Analysis. History. Perspective.

Sports Then and Now




Professional Wrestling: Weird Form of Show

Posted on January 12, 2017 by Helen Yankovskaya

pro wrestlingWrestling is a highly popular American show. It’s a huge industry which involves special TV and radio programs, magazines, websites. At the center of the US wrestling world is WWF (World Wrestling Federation), the giant monopoly. There are also numerous small independent organizations, schools, fan clubs. Every week tens of millions people around the globe watch wrestling TV shows.

The most successful businessman and founder of WWE is Vince McMahon. He made a fortune on the method of pay-per-view which in the early 1980s, only gained a bit in popularity when showing football matches and boxing matches. The audience was associated with a television provider, and to view sport matches you needed to buy a one-time subscription. The right to view Wrestlemania only a few thousand people have bought in 1985. But by the time of Wrestlemania-III after two years the number of subscribers has increased to 400 thousand. This, one show brought to the company of McMahon more than $ 10 million.

The next two Wrestlemania in 1988 and 1989 were held at the same arena – in the Hall of Atlantic City meetings, close to the famous casino Trump Plaza.

To promote the event organizers said that the venue of the competition is the gambling establishment itself. But that was only a trick to attract more people.

The history of this show dates back to mass entertainments of 19th century. Wrestling we know today was formed in 1970s. Since that time it had ups and downs, but in the second half of the 90s wrestling experienced enormous popularity growth.

During wrestling matches two or more professional wrestlers fight each other in front of “live” audience. Wrestling events consist of a series of matches with one story line. Usually in between fights organizers show behind the scene videos in which wrestlers tell their “real life” stories. Audience can watch those videos on displays.

At first simulated cruelty of wrestling matches shocks. Those who watch wrestling for the first time wonder if any of those strikes performed inside a ring do actually hurt and if everything is just an orchestrated play. Actually, the outcome of a match and its most exciting moments are planned. But wrestlers can improvise. Matches require “winner” and “loser” work equally hard. Each fight in particular and the event overall are scripted. They are based on continuing story lines with some surprise and dramatic twists.

Participants of the show is a fixed group of wrestlers-actors each having their own character. Those characters have names, certain temper and legends. In contrast to a theatre play, wrestling shows do not end when the fight is over and can’t be performed again. All fights become one big “story” which develops live in front of audience. That’s how the same story can last for years.


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