Years ago people thought wrestling was real, but nowadays we all know it’s not. The moves you see people do in the ring are genuine, but the outcomes of the matches are generally predetermined. So does that take away from the athleticism? We’re asking whether it’s time we looked at wrestling once more and consider if it should be viewed as a sport.
Fake, fake, fake
The thing that makes sports compelling is not knowing the outcome of the event is before it happens. Picture the Super Bowl, NBA Finals, or the World Series, and you could never truly predict which team is going to come out on top. The same is true of any professional wrestling event, as far as the fans are concerned, but the wrestlers themselves already know who’s going to win.
They still go out and put on a show, but ultimately there won’t be a surprising finale for the athletes as everything in their match will be mapped out. It is choreographed, but it is also still a live performance.
Like dancing, but with fists
Wrestling is a little bit like dancing, where the competitors rehearse their moves and ultimately put on a show. The only real difference is that in a dancing competition, the judges determine the winner, whereas in wrestling, the showrunners predetermine the winner.
The wrestlers’ performances won’t necessarily change much, except the finish, and they still have to make their match exciting for the fans. To make it exciting, they take risks and put their bodies on the line, all in the name of entertainment. In the heat of the moment things can go seriously wrong.
Highly skilled athletes
Few jobs in the world require the dedication to your body that being a professional athlete does. Athletes spend most of their time in the gym, eating the right foods, and recovering from injuries. The same can be said of a professional wrestler who will receive plenty of knocks during their career.
Your average person can’t just turn up and be a great professional wrestler, they have to spend years training to be that good. The years of dedication to learning their craft is very similar to that of professional athletes, and they often follow a developmental program, just like college sports.
Safety is paramount
Wrestlers don’t just go into the ring to throw each other around and make themselves look good. They have to have high levels of skill to make sure they don’t injure their opponents. This is where the choreography is vital, but also the performers need to understand how to do certain moves convincingly.
Wrestlers do simulate real fights, it’s just that they take the edge off their attacks, but they do still attack their opponents. WWE star Brock Lesnar fought for real in mixed martial arts, becoming a UFC heavyweight champion. He knows how difficult the sport is to pull off correctly and spoke about his own wrestling ring he set up at his house.
Lesner said he would invite his guests to check out his ring and they would be tempted to take a body slam from him. The wrestling star said people couldn’t believe how hard the ring floor was and how much the slam hurt. Then they would ask him if he did that all the time, which he did, five times a week.
Wrestlers are human beings, and sometimes there is conflict between them that is real. That can sometimes spill out into the ring and make for a pretty realistic fight as both competitors are trying their hardest to outdo the other. Which is kind of the basic premise of most sports.
Even if the wrestlers aren’t feuding, they are both going out in front of the fans to make themselves look as good as possible. The real secret to professional wrestling, however, is to make your competitor look good.
The excitement is real
Professional athletes love the competition which wrestling is lacking because of the predetermined results. Another thing that professional sportspeople love is to put on a show for their fans, and this is something that professional wrestlers definitely can identify with.
In fact, that’s the main purpose of their profession, to entertain the thousands of people filling up arenas every night. However, the ‘beef’ that athletes have between each other is mostly scripted, and everything they do is mostly for a reaction.
Functioning as a sport
The wrestling business essentially functions as a sport, so some argue that it should be considered one. All roads lead to Wrestlemania as they like to say in the WWE, and that event is like the Super Bowl, or World Cup final to the wrestling community.
Wrestlemania is the end of the season for professional wrestlers in the WWE, where their entire year’s worth of work comes down to one performance. Just like in real sports, the fans will not know who will be crowned champion until the contest is over.
Wrestling was once considered a sport but distanced itself from that label once it became known the matches outcomes were predetermined. The stars put themselves in just as much danger as other professional sportspeople, but maybe should only be considered athletes. Wrestlers are impressive, but once you know the results aren’t real, it takes the magic out of it for most people.