Because it’s fun.
What better reason to do anything?
Kristi and I always have fun when attending WWE events. WrestleMania 34 in New Orleans was one of the most fun trips we’ve ever taken.
For those of you who don’t “get” professional wrestling – or sports entertainment as World Wrestling Entertainment calls it – let me provide this breakdown which should break down your snobbery.
WWE superstars mix the athletic ability of professional athletes with the choreography of the ballet. Did you know the roster of WWE superstars includes former Olympians as well as former professional athletes and major college student-athletes? Did you know most WWE superstars train for many years, often 10 or more, before appearing in a WWE ring?
To this mix of professional sports and ballet, add the drama, storyline and story-telling of the theatre. WWE’s creative writers – the folks who come up with the storylines or “angles” – often work in Hollywood before joining the company. Similar to the theatre, these storylines play out live, right in front of you, without the benefit of a “take two.”
Is every storyline great? No. Is every “character” great, no. But every play doesn’t win a Tony Award either.
Sprinkle in the energy of a rock concert, the appeal of celebrity – WWE’s two main television shows, “RAW” and “Smackdown,” on USA Network routinely land among the most-viewed shows on cable TV each week, having done so for 20 years – and you should be able to understand the appeal.
“But it’s fake!”
So are Broadway shows.
No one discredits “Phantom of the Opera” because the outcome is predetermined; why should professional wrestling be held to a different standard? Broadway shows probably offer the closest comparison to a big WWE event: talented performers, music, choreography, fabulous sets, juicy storylines.
Most importantly, returning to my main point, the WWE is undeniably fun if you allow yourself to escape into it. I contrast this starkly with my day job of the previous 20 years – writing and talking about college football.
College football has become increasingly and undeniably nasty. Rival fans hate each other and express that hatred every minute of every day on-line. College football social media has become a tarpit of vitriol. John Cena fans don’t hate fans of the Undertaker then take to Twitter to attack them following their matches. How refreshing.
College football games are even worse when it comes to abusive fans, with many fans refusing to travel to away games in fear of the treatment they’ll receive.
Speaking of games, while attending both WrestleMania 34 and “RAW” the following evening, I didn’t hear one curse word from a fellow fan. I don’t ever recall that experience at a college football game.
Absent too was the drunkenness to absurdity which has become inseparable from major college football games. Through five days in New Orleans, I didn’t witness one fall-down, stupid, obnoxious, dangerously drunk wrestling fan. And that was in New Orleans. I rarely attend a college football game anymore without seeing several belligerent drunks who make me wish I were somewhere else.
Sports entertainment isn’t for everyone – nothing is. But what sports entertainment has become for Kristi and I is an almost sure-fire way to have a good time, and who couldn’t use more of that?
What do you think?