The Art They Once Called Wrestling


The Art They Once Called Wrestling - How mainstream media, society and one man's proven power have changed the grappling scene, by Harald Hofer

WRESTLING.... Yes, two man go one on one, trying to beat each other up with a variety of moves, weakening each other and trying to pin the opponents' shoulders to the canvas for the three count or make him submit with bonecrushing submission holds. In the heat of battle someone can be disqualified, counted out... The history and destiny of the sport always put warriors to the test, who either portrayed good or evil. That's classic wrestling, aaaahhh the memories.

Come on, fellas, wake up!! Is it still the same? Let's go inside and think about it for a minute... Well, good vs. evil still is what it's all about, but can you testify from the cheers who is the good guy and who's the bad? If your are not used to today's storylines the WWE is dishing out, you surely gonna have some second thoughts!

Wrestling changed, folks, just like everything in our world. Just watch the news, can you tell me who is on the good side of the fence, and who's not? Not always an easy task. I don't want to be a badmouthing pessimistic, but the world is corrupt. You all know the Bin Ladens, the Saddam Husseins and the El Qaida.. You know, that those are the bad, but can you tell me, who's good?? George W. Bush? The European Community?? Arnold Schwarzenegger (my fellow countryman)?? You'd certainly root for them, but the borders have disappeared and there are many times, when you cheer the wrong guy! Many times, you can compare politics with wrestling and the people, who play a big part in the game which has been modified to Sports Entertainment many years ago..

And that's, where our fun society is heading to. There are no rules anymore, there is no level, when the people just say, STOP! Today's "educated" society has got a job, earns money and is in the position to spend the money. And for the well earned money, they want every single penny well invested for the entertainment, their heart beats.

When talking about entertainment in the squared circle you will automatically talk about one of those "yankee" promoters at one point of time. Vincent K. McMahon jr., the godfather of wrestling, the maestro of sports entertainment, the mate with the thick bank account? Really? Right now, I can hear the boos from avid wrestling fans, who want to piledrive me into next week for those praises! Some people will cry FOUL when hearing McMahon's name. True?

Let's put some light on the story. Back until the early 80's, wrestling was divided into many territories, each one had his head honcho, and of course local heroes, enhancement talent and it's own fan base. It was cool to watch the grapplers from the Portland region, Mid South or Mid Atlantic. It was hip to attend cards in St. Louis or Florida. But those folks lived on borrowed time, because the wrath of wrestling came straight up from New York. The WWWF and Capitol Wrestling were under the tutelage of Vince McMahon sr., who realized in the early 80's, that his days were numbered, so he sold great parts of his company to his son, Vince McMahon jr. The young announcer had his own visions, and as we all know, they came true in record time. It was a win or lose situation for him, and he went out with full steam, getting rid of the competition and he ended the old school way of territory wrestling faster, than Dave Hebner can count to three. So it was bell time for a lot of folks, who just "didn't have the balls" to face the upcoming McMahon. First get the boss and then get a hold of his talent he once had under contract.

After the smoke cleared, and it was a thick wall of smoke, McMahon put his own stamp of approval to his new toy called "changing the wrestling world forever". After his success with Wrestlemania I, he went out tooth and nail and slowly but surely took the magic out of the sport. Rumors were coming up, that wrestling is fake, well how can you blame the people. When referring yourself as the "simple excellence in sports entertainment", you knew, that something was fishy here. Just watch his boys. It was not enough to enter the ring in trunks, no, you had to portray a certain character. The more colorful, the better. Sometimes really ridiculous. OK, now you had entertainment. The matches became drastically shortened, the variety of moves decreased and the secret of Kayfabe was exposed to the public in record time. Now, why call it entertainment? To please the wrestling fans? No, simply to save the piece of the cake, that wanted to have the athletic state commission. Ah, there you go. We don't beat each other up to bloody pulps for nothing, the matches are choreographed and the wrestlers are involved in so-called storylines, that tell you, that wrestler A is fighting wrestler B and why they are doing that.. But hey, he fans are not dumbfounded! If the matches are pre-determined, let's give 'em more of the action. They don't want those 60-minutes broadways, they want fast paced actions. Who the hell needs a cradle suples or an old fashioned back breaker, when your boss is easing up the rulebook and allows you to smash your opponent through some tables, or whack him silly with a steel rod? Remember the good old days, when wrestler A would hit wrestler B with a chair with the ref paying attention. Ring-a-ding, bell time. "Ladies and gentlemen, the winner, as a result of a disqualification..." Yeah, you name it.

