A few weeks ago, I was flipping through channels during a Monday Night Football commercial break when I ended up on WWE Raw.
From 1992-2000, you couldn’t find a bigger wrestling fan than me. I ordered all of the pay-per-views, owned all the action figures and practiced all the coolest submission moves on my older brother. But around nine years ago, I quit watching it when I realized how fake it was and slowly transitioned into “real” sports like the NFL, NBA and MLB.
Now, after years of observation, I have come to think these professional sports are just as fake, if not even more fake than pro wrestling. Nothing in the MLB seems real to me anymore with the constant suspicion that every game changing home run is the result of steroids, and the NBA’s credibility took a hit after the Tim Donaghy gambling scandal.
My father once told me that the WWE – formerly known as the WWF – is just a big soap opera where everyone plays a fictional character.
He was right about that, but I also think wrestlers are not the only ones that play make-believe characters. There’s a sociological term called status set, coined by Robert Merton, that I think backs up this idea. A status set is “an array of social positions (for example: brother, co-worker, boyfriend) found in one person,” according to encyclopedia.com. Basically this means we perform different roles based on the situation, thus we all play different characters. If you don’t believe that just ask Tiger Woods.
Woods portrayed the character of a straight laced role model when the cameras were on, but when the cameras were off it seems like he got out of character a little bit. A lot of us realized that after his car wreck, which led to allegations of adultery. Woods never completely confirmed the allegations the tabloids reported, but did post an apology on his personal Web site saying he was sorry for letting his family down.
So what is the point I am trying to make?
I’m just saying that I might get back into watching pro wrestling again because I don’t think it’s any faker than any of these so called “real” sports. You may say wrestling is filled with nothing but violence, sex and profanity, but I say wrestling is an art, and the job of art is to reflect culture.
Think about it.