“Live tonight, an Inferno match between the Undertaker and Kane! Plus, an evening gown match, the loser gets stripped down to their panties and bra!” What kind of show would produce such insane events? Does America really care to see these events take place? Not only is this type of show acceptable, but it has become a cultural phenomenon. Some people may say “That must be some sort of filth found on the Spice channel!” However, this phenomenon is known as professional wrestling. Why do Americans accept this form of entertainment, even if they know it is morally incorrect?
Currently, professional wrestling among males and females of all ages is extremely popular across America. Wrestling fans participate in the phenomenon when attending wrestling events, live or televised, wearing clothing depicting wrestlers or wrestling organizations, as well as by communicating with other wrestling fans. There are numerous wrestling magazines which a fan can purchase to learn more about the sport spectacle, and millions of various collectibles and toys connected to professional wrestling have been sold since the sport gained tremendous popularity in the mid-1980s. Wrestling fans can even surf the web and find results, biographies, pictures, interviews, and news on all of their favorite wrestlers and organizations.
Professional wrestling has always been labeled as entertainment for “Rednecks” or some obscure group of individuals. People always considered wrestling “fake” and mindless, suitable for those with “simple minds.” However, the popularity of wrestling has exploded over the last three years and captivates audiences of all ages. As of late, “WWF Raw” by the World Wrestling Federation is the most popular show on cable television. If a person were to examine the underlying images that are being portrayed in the programs, they may be surprised to learn just exactly what attracts so many to the screen. The World Wrestling Federation contains life-like storylines that continue for several weeks, very similar to daytime soap operas. The violence, attitudes, language, and sexual material in pro-wrestling are all clearly used to capture the minds of the audience.
The World Wrestling Federation takes life-like topics and turns them into “angles” that involve several different wrestlers. Some of the topics that have been used include a “disgruntled employee getting revenge on his boss,” a “wrestlers’ obsession with sex,” a controversial cancer angle, “a wedding turned wrong,” a wrestler grabbing the genitals of an opponent, and even “drunken old women fighting each other.” In my opinion, the angle involving cancer, although a real-life topic, should not have taken place. Too many people have loved ones who suffer with cancer, and it just was not appropriate to portray this on television.
Nonetheless, in this angle, the father of a wrestler (The Big Show) is diagnosed with cancer. However, another wrestler (Big Boss Man) does many evil things to make the life of the Big Show miserable. The Boss Man sends a messenger to the Big Show telling him his father is dead, when in reality, he is not. Eventually, the Big Show’s father dies, and a funeral is planned. The funeral is held outside, which set up a very disturbing, but strangely funny scene. As the Big Show is mourning the loss of his father, the Boss Man drives a car through the funeral, and hits the Big Show. The Boss Man ties the casket to the back of his car, and proceeds to drive away, with the casket dragging behind.
The Big Show gets up and sees this, and jumps on the moving casket. Up until this point, the cancer angle seemed very serious and sad, but having the Big Show “casket surfing” lightens the mood. Revenge will be sweet, as the Big Show will end up beating the Boss Man to a bloody mess. In reality, none of this is true, but the whole story is extremely shocking, and draws the attention of many. The topics are even more outrageous than an episode of the “Jerry Springer” show. This type of entertainment has attracted millions of loyal fans, and extremely high cable ratings on Monday and Thursday nights. Professional wrestling ranks second just behind “Monday Night Football” in the Nielsen Ratings.