Wrestling: Just Another Sport"
July 21, 2005 by Rohit Ramnath
A couple of articles back I compared wrestling to The Bold and The Beautiful. I decided to do another article, this time of course comparing wrestling to other sports that we know of. Soccer, Basketball, and Rugby I picked out (at random because I play/have played these sports or have very close friends who play them.) So this is the scenario. You are a young upstart in one of these sports and we see what it takes to make it big in the field or court v/s what it takes to make it big in the ring.
Soccer: Let's evaluate the big names. David Beckham, Michael Owen, Ronaldo and Pele come to mind. What did these guys have to make it big in the world of football""" Beckham always had something going for him...his haircut. It was like a gimmick. Fans would love his haircut, or even him without hair. Michael Owen has a great deal of charisma (and apparently looks very hot) so he had the female fans cheering him on if no one else, but his charisma also appealed to the males. Ronaldo had pure raw talent and he had molded this talent to near perfection and so he drew crowds to watch him. Pele similarly had talent and dedication. So in all we find 4 features necessary - character, charisma, talent and dedication.
Now let's compare this to wrestling. Let's take 4 examples, Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Chris Benoit and Bret Hart. Hulk Hogan wasn't the best wrestler in the world. In terms of pure technical wrestling the Hulkster doesn't even figure close to the top. But his character attracted audiences. His gimmick, the patriot, the invincible, the immortal; that attracted the crowds; that drew in the numbers; that drew in the cash. The Rock, again not really a great technical wrestler. He didn't even have much of a gimmick. But his charisma and mic skills made him the superstar he is today. John Cena heading somewhere in that direction but the charisma factor propelled the Rock to the position he finds himself in today. Chris Benoit, the technical masterpiece. One of the most respected, talented wrestlers today. Enough said. Bret Hart, same as above (forget Montreal).
So the conclusion, despite the major difference in skills required, aim of the game, etc... the major star-making qualities in both the sports are the same - Charisma, talent, dedication and character. So as I see it, wrestling and soccer aren't really all that different.
Basketball: To make it big in basketball, teamwork is a must. People don't remember only Shaq. They remember Shaq and Kobe. So let's compare basketball teams to tag teams and factions.
Currently of course the WWE has no tag-teams or factions so let's step back in time. Let's name 3 teams, the Dudleys, Hardys, and Edge and Christian. Also let's name two factions, D-Generation X and NWO (Hogan, Nash and Hall...not when they had half the roster).
Now basketball teams have the following characteristics - Chemistry, Unity in Diversity and Competition. Without these characters the NBA would never have reached the height it has in terms of fame and fan following. Chemistry is that character in the teams where the members know what each other is thinking. Chemistry is when to do a pick and roll there needs to be no signal given, and when one player drives to the hoop the others instinctively back off. Chemistry is 5 minds thinking as one. Unity in diversity is a tricky concept so it might take some time to explain. It is that character where no two players in the team are playing the same style, but together the five of them form an unbeatable team. Shaq played big and strong, Kobe was the quick cat, Horry was the 3-point man, Fisher played defense and wasn't very good with the shots and Fox just played a passing game. No one had similar styles but they were so compatible with each other that the Lakers became unstoppable. Competition is the excitement behind basketball. If the Lakers were the only good team and basically beat all other teams by 50 points or so would you watch the NBA""" No!!!
Why did I go on and on about the Lakers in a wrestling article""" Just to elaborate that Tag-Teams and factions follow the same principles to make it work. You had the NWO wherein Hogan just played to the fame; Nash was the big man and Hall the athletic one. Three completely different styles but together so compatible that the NWO was one of the greatest factions in wrestling, if not the greatest. D-X had differences too. HHH was the snob, Michaels the pretty boy, Chyna was the manly woman X-Pac was the quick hitter and Road Dogg and Billy Gunn were the tag team. All different, but together formed another excellent faction. Unity in Diversity.
The Hardys Dudleys and E&C had chemistry and competition. When it came down to the 3-D, the Hardys' double leg drop or E&C's con-chair-to the chemistry was highly visible. It may have been pre-coordinated but great ball teams always make plays before executing them. The chemistry in similar styles, entrances and looks gave the teams the look of a team and the feel of one.
And competition goes without saying. The min problem with MNM now is the lack of competition. The Bashams have been broken up because of the draft and Holly and Haas also has been done off with. There's no Tag-Team left. Random singles wrestlers put together don't constitute a team. A lack of competition makes MNM look stale. But the TLC feuds between the 3 teams made them the legends they are today. We need to see this kind of competition again to make many tag-teams worthwhile to watch.
So an upstart team in the WWE could do well only if they had the chemistry and the competition. And an upstart faction (Mexicools
maybe) can only do well if they bring in people with a different style. An all luchadore faction sounds nice, but one big guy and maybe one brawler could do a world of good to this faction.
Rugby: I don't know many greats in rugby. I don't even watch this sport regularly, but I have played rugby. I have studied this sport and so I'm going to make this comparison. Rugby requires toughness and skill.
There are two basic positions. The forwards have to be tough and the backs have to be agile. The sport requires tremendous tolerance of pain and dedication. Remind anyone of hardcore wrestling" It's about the same. Skill is obviously a major factor but is so in all sports isn't it""" But all in all it's about the same.
So the bottom line is, and this is not from stone cold, that wrestling is as much like any other sport. Stop treating wrestling like a con-job and stop treating wrestling like a rip-off. Hulk Hogan deserves as much respect as Michael Jordan, if not more. John Cena deserves as much respect as Michael Owen if not more. Batista deserves as much respect as Jonah Lomu is not more. Wrestling is a sport. And I'm sick and tired of people who call it sports entertainment (that's YOU VINCE!!!) and I'm sick and tired of people treating it like a con-job (that's all the su***'s out there).
Next article, wrestling as an art...wait 3 weeks for that one...and in that time send me feedback.
PS: I should have said this a long time back but this is the first time since I have had a public article since I've been appointed OFFICIAL COLUMNIST!!! Thank you OWW, Brad, Kirsty and everyone else. I really appreciate it greatly.
by Rohit Ramnath..
Andrew Koprowski wrote:
First off, anyone who thinks fans of REAL football like Beckham because of his hair or Michael Owen because he's cute don't have a clue. People like Beckham because he is one of the greatest footballers in the entire world, just like Reynaldo, Pele, Maradona, Cryuff and Baggio. So please don't eve insult a great sport like soccer to compare it to wrestling.
As far as comparing wrestling to any sport... it's nonsense. In no other sport are the outcomes predetermined. Not in BNA, NHL, NFL or FIFA. Are the wrestlers great athletes" Sure, some are. But to compare Hulk Hogan to Pele or Johann Cryuff is down right ignorance. I hate to be so rude but your column was so far from the truth, I'd have a better chance in convincing people I'm George Clooney.
Dan White. wrote:
Now I have watched football (soccer) since I was born and I can tell you that just like Hogan or the Rock, David Beckham lacks in skill and technique in his footballing. But like the way Hogan and the Rock use their enhanced charismatic abilities to increase WWE buyrates, Beckham has a quality in which he is able to endorse himself as an advertisement prodcut all over the world, allowing his club to collect the money.
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