So the big story in wrestling this week, amazingly as Summerslam is on Sunday, and I am sure there is no link at all *coughs*, is that of Darren young coming out as gay. Which is great that he feels comfortable enough to be himself. However as I read through the tweets on the story, following up The Guardian’s story on the subject there was so much negativity. Not towards Darren thankfully, this is The Guardian after all, but towards wrestling fans. We are “@mansillo: hill billies are not happy in fact very confused a gay man can do anything contact sport like” and that “@EternalScot"sports" star? Minor celeb more like” and a few others that got deleted as well.
We know its not a sport. We know it has predetermined finishes. We know and quite frankly talk to the wrestlers, script writers and producers of the shows on a regular basis. Dave Lagana (head writer for TNA) is on the web all the time constantly checking feedback. Via twitter and social media wrestlers talk to us from all over the world. They are some of the most accessible, funniest and intelligent conversationalists you are likely to find. This week I learned the dreams of The Alpha Female, and talked Japanese wrestling with The Dark Angel, and found out who Adam Pearce would wrestle in an Airport. Wrestling has guys like CM Punk who take their time out of being entertaining one way, to be entertaining another and teach us grammar.
And yes there is the wrestling. Which we all love, because at a base level we want to see the good guys win. At a higher level we want to see people do amazing things, we like blood and guts yes, but only when it means something. Sound like a person who watches an TV drama right? That is what wrestling is, with layered meta data with each participant. When I see Daniel Bryan wrestle in front of a sold out crowd this Sunday at Summerslam, if he wins the title I know I will cry. Why? Because I have seen him wrestle all over the world for ten years, getting his head kicked in Japan, taking on the luchadors of Mexico, putting together one hour classics with AJ Styles and Samoa Joe, his victory will mean the world to me because I believe in him. I do not care that he has made me believe, I don't care that this is a concocted dramatic moment. The sentiment is mine and others to enjoy.
Not a real sport? I am sure John Cena whose arm looks like someone pumped it up with an air compressor this week will tell you that injury is as real as it gets (his second arm injury with in a year I might add), or Sheamus who had to have 6 pins put in his arm. These people go through hell for us. So next time you see a striker dive in the penalty area and appeal wildly when the defender never touched him, don't complain that wrestling isn't real.
Is it a sport? No its not, but its competition none the less, and far tougher than any major sport to succeed in. There are about 2000, playing jobs open in the NFL, how many playing jobs in world soccer, 5000? the NBA has roster slots for 450 players plus all the other professional leagues in the world. The WWE and the other large wrestling promotions that can afford to pay full time offer about 300 jobs, world wide. If you want to do this you have to give your heart and soul to it and that's just to make a living at it, never mind become a star.
Pro wrestling is not fake. Pro wrestling is what pro wrestling is, we get it, we enjoy it, we love it. If you don't that's fine. However we had out gay men running wrestling and we accepted him years ago, I wonder if any other “sports” did that?