And that's another part, where the modern society has great influence in wrestling. In the past, you tried whatever you could to achieve your goals with hard and often clear cut work. You did everything which was in the rule book to earn your spot. Nowadays, it's just the opposite. You charge your rivals, in any shape or form. Hey, who cares about doing it the right and legal way?? "Win" is the name of the game, and if you can't win fair, cheat!! That's why the world has been getting colder and colder, and that's why former idols have lost the value. We need speed, we need determination and a good portion of evilness inside to climb the ladder of success. Same goes for wrestling! Who needs the old timers? Come on, we want action! Bring on guys, who can amaze today's sick society. Are you interested in the clean cut guy?? Good question. The faster, the better. Do you love it, when a guy sails down a 15-foot high steel cage and breaks his teeth and back? No, but it is so awesome to watch. Plus, it makes up for superb ratings and media coverage throughout the world.

AAANNND, let's not forget, the green is growing, and nothing's better than the sound of counting cash... We all have left the good old roots, we all succumb to the fast paced action, but we all get terrified when something bad happens. Remember the death of Owen Hart? Yes? Sad story, right? Has wrestling changed since that tragic night in the Kemper Arena in Kansas City? Yes? But it certainly has not changed for the better, it has become worse. Reading those stories of wrestlers, who died those past 2 years makes me shiver. Many were once under contract with the WWF/E! Many did not reach the age of 50! They did everything they could to please the fans, they put their bodies to the ultimate test. They wrestled many matches, endured many feuds, but were ordered to heaven way too soon.

And that's also sad and a point which declassifies our modern society. People get a kick out of other's people miseries. You can market the dead very well these days, you can earn money with it. You don't want to hear the full story, but something is telling you to listen carefully.

Vince McMahon, the godfather of wrestling? I have great doubts on that one. Yes, he changed the whole sport, he took the art out of it and compensated the loss of art with ridiculous angles, overdoses of sexuality and sheer brutality. Is there something he could fear in the business? No, because he already took out the competition and singlehandedly eliminated his opponents. Is the famous yankee promoter fake? No, he's as real as a phenom can be plus a precisely tuned marketing machine! Do I like him? That's not the case, but you readers decide.

I have been an avid wrestling fan for many years, but I don't watch it anymore. Why? Again, the decision is all yours. Make up your mind on that one, too. Money means power, but for what. What's the difference between being great and a legend? Can a legend break or be broken? You decide!

Harold writes:

I, for my part have taken a decision, and that's not supporting the mat scene any longer. The reasons are explained above, just read between the lines. How will you handle your private gusto for wrestling? I'd certainly like to know that and I am eager to read your responses!

Editors note: Media Man Australia continues to publish what others will not. Hard hitting, factual, real and thought stimulating work. Wrestling was, and still is, an art form. It shouldn't be about a body count. Will the fans realise that the wrestlers can only push their bodies too far before they break! Will the fans still support a wrestling product that is more about wrestling, less about a stunt show, and will the wrestling promoters take the gamble to present a product that is Professional Wrestling aka Sports Entertainment? greg@mediaman.com.au

Articles:

The Great Yankee Promoters, by Greg Tingle

The Great Aussie Promoters, by Greg Tingle

Wrestling Promoters Down Under, by Greg Tingle

WWE - Media Man Australia: Vince McMahon profile


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