Wrestling and the Sports Metaphor

I have a number of things I want to write, but they all have an idea in common.  I think that idea needs it's own blog entry.  I do not think wrestling is a fake sport.  After seeing Steve Austin get his neck broken, I could never call pro wrestling fake.  Steve Austin is not alone in getting his neck broken in the ring.  Calling wrestling fake always feels hard in my mouth.

If Wrestling is not a fake sport, what is wrestling's relationship to sports.  I think the case can be made that wrestling uses sports as a metaphor in the stories.  Sports is a frame work of struggle and conflict to add drama. 

If the metaphor changes, the meaning of the fiction changes.  This happens everywhere in fiction. A new story about a monarchy has a different meaning than a story in Shakespeare's time.  If you read Richard the III, Hamlet, or MacBeth, you need supplemental material to see how the audience related to monarchy at the time. The meaning of these works are different now because how the world has changed.

In the time I have started to watch pro wrestling the sports world changed a lot.  When I started watching the WWF not every Baseball team had a local cable contract, the NFL did not have free agency, there was only one ESPN channel, few cities had full time sports talk radio stations, most people had never head of fantasy football or fantasy baseball, and The NCAA Men's basketball tournament did not have 64 teams yet. 

These changes effect wrestling in a specific way.  They effect what the audience expects out of wrestling.  The whole world of entertainment has changed, not just the sports world.  I just think that the changes in the world of sports effects the story telling the most.  I know that Soap Operas have declined in viewership and people have called wrestling Soap Operas for Men.  I still think there is something to be said about how the sports world impacts wrestling, even if not all wrestling fans are sports fans. 

I think pro-wrestling has a special relationship with their audience.  Other than improv comedy no other form of live theater has a such an interactive relation with the audience.  I can't tell me how often I hear reviewers of matches comment about the audience and how it reacts.  I think everyone has to think about how the audience changes over time.


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