I’ve written much about professional wrestling and my affection for the “sport”. For me, these guys are the last in the theatrical tradition of itinerant performers. Like acrobats and strong men they put their careers on the line every time they step into a ring.
Yes, it’s choreographed entertainment. Yes, like every reality show, it’s been scripted. But don’t call it “fake”.
Fake doesn’t hurt. Fake doesn’t elevate or crush your spirit. Wrestling does. And like all great performers, those who wrestle require stamina, discipline and buckets of physical, creative and cerebral talent.
These are far from muscle-bound dummies or Testosterone driven blow-hards. Most can read and manipulate an audience better than any stand-up comic or Broadway star.
This evening, the world’s premiere wrestling promoter, the WWE will present its 28th “SummerSlam”, a Pay-Per-View event that will draw tens of millions of viewers world-wide.
That audience will see the glitz and the glamor and incredible feats of athleticism. What they won’t see is what the men and women in the ring endured to get there and rise to the pinnacle of their profession.
One of the biggest stars in the history of the WWE and “SummerSlam” was Canadian wrestler, Brett “The Hitman” Hart, to my mind and many others, “The best there was. The best there is. The best there ever will be”.
In 1998, Hart participated in a terrific, award winning documentary written and directed by Canadian filmmaker Paul Jay for High Road Productions and the National Film Board of Canada.
It’s an unflinching look at what goes on outside the squared circle. After watching it, I am certain you too will never connect the terms “wrestling” and “fake” again.
Enjoy Your Sunday.