Televised wrestling three familiar names depending on who you ask, professional wrestling, sports entertainment, or phoney wrestling. I advise not to say the latter.
In the near 16 years that I’ve been watching it, there has been many down moments since I started watching it in June 2005, like the death of Eddie Guerrero, the Benoit incident, the fall of WWE’s ECW, bad booking, the fall of the first iteration of NXT, the pandemic altering the way of wrestling in 2020 until the foreseeable future, the recent passing of Brodie Lee, and everything that has happened between 2015 and 2019. But there has been a lot of good things, such as the rise of the new NXT in 2014, its explosion into the limelight in 2017, the WWE Network now becoming a thing, New Japan Pro Wrestling blowing up in the limelight after Wrestle Kingdom 11, the All In event in 2018, the birth of All Elite Wrestling in 2019 and the Wednesday Night Wars, and just the explosion of indie stars popping up in the new big 3 kept me invested in wrestling, even through the darkest times.
Professional wrestling may have its bad matches or really bad shows, but sometimes that’s the weird beauty of wrestling. The best way to describe pro wrestling or sports entertainment, is what the YouTuber EmpLemon said: Wrestling is one of the last bastions of theatre. In today’s time of TV, there’s not a lot of things that are entertaining, or that keep me invested in watching on a frequent basis. While there are other sports like baseball, basketball, football and American football, there’s just something about seeing wrestling that keeps me watching and keeps me coming back, even if the booking is bad, or if there’s too many gimmicky stuff. Even though it’s considered “fake” there’s always something about two or more wrestlers in the ring, putting their bodies on the line for our enjoyment and our entertainment.
Pro wrestling has always been a sport that constantly gets scrutinized by other sport elitists, and while it has been like that for many decades, I’ve always preferred wrestling over any of the other sports. While I do find other sports exciting to watch, wrestling has an aspect that no other sport has: community unity. The pro wrestling community has been a community of fans that have always been something of importance for any wrestling company, or wrestling star to succeed, as it’s the only sport where the companies want to know what it is that the fans want. While other companies like WWE or New Japan Pro Wrestling are rather conservative on who they choose to push to the top of the mountain to be the face of their respective companies, other promotions such as AEW, Ring of Honor, the National Wrestling Alliance, and even Major League Wrestling keep an open ear to the fan reaction on who the fans want to be the top guy of the company. And while there is a massive divide in the wrestling fanbase, as of recent years, it’s been WWE vs The World for a while, there are times where the wrestling community unites, like the untimely passings of Shad Gaspard, Hana Kimura and most recently Brodie Lee, where everyone has called for a full on unity of the wrestling communities, despite the constant wrestling war that is going on between AEW and WWE.
I love pro wrestling because not only is it an entertaining thing to watch on a weekly or a monthly basis, but because there are times where something you watch, can be the most memorable moment you will ever see, and if a wrestler you once loved passed away, you can look back at their careers and see what they were like at their prime.
While it will always be a divisive sport to most, pro wrestling is a sport that has been part of pop culture around the world at some point, and it has been a large part of my childhood that I will never forget.