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  • Dan Guest

The Thrilling World of Wrestling: Exploring the Passion Behind It

roman reigns win

When you think or hear of the term “wrestling” or “Professional Wrestling”, what do you think of? The Rock? Hogan? Undertaker? John Cena? You may even be one of those people that say “isn’t that the fake fighting?”.To me, Professional Wrestling is a form of entertainment, an escapism from your everyday life just like films, tv, video games and music are. It plays a big part in my life and I enjoy all the aspects of it from the ludicrous storylines and characters to the ring choreography and barmy backstage politics. In this blog, I’m going to dive into what wrestling is, why I enjoy it and what it really means to me.


What is Wrestling?

Professional wrestling is a form of entertainment where performers engage in choreographed matches combining athleticism, theatrics, and storytelling. It typically features scripted rivalries and feuds between characters portrayed by wrestlers, who perform predetermined moves and sequences in a ring. While the outcomes are predetermined, wrestlers execute physically demanding maneuvers to entertain audiences, blending elements of sport and performance art.


Watching Wrestling as a Child (1997 – 2003)

wwe attitude era

I first started getting into wrestling around the start of a huge surge in popularity of wrestling, an era dubbed “The Attitude Era”. Most people who don’t follow wrestling today will have some knowledge or awareness of it and it often relates to characters or storylines dating back to this era, as it was undoubtedly the peak of wrestling popularity where it was well and truly in the mainstream sphere of entertainment around the world.

I would have only been 7 or 8 years old when I first started watching wrestling, but I just loved the drama and the colourful characters, my favourite being Stone Cold Steve Austin! The loud-mouth, beer drinking anti-hero who stuck it to his boss every week. Other characters like The Rock and Undertaker were also fascinating to watch, their chemistry on screen together being sublime.

channel 4 wwe

My experience of watching wrestling was a little different to others though… the wrestling promotion I watched was WWE (WWF at the time) which aired weekly programming and PPVs on Sky TV. However, my parents never had Sky TV when I was growing up so the only wrestling I got to watch was a show called Sunday Night Heat on Channel 4, a short ‘B’ show that had a few low-profiles matches on as well as a brief recap of that week’s Raw and Smackdown shows. Channel 4 also got to air the occasional PPV too which was a real special treat for me! I fondly remember putting a blank VHS tape in the VHS player, setting the record timer for the show start time at around 1am and then watching it the following day! The show that comes to mind during this era was a show called Backlash in 2001 which featured a crazy spot of Shane McMahon jumping off huge scaffolding 50ft in the air onto Big Show.

smackdown here comes the pain

By around 2003, I was drifting away from wrestling, partly due to Channel 4 no longer airing wrestling, but also finding other things that interested me at the time. However, I was a huge fan of the wrestling video game, Smackdown: Here Comes The Pain for Playstation 2 in 2003 which did retain a rough interest in wrestling for me for a while (still my favourite wrestling video game btw!) but largely I moved on and didn’t think much of it.


Wrestling Renaissance (2011 – Present)

stone cold stunner

8 years later, I didn’t expect to fall back into the world of wrestling, but after one night, having stumbled across a YouTube clip of a recent episode of Raw featuring my favourite wrestler Stone Cold Steve Austin, everything changed…

It was around this time that I was studying at University and, without getting too personal, I was going through some rough mental health issues at the time. I was feeling very nostalgic for times gone by and little did I know wrestling was going to be something that sort of saved me from the darkness. I suddenly felt like a child again, but then that passion and interest started to evolve. I started to notice and take interest in things I never would have thought about as a child, such as the bizarre backstage politics, the incredible choreography, finesse and fitness of these athletes involved, the spectacle, the process of putting together a good story and telling it in and outside the ring. I was discovering so much!

undertaker entrance

I was also discovering other people around me who also shared the same passion, people who would go on to be my best friends. Suddenly, I was hooked once again on this bizarre sport / entertainment show and I had people to share it with.


Wrestlemania Gatherings (2012 – present)

By 2012, me and a bunch of friends decided to go to a ‘watch-party’ for Wrestlemania, WWE’s biggest show of the year that often rivals the SuperBowl. It was Wrestlemania 28, the main event was John Cena vs. The Rock. We were all crammed into a bar in Sheffield watching the action unfold on the bar TV screens whilst also drinking far too much alcohol. It was one of the funniest nights of my life, with so many great memories. We then decided to make it an annual thing. Every year, let’s all get together as friends and watch Wrestlemania live! And so… we did!

wrestlemania 29 party

Fast forward 12 years and despite some friends not always being there for every event, we still keep it going to this day, including this weekend’s Wrestlemania 40. Although now in my 30s and not doing too well with alcohol, we have now retired ‘watch-parties’ in bars as of a few years ago and now enjoy ‘Mania in the comfort of a cosy living room with snacks and pizza. Much more comfortable!


Conclusion

wrestlemania 33 party

So… why do I love wrestling? Well I guess as well as the things already discussed, it’s a comfort blanket for me. I love watching the weekly shows, even if it’s on in the background whilst doing bits around the house. I love reading and watching the latest news on what’s happening backstage. I love talking to my friends about it all, meeting up and sharing our thoughts over a pint. I don’t like watching soap operas, but this is probably the closest thing I will get to it. I think wrestling often gets some unfair shade from people who don’t watch it, but just like any other interest and hobby it should be respected. So to all my fellow wrestling fans who may read this, it’s ok to love wrestling, no matter how old you are!


Dan Guest

Sound Recordist

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