Pro Wrestling: Is It Nerdy?
This is the big season for professional wrestling and in particular for the WWE where they start off the year with The Royal Rumble and it leads up to the Wrestlemania in April. So I thought it would be a good time to talk about what used to be a guilty pleasure of mine. Now I just openly enjoy it and have taken to watching it (and Kristen is actually watching it as well and kind of getting more into it).
Why would you watch wrestling, it’s fake?
That’s probably the most common question about why people would watch wrestling. Yes, it is fake, but it’s the absurd silly story telling and action that make it fun. I enjoy it because of it’s absurdity and because with the action they can actually weave a story that kind of makes sense. It is intense, pulse pumping, action with sections of cringe inducing chunks of dialog and sometimes really awesome dialog.
Why is it Nerdy (or is it even)?
It’s so much like kind of watching someone play a game of Fiasco. It’s insane storytelling, it’s something that you can speculate about. And most nerdy things are stuff that people get very invested into, try and figure out what is going on and what is going to happen. It’s like watching a low level play or movie that unfolds with a whole lot more action, and both of those things can be nerdy things that people can invest themselves in. For those reasons, it’s definitely something that is nerdy or geeky or however you want to put it.
So how do you get started watching it?
That’s a great question. For me, it was seeing some pro wrestling in high school that was on the TV and then watching some in college. But it wasn’t until recently (about August) that I really got back into it again. But how would I recommend starting to watch it? Watch it with someone who is already watching it. There are always story lines that are going on, so there isn’t a great spot to just jump in and get all new stories. Maybe you don’t have someone you can watch it with as everyone else thinks it is dumb (don’t let those people dissuade you if you want to watch it), then you just kind of have to jump into it. I would probably start with watching Smackdown on Tuesdays. It’s a shorter show than RAW the Monday show, and that means it moves faster, has less filler, and has less stories to learn about. The announcers and the production does a good job of touching on the stories that have been told and are being told so that it gets a mini-recap each week.
Who are some of the wrestlers that you need to know or cheer for?
There is no correct answer for that. But here are some of the big names: Kevin Owens, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Chris Jericho, Charlotte, Bayley, Sasha Banks, New Day, Enzo and Big Cass are all on RAW. For Smackdown there is AJ Styles, John Cena, Dean Ambrose, The Miz (and he is awwwwwwwesome), Becky Lynch, Alexa Bliss, The Wyatt Family, Randy Orton. There are legends like The Undertaker, Goldberg, and Brock Lesnar as well. But everyone really picks who they like to watch and who they really enjoy. There is no right or wrong answer and even the people who most people don’t like Roman Reigns there are still people who like him. So spend some time and find who you like and who you don’t.
How do you talk about it?
There’s a reason for this, there is a little vocabulary that you might want to know:
Face/Heel: A face is someone who the crowd is supposed to like, they are the good guy who doesn’t cheat when the wrestle. A heel is someone you aren’t supposed to like. They are a jerk to people, they cheat to win, if they have a title belt, they keep it by questionable means.
Work/Shoot: So, this deals with the promos that the wrestlers do. A work is a semi-scripted to fully scripted series of lines that they deliver. A shoot is not scripted, that’s when two or more wrestlers are giving a promo without a script. The shoots tend to be more interesting, but what the WWE really wants to do is have a work feel like a shoot.
Kayfabe: This is a term that isn’t used all that much anymore, but back when the internet was barely a thing, they really wanted people to believe that it was real, so they would spend all the time and effort trying to get people to think that fake injuries were real, that the wrestlers really did hate each other all the time. It’s not really a thing anymore, people like John Cena does a lot of charity work, he’s in movies, and on television talking about wrestling and promoting it even when he isn’t supposed to be around. Now the story line elements just stay with that.
Then there are all sorts of moves that you’ll learn about eventually.
So why write it now, because it’s the Royal Rumble. It’s the second biggest pay per view event of the year, so it was the right time to talk about it. The Royal Rumble is one of the most fun events of the year if not the most. So if you are wondering about pro wrestling, it’s a great time to start.
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