I witnessed something fairly disturbing, and it’s going to take some lengthy exposure at a classical art museum to flush those images from my mind.
Portable Pro Wrestling
There was such a loud and engaged crowd around the ring that I had to check it out. Kids were shouting: “You Suck” to some crazy haired guy in black, and I quickly deduced I was looking at a real villain. Still, I was pretty appalled because I wouldn’t want my small child yelling that epithet. That’s considered vulgar language. And then two teams were wrestling each other and one guy threw the other guy out of the ring and then carried him around encouraging kids to hit him (most demurred, but a couple slapped his stomach) and I was about ready to report this to the “Committee to Curtail Bad Influences on Children” whoever they might be. Could any of this be a good influence on the kids?
So for the love of unbiased reporting (and love of a challenge) I figured I should compose an equally weighted list of Wrestling Pros and Cons, knowing I’d better keep the Con list pretty short, otherwise there’d be no way I’d match it point by point with the Pros. Let’s start with the easy stuff first….
THE CONS OF PRO WRESTLING
First, the whole thing is a con; no one is really getting hurt, the whole thing is orchestrated. So despite the claims of my cousin who was an avid fan in the 70’s this is NOT real. There is no blood if it’s done right, but accidents can occur. Since I am opposed to violence, I had difficulty figuring out whether this is a pro or a con, but since I also hate being duped, or being believed to be easily duped, it is a con.
Encourages the use of body judgmental verbal assaults – most of the wrestlers weighed more than I am sure their doctors recommend, and with a particularly heavy villain, kids kept yelling “You’re Fat” “Lose Weight” and I squirmed for all the overweight kids in the crowd and the adults, too, even the character. Fat was deemed evil. One group of uniformed martial arts students took a different slant and made dietary recommendations. Instead of shouting “You’re Fat” they suggested “Why not try a power bar once in a while”, and I appreciate whatever instructor forbade them from yelling “You’re Fat” and made them think up another insult for this bad cheating villain who doesn’t love America.
Depicts violence as acceptable and shows moves that could be copied by kids; when kids wouldn’t know how to fake the hits and stomps somebody could get injured. Kids were worked up enough to throw empty water bottles and papers at the villains.
It’s pretty ridiculous. I met a guy who was avidly watching the big match with his wife and kids. I asked “why do you watch this?” He responded, “I don’t know; it’s pretty stupid” I suggested that perhaps he found it entertaining or funny. He replied, “Ya, but that doesn’t override the main fact that it is mostly stupid.” As far as the stupid part goes, the scenario is about the same for every fight: good guy is getting clobbered for about two thirds of the match but there must be some energizing force in the ropes because after bouncing off of them for a while, the worm turns and the good guy starts winning.
THE PROS OF PRO WRESTLING
………………….………..I’m thinking………………………………….. …………………………………………………..…still thinking…………………………… …………………………………….……….……………………………………………okay, here goes
There are clearly defined roles of good and evil. This makes it simple for young kids to understand. The bad guy always says something bad about America. So maybe through making the villains America haters, love of country and desire to protect it, you know, Patriotism, may be reinforced, but that’s a stretch. A secondary characteristic of the villains is that they cheat. They attack before the match starts, they do outlawed moves. So maybe this teaches kids to play fair or risk being a villain. Ultimately in the matches I watched, Good Triumphs Over Evil!
I do have questions with one of the villains, he’s the crazy Legendary Canadian. Canadian?? You picked a Canadian persona for your bad guy. Canadians are never the bad guys; that could be confusing. Or it could be thinking outside the box – an admirable trait.
A woman in the audience looked normal and yet she was smiling and taking pictures of the goings on. (Wait a minute, I was doing the same thing.) I introduced myself and asked, “why are you here?” She told me her 11 year old son loved it and after hiring the guys for one of his birthday parties, and seeing how nice the participants were and how generous they were with their time, she just got sucked in. So the wrestlers are nice people who are kind to children.
Stupid to the point of preposterousness can be entertaining. I did laugh, but mostly the uneasy chuckle of a person perplexed.
- The guys in the ring get a work out and that is in following Michelle Obama’s recommendation for America. The match is by necessity well choreographed, so they must practice, too. In what other arena would these big guys with odd hairdos and questionable clothing choices ever get to be stars? So it’s about entrepreneurial opportunity.
So the Pros and Cons are even. And I wonder still whether it should be banned, but then I realize, I survived the Stooges without poking anyone’s eye out, and kids will survive this, too. And if I had young boys, I’d sure love to be the cool mom who brought the match home as birthday entertainment.
©2013 by Alison Colby-Campbell
Some indepth information on the world of pro wrestling, ita history and how to do the moves can be found here: http://www.howstuffworks.com/pro-wrestling.htm NOTE: I emailed Atlantic Pro Wresting for information and guidance with names of participants, but they did not respond.