I applied unsuccessfully for the Hiive The Columnist position. Here’s the article I submitted. I thought it was pretty good:
Here in England professional wrestling has never gotten the respect that it deserves. Despite it’s long history (pro-wrestling has been around in Europe since the 19th century) and it’s undeniable cultural impact it is considered uncouth to mention pro-wrestling in polite society.Cries of “It’s all fake” from critics and it’s sleazy reputation mean that this physically demanding performance art is simply seen as low brow entertainment that can tell us nothing about the human condition. People that are fans of pro-wrestling are often seen as dullards who have not caught on that it is fake. Somehow the art has been tarred by fact that those who most appreciate it are seen as unintelligent. Here’s the thing though; we fans know. It does not matter. We know they aren’t really trying hurt each other (most of the time).
So why does pro-wrestling deserve to be re-evaluated? Because the best wrestling is a beautiful mix acting, physical action and story telling that no other medium can rival when eliciting an emotional response from the audience. Wrestlers often display theatrical skills more often seen in actors or singers. It’s time that these entertainers were given their due credit.
Essentially pro-wrestling promotions are never ending theatre shows that are on the road 300 days a year. Where the actors have to perform, choreograph and often improvise their own stunts while telling a story. A story where the tempo depends on the reaction of the audience. Can you imagine dancers changing the tempo of a performance based on audience reaction? I can’t yet this is something pro-wrestlers do all the time just like a stand-up comedian realising they are bombing and changing the material they are going to do. So I’ve established that pro-wrestlers use some the skills that other respected performance artists do. But is pro wrestling itself art?
Defining art can be a next to impossible task. One dictionary definition is application of creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power. By any measure the best pro-wrestling matches can be seen as being as beautiful and as emotionally powerful as any ballet. If a Jackie Chan fight scene can be appreciated for it’s aesthetic value than so can any Seth Rollins match. Look at the crowd reaction at the final bell of any Wrestlemania main event. It is often the release of pure passion. This weird mix of sports and entertainment can feed the soul.
Art is meant to speak to you and change the way you view the world. Pro-wrestling has the power to do that because ultimately it is medium for telling stories. Often these are primal stories of triumph and failure told with dropkicks and slams. Stories that inspire and enrage. The talented men and women who are professional wrestlers are also professional storytellers. It’s time we gave them the respect all storytellers deserve.