How Pro Wrestling Prepared Me For The 21st Century

As I may have mentioned on this blog before, I grew up watching professional wrestling.

When I was around 7 or 8 years old, it was pretty amazing to see heavily-muscled, fantastically-named guys like the super-heroes I read about in comic books – whether good guys (The Dynamite Kid) or bad (The Mongolian Stomper, The Cobra) – battling each other on TV each Saturday afternoon.

I eventually realised wrestling was fake (the preferred term for those in the industry is “scripted”) but have continued to be a fan, off and on, ever since.

One of the reasons I remained a fan is that the sport offers all kinds of appeal beyond that childhood appeal to comic book reading fans.  Though scripted, I enjoy the athleticism of the wrestlers.  I enjoy the soap opera-esque storylines (some call wrestling “a soap opera for men” although obviously, the sports is enjoyed by many women too.)  I like that it’s a sport where the participants regularly interact with fans, before, during and after matches and this interaction often becomes part of the show.

As I learned more about wrestling and the behind-the-scenes terminology, one of the concepts I came across was the idea of something being “a work” – eg. anything that is planned to happen.  (In wrestling, the opposite is a “shoot” where somebody goes off script and says or does something that wasn’t planned in advance.)  This also leads to the concept of the “worked shoot” where something is done to look like it wasn’t planned but actually was to add controversy or interest or whatever.

The point being that an early introduction to the skepticism needed to be a wrestling fan has helped give me tools to navigate our meme-driven, 21st century reputation economy.

A couple recent examples…

Which is all to say that I’m not claiming that being a wrestling fan has made me immune to these hoaxes.  But I do think it’s given me a level of skepticism that I realise everything is potentially a “work” as well as an ability to appreciate a good “work” – whether done by a news outlet, a web site, a clothing company or whatever – both useful skills to have.

Comments 2

  1. Jordan wrote:

    I thought you were going to say something about how the boss always screws over his workers.

    Posted 13 Mar 2014 at 11:57 am
  2. HeadTale wrote:

    That too! 😉

    Posted 13 Mar 2014 at 5:53 pm

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