To many it would sound ridiculous. Wrestling, being a religion. We’ve all heard the comments from those who don’t get it. “It’s fake.” “They’re not actually hurt.” “They can’t act.” I could go on forever with the amount of criticisms I’ve heard that all seem to follow a common theme. The thing is it’s rather hypocritical. I don’t need to point out to them that the soap opera they’re watching is badly acted and fake. They know it’s fake but they love it. What these people fail to understand is what we all know. The work, blood, sweat and tears put into trying to make it to the top of the ladder in pro wrestling is incalculable. Top performers bust their asses for decades in an attempt to perfect their craft. They need to learn how to tell a story in the ring with every move they make. They concuss themselves dozens of times learning how to fall or hit a move correctly. We fans know this. That’s why we watch these people and cheer them on. It’s why halls, arenas and stadiums are packed to the brim with people cheering. Many make the pilgrimage to the location of WrestleMania to behold their Gods preaching. Wrestling a religion? You’re damned right it is.
So what is this column all about then? Well I believe that as a religion wrestling needs it’s own deadly sins and commandments. It’s with this in mind that each column I write I will list and explain one sin and one commandment. I hope you agree with them or even contribute by suggesting your own. Enjoy the read.
Deadly sin #1 REPETITION
This covers a number of areas and all are equally frustrating to behold. Storyline repetition is my major gripe. A wrestler turns heel and everyone is awaiting the explanation. Upon entering the ring to cut a promo you will more often than not hear them say the following… “All I’ve been hearing is WHY *insert name here* WHY??” Come off it. If someone sees a wrestler in public they’re not running up to them shouting “why?” They’re asking for an autograph or a picture with them. The majority of the fans know why and just want to see the angle unfold. The answer to why is even more frustrating as it’s nearly always because of the fans. “You don’t respect me.” “You all cheer *insert name here* more than me.” “I’m tired of being the person you all want me to be.” Surely the writers can come up with something other than this generic garbage?
Moving away from storylines there is feud repetition. Now this can sometimes be great. If two fan favourites who the crowd know can put on an awesome match are thrown back together to fight it guarantees asses on seats. A prime example of this would be Stone cold vs the Rock. They fought at Wrestlemania on three occasions and we loved every second of it. The down side of a repeating feud is what normally occurs. Two wrestlers who have no existing story arc (Usually because they’re not big enough for the writers to care about.) are told to fight for the 200th time. The match is instantly predictable and is a perfect moment for a toilet break.
Be it storyline, feud or even gimmick (Goldberg/Ryback for example.) The sin of repetition guarantees those responsible a place in Wrestling Hell. Rather ironically they’ll probably be much hotter down there than they ever were with the crowd.
Commandment #1 Thou shalt not no sell.
He/she who no sells deserves nothing but pain. Now I’m almost certain you don’t need an explanation of this but I should probably do one anyway. A wrestler is having their leg worked over all match. It’s taken a savage beating and were it to happen to you or I we would certainly need medical treatment as soon as possible. As the match is coming to it’s conclusion, the pesky no seller stands up and runs at their opponent and clotheslines them to the mat. Another few clotheslines later and they’re hitting a number of moves on their counterpart with ease and showing absolutely no sign of pain with their leg. The end comes when they lift up the other performer for the last time and hit their finisher on them for the three count. I cannot tell you how much I hate this. Back when Hogan/Sting/Savage were the headliners I kinda got it. Fans were far easier to fool. There was no internet and we didn’t pick apart every single thing a wrestler did. Today we demand much more from them yet there is still a number that regardless of how we feel go ahead and unleash their superhuman recovery rate on us all. Ya know, I don’t even mind if it’s just kids in the audience. They’re not smart enough to know any different and probably believe this sort of act is real. If though you’re going to perform in front of a vast demographic them please for the love of the wrestling Gods please don’t ruin what could be a good match. You don’t need to win with your finisher, you can do it with a roll up, or a move that you’re not known for doing but you’ve plucked out of nowhere in desperation. That’s believable and something that I and many more would applaud. It’s not much to ask. It’s a simple concept. Don’t treat the fans like muppets. Continue to no sell and forgiveness shall not find you.
That’s that then. I hope you’re back for the next sin and commandment and if you do have any feedback or suggestions then you can tweet me @PhilHolgate. Cheers.