Why You Should Respect Professional Wrestling

Liam Mickulas-Mesco, Contributor

Professional wrestling deserves a lot more respect. Most people don’t believe it’s anything more than grown men in tights pretending to fight for a fake championship belt that doesn’t mean anything. What people don’t realize is that pro-wrestling, specifically that which is done in the WWE, has a lot more to offer than people realize.
To start, pro-wrestling requires talented athletes. Because kayfabe is dead, it is only natural for people who don’t know anything about the sport to call it fake. Yes, there are storylines for the wrestlers to follow. Yes, the athletes aren’t supposed to brutalize each other like they do in MMA and boxing. But just because they’re not supposed to be injuring each other doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen. In professional wrestling, the wrestlers are meant to sell the moves done to them. In other words, if someone kicks them, they have to make it look like it hurts. This takes a large amount of skill that isn’t talked about. They have to be so in sync with each other that they know the move that is going to be done to them and how to make it look like it hurts. Obviously, this can’t be executed perfectly every time, so the injuries in pro-wrestling are real. Athletes in the WWE have suffered career ending injuries and very few have been able to recover. What’s fake about that?

An example of an injury sustained by a professional wrestler

A fall like this is impossible to fake

WWE’s Superstars put themselves through hell trying to entertain viewers. The injuries are real and the skill needed to wrestle is real. Not only is the risk genuine, but the competitiveness in the sport is something you can’t find anywhere else. All you need to know to understand this is the story of two wrestlers. The “Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels and Bret “The Hitman” Hart had one of the most personal feuds in the history of sports entertainment. The two men genuinely hated each other’s guts. Bret hated Shawn because he was ushering in the WWF’s Attitude Era, a period where the WWF’s use of violence and sexual content increased significantly. Bret saw Shawn as a vulgar degenerate staining the reputation of the WWF. On the other hand, Shawn saw Bret as a pretentious Canadian do-gooder who was backstabbing the company. Their actual rivalry led to moments that would never fly on TV today, such as Bret calling HHH and HBK “homos”, and Shawn desecrating the Canadian flag.

Shawn Michaels desecrating the Canadian flag

It would only get worse from there, with Michaels accusing Hart of cheating on his wife and the two of them coming to blows in the locker room. Their rivalry would eventually culminate in the infamous 1997 Montreal Screwjob, where HBK would play a part in screwing Bret out of his championship title, which was the final straw for him, getting Bret to leave the WWF without looking back.
If you were to look at the WWE today (past the 24/7 Championship Title), you’d notice that a lot of the elements that made the WWF great are still in the WWE. If you’re not a fan, I only ask you to understand why people are. People like watching professional wrestling for the same reason you might like watching baseball or football. They do it for the same reason you watch movies and television shows. They do it because it’s a form of entertainment. That’s really all there is to it.