Today, my friend Lucy shared this video with me. I enjoyed it and it got me thinking about where I would like to see the professional wrestling industry go in the future. It is easy to complain after watching two hours of old men shouting into microphones, interspersed with a handful of dull scraps…but what would I change?
In this video, the performers use Lucha Libre (Mexican masked wrestling) to portray the battle between Mexican immigrants and the U.S. border patrol. It’s a simple concept (they fight each other), but it is a powerful message that unites the crowd, especially the ‘non-legals’ who need a place to cut lose and let off some steam.
What I enjoyed most about it, however, was the focus on story-telling and entertainment, instead of brute athleticism and enormous pecs. (Don’t get me wrong, the pecs were still enormous!) This is exactly what I would like to see wrestling do in the near future; embrace its inherent entertainment value on more levels than pure spectacle.
At the moment, it seems like professional wrestling is still caught up in its movement away from being perceived as a sport. It feels like the industry feels offended by the implication that its performers aren’t sportspeople and, in response, has placed more emphasis than ever on proving just how huge and athletic they are.
In place of great characters weaving a story in and out of the ring, I all too often watch human tanks colliding in a simple battle to decide who is the stronger. Time and time again, I find myself losing interest almost before the match has even begun because nothing that is happening entertains me in the slightest.
And I say that as a fan of wrestling and as a man who is quite easily entertained by characters, gimmicks and feats of athleticism. If I don’t give a shit, what must somebody trying to get into wrestling think?
There are also some really interesting characters and stories developing right up as far as the WWE, where the Shield have had me marking out for quite some time. However, given the vast scope of the internet, enormous captive audiences and limitless power of the imagination, I would very much like this level of creativity and expression to become the norm rather than the blessed exception.
I shared the video from Martial Arts Unlimited