Wrestling is Fake, Fake as Mad Men

My (internet) buddies K. Sawyer Paul and Tom have me think about my relationship with the reality of wrestling.  K. Sawyer wrote about how he believed in wrestling longer than he believed in God.  Tom wrote about how we need to re-frame the conversation about what fake means.  Tom also appeared on Hoff-Po (God I hate the way we shorten everything) Live to talk about how wrestling is or is not fake.  

I know my relationship to wrestling is not the same as other fans.  I don't talk like the average WWE fan, I don't even talk like the average fan I hear on podcasts or people who follow me on Twitter.  I know I am a little older than most the people I am connected to.  I know that gives us a different perspective on things like the NWO.  I am not sure people where were in High School or younger during the Monday Night Wars were thinking about the post-modern aspects of what they were seeing.

The other difference is I never thought pro-wrestling was real.  This is not a statement of me not believing it wrestling because I was smart as a child.  I knew wrestling was not real because I grew up in a world where people kept on telling me it was not real. 

Before I was old enough to remember, my oldest sister was the manager of her high school wrestling team.  As a little kid, pre-schooler age, I was hanging around that wrestling team.  As that young age I was told this was real wrestling, not the stuff on TV.  Whenever wrestling came on TV, my sister Kathy or one of my brothers would point out how fake it is.  I think my father made sure I watched the 20/20 segment about how the WWF was fake

In elementary school I was a comic book fan.  I would buy any comic book before I would buy a single wrestling magazine.  I remember one kid that could name every wrestler and all the other gimmicks they used to have.  I always thought his ability to just name all these things was both odd and amazing.

In fifth grade I went over to a friends house.  When wrestling came on my friend, his parents and his brother all sat down to watch wrestling together.  This was surprising to me.  It was interesting to see his dad to actively root for a wrestler.  This is something my father would never do. 

It was not okay for me to watch pro-wrestling until I got to Junior High and signed up for the football and wresting teams.  I found there were athletes who were much better than I was who loved wrestling. This was a big sign of approval to me.  The other guys on my junior high football team knew it was not real fighting, but it did not bother them.  They still enjoyed this "fake sport" so why shouldn't I?

This was also the first year of Wrestlemania.  I had the chance to start watching right when something new was happening.  The WWF was all over the place and I liked it.  I was also getting old enough that I could defend my choice when my family said it was not real.  

In 8th grade one of the other wrestlers on the team showed us the difference between how wrestlers used submissions and how they really worked.  This was very informative and I can still feel the pain all these years later.  This taught me to watch the wrestlers to see how they do their moves.  

I wonder if never thinking wrestling was real, changed the way I see wrestling now?  I know I am not like most fans.  Does that have to do with me never investing in wrestling as a sport?  Is my interested as wrestling as an art impacted by the ways I saw it as a child.  I had not thought about this until I read K. Sawyer Paul's Wrestlemania post. 


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