Pro Wrestling is one of the weirdest and most interesting forms of entertainment that has ever existed. The way that millions of people watch a show where people play characters and pretend to fight to try and win fake championships, but pass it off as real, is, on paper, weird. But for some reason, I and others who also like it, get drawn to watching it play out in real time. However, with the athletic proponents and rigorous training required to make it work in the ring, it makes sense to call it a sport… but also doesn’t make sense at the same time? So, how can that be?
The key importance for the way that it can be regarded as a sport is the quite ridiculous training regiment required to become a pro wrestler. It is nuts. Before you are taught to move, you are primarily drilled in cardio and, regardless of how good your cardio level is, it can certainly do a number on wannabe wrestlers. Too common is the sight of people vomiting due to their guts not being able to handle it. Once you survive that, and it can take ages to get to that stage, then you are taught how to do moves safely: which makes the move look real but protects the other wrestler you’re in the ring with (with cardio and conditioning weaved in as well, you aren’t getting away from the treadmill that easily). The process of this type of training has been stated even by MMA fighters as being harder than their respective fighting style used for real fights, as fighters like King Mo Lawal and Brock Lesnar speak up about the difficulty of the training. This makes sense, as the training for MMA is to protect yourself and do damage to your opponent, whilst with Pro Wrestling it is about protecting both people and working together in making a match look real.
Because of this type of action, injuries and mistakes can happen very easily, with some cases even resulting in people losing their lives within the ring. Unfortunately, this reason has become a major example used by some wrestling fans about how ‘real’ the sport can be. It’s important to remember that these types of events affect the real-life people behind these wrestling personas. But it is still a real thing to consider about the physicality of a supposed ‘fake sport’.
The biggest reason why Pro Wrestling is not considered a sport by some is that the moves are ultimately designed to protect each wrestler while appearing like a legitimate fight: That Pro Wrestling is ‘fake’. Well, technically the term is predetermined. When a match is planned, wrestlers are told what the result is and how long they have for the match. The referee helps to convey this information through an earpiece from the bookers to the wrestlers. The whole thing is scripted.
And of course, the personas of the wrestlers aren’t real. For example, The Undertaker is not a real deadman whose parents were killed in a fire in his childhood funeral home by his demented brother Kane (one of the many batsh*t storylines in wrestling)… It is the persona of Mark Calloway in a pretend storyline with Glenn Jacobs. The same Glenn Jacobs, mayor of Knox County, Tennessee, who said that drag queens and caricature TV shows were a way to ‘brainwash’ children… And to me, these forms of wrestling characters are only really comparable to other forms of entertainment like these movies and television shows. From a portrayal standpoint, Pro Wrestling has more in common with Game of Thrones than with the UFC.
With this discussion on whether or not Pro Wrestling is a sport, it is both. You can very much make cases for both sides proving their point. It can be sport, it can be entertainment, it can even be theatre if you look at it from that side. But it can’t be denied that it is still one of the more interesting subjects when discussing entertainment.
Hi, my name is Jessie Dennett, and I write about the weird and wonderful world of sports. When I’m not studying for my Bachelor of Communications, I like to create and watch sports content, play video games of varying genres and vibe to Britpop and Eurodance music when alone.