locker room made better performers out of the wrestlers on the roster. It’s also one of those things, in that if you haven’t experienced it, it’s hard to explain to someone who looks down upon wrestling how competitive it can get. You can even look at the Independent scene. It’s extremely competitive to get your name out there, in order to get a spot on as many wrestling cards as possible. Then once you get there, it’s a competition with yourself and your opponent in order to maintain your spot. You’re not only trying to protect one another within those four posts, but also to make yourself valuable by getting booked there again. You’re also trying to earn your spot on someone else’s card if they see your footage of what you can do to make those promoters want you.
Wrestling, as we know, have fixed outcomes. This secret has been out for years, and yet, people still watch it and treat the art form as a sport anyway. For example, let’s look at boxing. In the definition previously mentioned, boxing is another sport of great skill and physical prowess. Boxing is also the center of controversy of many decisions when a fight goes the distance and doesn’t go the way the fan or analyst saw how it should have gone. A good example I could reference to is the 1990 fight between Julio Cesar Chavez vs. Meldrick Taylor. Taylor lead in the score cards throughout the fight and even scored a clean knockdown at one point. When the fight had ended, the man’s hand that was raised was not the clear winner in Meldrick Taylor, but the opposition in Julio Cesar Chavez. Many claim that the referee Richard Steele awarded the fight to Chavez because Steele always favors Don King promoted fighters and Julio Cesar Chaves was in the Don King camp. Seems fixed to me!
Recently, a scandal has arisen where a lot of tennis matches have been fixed throughout the years in the wake of the most the most recent Australian Open Tournament. Now, I’m going to be fishing in the conspiracy theory waters, as on a Twitter account titled “NFL IS RIGGED”, it had claimed that, via sources from the owners’ meetings, it was decided the Seahawks and Patriots were to play in the Super Bowl, with the Patriots winning the game. Those claims were made in July and this Twitter page no longer exists. There are many more I could go in to, but it will be the same point I’m be getting to; professional wrestling has fixed outcomes. Why is it that pro wrestling isn’t taken serious as a sport, whereas leagues and supposedly real sports like the NFL, Tennis, and even Boxing get a pass?
The purpose of this article is to educate. The goal is to make those who look down upon wrestling think. Having been a pro wrestler and within the environment of a locker room, I have seen a lot in such little time. I have seen a wrestler shatter his kneecap coming off the top rope diving on to a group of men during a match. I have also seen guys busted open the “hard way” and had to go to the hospital to get stitched up, myself included. I have also seen people not invited back, because they couldn’t perform the way the promoter had expected to, as well as an argument that had ensued after the fact. Physicality, skill, and competitive are three words described for sports. It is entertainment, the hazards are real, but these men and women deserve your respect for taking part of the SPORT known as PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING!