A Love of Wrestling (and Everyone Else’s Hate) / by Allison James

Fairly quick post, as I shouldn’t really be up at this time! Dratted insomnia.As some people may know I’m a big fan of wrestling. I’ve bought the WWE games since the first SmackDown! game on PlayStation 1 (and every instalment since by THQ for PlayStation 1/2/3), and have since February 2009, the day after that year’s No Way Out PPV, followed and loved the television shows. I’ve also been watching rival TNA iMPACT! for over a year now, though its obsession with the older guys and the reduction of inclusion of guys like the Motor City Machineguns have begun to wane a bit.It was also the Royal Rumble on Sunday night, my favourite show of the year (just over WrestleMania), which had, to my glee, upped the wrestler count from 30 to 40, giving me an extra 20 minutes or so of main event that I soak up like a happy sponge.But it occurs to me that some people just don’t “get” wrestling. When people find out I love it, there’s probably a 40% chance I’ll be met with a “you do know it’s fake, right?”. I am not an idiot (in this sense, anyway). To be honest, I should start replying to that question with “when you watch a film, do you think it’s all real?”Because that’s what wrestling is. It isn’t trying to look 100% real. Sure, it doesn’t advertise that it’s staged, but then look at any soap opera, film or general visual media and let me know if you find a “Warning: this is not actually happening”. What it should be viewed as is a number of ongoing and everchanging storylines, tied together with some fantastic and sometimes downright brave athletic displays.That’s one of the big points. It may be staged, but it goddamn hurts. You jump off a 15ft high ladder and land on your stomach on what is essentially hardboard on a set of weak springs, and tell me it doesn’t hurt. Have yourself thrown straight through a metal table, or have a folding chair smack you square in the back, or heck, just have someone slap you round the face. Or, for the less PG organisations, how about digging a razor into your forehead to make yourself bleed? Doesn’t hurt a bit, right?But it’s just a general perception of professional wrestling that gets me. There’s no explaining to some people the enjoyment from watching it – seeing trained, multi-year-experienced professionals perform complicated acrobatics, tell stories and form likable (or indeed dislikable) personae. If you’re one of those people, then please, go back to your movies.You do know they’re just faking it, right?