Violence, Drama, Comedy, and Sex – It Must be Professional Wrestling
If prompted to identify every professional sport in recent history, the typical response would consist of: baseball, basketball, football, soccer, hockey, and golf. However, one very significant and deeply rooted sport is absent from this list. This sport is interestingly labeled as “Professional Wrestling,” the seemingly “advanced” level of amateur wrestling. Stemming from the gladiators of ancient Rome, this phenomenon has survived the greater part of 3000 years. Shunned and passed off as simply being fake, modern wrestling is commonly regarded as the least competitive of the professional sports. So why does fake, scripted competition have such a massive and deeply loyal fan base? The answer lies in one simple viewing of WWE Raw, a wrestling program that embodies all the unique elements that cultivate such a large following.
World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) is simply one cross-section of the modern form of wrestling. The flagship program produced by the WWE is Raw. Aired live every Monday night from arenas across the United States, this program attracts thousands of live audience members and millions at home. Yet the fact remains that everything from the punches to the storylines, unlike their gladiator predecessors, are fake, a fact acknowledged by WWE representatives as well as their fans. Thus, what would possess a person to spend two hours of their evening watching an utter facade? They watch for the same reason they spend two hours watching “Must See TV” For entertainment. However, wrestling takes this a step further becoming a multi-faceted entity blending music, athleticism, drama, comedy, violence, and sex.
This mix of mayhem is clearly seen in the episode of WWE Raw on October 13, 2003, emanating from Pittsburgh, PA. WWE Raw begins with separate images of the two general managers of the “Raw Roster.” In a bold move to validate wrestling and possibly bring it closer to other pro-sports, the WWE split into two brands - the Raw Roster and the Smackdown roster - showcased on their respective programs. Thus, with two brands, general managers need to be appointed to facilitate pertinent issues on the programs. Raw is driven by the battle between co-general managers, Stonecold Steve Austin and Eric Bischoff. This is a case where drama unfolds in a very “real” way. What intensifies this interesting feud is the background of each individual in a non-scripted sense. Steve Austin was once fired by Eric Bischoff when he legitimately ran World Championship Wrestling (WCW), the bitter rival company of the WWE from 1993 to 2001. In true over-the-top WWE fashion Eric Bischoff was controversially hired as the general manager of Raw. Though he plays the character of general manager, there is an authentic hostility between himself and his former employee. Hence, the bitter hatred and tension between these general managers is amplified for the cameras, ultimately...