Are Wrestling Belts the Sword of Damocles?

On the International Object Podcast last week we talked about belts and titles. K Saywer Paul talked about how everyone who has held the TNA title has been a villain or turned into a villain.  This got me thinking the TNA title might be the Sword of Damocles.

It is easy to think of the pressure of having the title being like Sword of Damocles hanging over your head.  There is so much text and subtext when it comes to the top title holder.  The Title Holder has to put on good matches, sell lots of merchandise, sell tickets, cut good promos, and impress the Internet Smark community.  If you look at the best title holders, they are the ones that thrive under that pressure.

In the story Damocles can run away from the position of King and the sword is no longer over his head.   When Damocles leaves Dionysius II of Syracuse cannot run away.  He is still ruler Syracuse, Sicily.  The interesting subtext of this story to me is Dionysius II of Syracuse is a tyrant.  In the last few years, after watching stories like HBO's Rome, I see the pressure of the Sword of Damocles turns people into tyrant.  In Rome the leaders have to deal with lairs, schemers, thieves, and cheats from all sides.

There is something to be said for the title turning the champion into a tyrant.  Once you have the title there is no where to go but down.  In that case staying on top can be stressful.  It is not just a matter of holding onto the title, it is a matter for everything else the champion has to deal with.  

In TNA I wonder about what the author is trying to stay about the champion.  I know it is hard to know who is writing what in wrestling.  I still think there is a pattern here.  I am not one who thinks authorial intent is very important in determining the meaning of fiction, but I like to ask myself what the author thinks of the characters.

I wonder if the TNA booker is using the champion as a proxy for themselves.  Bookers and promoters are known to be tyrants.  Just look around Youtube and you can find hours of shoot videos about how promoters have screwed wrestlers.  When you find those videos you will also find videos detailing wrestlers acting like lairs, schemers, thieves, and cheats.  It makes you wonder if promoters feel like they need to be tyrants to survive their own Sword of Damocles.


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