Friday, April 1, 2011

Do You Really Want It?

Watching that video of Mick Foley vs. The Undertaker in class on Wednesday made me realize that the expectations of wrestling are more complicated than we assume. Wrestling gets a lot of shit for being "fake" and scripted, but do we really want to see what real wrestling would be like? I can only speak for myself when I say that seeing Mick Foley dropped on to thumbtacks whilst concussed from falling from a steel cage was quite enough. I used to be one of the bloodthirsty fans and while watching wrestling videos for class I found myself wanting more pain and gore. However, I see that I might not really want that. Knowing that these men are actors as well as wrestlers/athletes makes me feel horrible when I cheer their pain. The irreversible damage that comes from the wrestling theatrics is enough to make me want wrestling to stay exactly how it is now.
There will always be the fringe wrestling companies that'll supply the gore that some wrestling fans want. Sometimes they'll be more popular than others, but I think it's safe to assume the WWE's style of wrestling is the most preferred among the lay wrestling viewer; these people probably could not stomach the gore.
Although wrestling as a whole is increasingly being threatened by UFC's growing popularity, within the wrestling world the scripted style of theatrical violence is the order of the day.


  1. The Undertaker really was beating the shit out of Mick Foley in that video. Either Foley was in a lot of pain or he deserves an Oscar. People do say wrestling is fake, but there was nothing fake about that thumbnail-dropping sequence; I'm sure Foley has the cuts and bruises to prove it. But yes, imagine if wrestling really was "real" and these humongous men actually beat down on each other. We would have monthly, if not weekly, deaths for sure. These men are basically animals (besides Foley, I guess), trained to fight and entertain. If the WWE ever became "real," there would be serious problems.

  2. In The Wrestler there's a good scene where Mickey Rourke is attacked with a carpentry staple gun in the ring. Looks much worse than the thumb tacks.

  3. You definitely have to respect these guys for what they are willing to go through to entertain their fans. Most other entertainers go to lengths to minimize the risk of injury. In the Mankind vs Undertaker match we watched, it seemed like Foley was putting himself in harms way solely because he thought that was what the fans wanted.

  4. I think matches like these are a response to the accusation that professional wrestling is "fake." That said, I admit that I was far more engaged with the mike foley match than all the other matches. For some reason, the feigning of injury even in that bloody stone cold steve austin match looks so fake to me that I couldn't help but think some of the moments in that match were comical. Perhaps there's a sort of "uncanny valley" that also exists in the simulation of violence in the ring.

  5. People do give wrestlers a lot of shit for being fake and not being real athletes, and although they may not be like michael jordan, they are more like a hybrid between athlete and actor. This specific match was almost hard to watch because we were basically watching Foley ACTUALLY get beat up. It almost felt like watching those underground videos of random street fights. Sometimes you just know someone is in pain or trouble and this was one of those times. But, like a true professional, he kept on fighting, knowing that the show had to go on.


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