The Australian View:
Sports Entertainment or Professional Wrestling"
September 28, 2006 by Shane Mead
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Wrestling has a habit of going through transitions and changing with the times. At this stage in history the business is lost. Throughout this period of trying to find our identity, we are split between Professional Wrestling and Sports Entertainment. The traditional wrestling fans on the Internet believe this business is more Professional Wrestling than Sports Entertainment while, those at the WWE believe very different. This is not as simple as it seems to figure out. Wrestling is what we see on the Marquee, but those we see on screen are performers, putting forward a show. So are they performers or are the wrestlers" We all know that wrestling is a work and it is physical impossible for the average human being to put up with, but that is the big question. Is it defined as Professional Wrestling or Sports Entertainment" The answer all comes down to personal opinion and interpretation. Once you can define reality from fantasy you will realise that Wrestling is in fact Sports Entertainment. These men and women are performers playing the part of wrestlers. There is a script, even though the detail varies and the main objective is not to win matches but to be entertaining the paying customer.
Wrestling began as a 'real' sport. Two men would step onto a mat and wrestle until there was winner. It has been recorded that some matches would last hours on end making Steamboat vs. Flair look like a squash match. After the money dried up wrestling became a work to create interest, resulting in a bigger profit. As time went on people didn't realise how much of a 'work' wrestling was. This era was what we called the 'Kayfabe Era'. On screen and off screen they played it off as real. That is why the term 'wrestling' and 'wrestlers' was used on a regular basis rather than entertainers. This was done to maintain the realism so people would pay money to see a 3-hour show. Whilst in character, this business was referred to as the 'wrestling business' or as 'Professional Wrestling' when in reality they were actually 'Sports Entertainers'.
Towards the mid 90's with the development of the Internet the older wrestling fans began to realise that this show was indeed a work and not real. However wrestling maintained the Kayfabe mentality until the late 90's. This was a period of time when ECW started to flourish and the 'Attitude Era' began. Some people will say the spark of this; the official declaration of this was the 'Survivor Series Screwjob' in 1997. After this the floodgates open and the workers and promoters themselves became more open about the business. However we still called it 'Professional Wrestling' and the performers were still called 'wrestlers', until the new Millennium hit.
Vince McMahon made a business decision to end the facade and officially claim Professional Wrestling as Sports Entertainment. This is a truthful claim, which is 100% true. In reality these men use wrestling to put on a performance. These men use the sport of wrestling to entertain their fans. Wrestling fans are caught up in trying to restore what wrestling once was and do not realise that this is the next step for wrestling. Terry Bollea is a performer playing the part of Hulk Hogan, a wrestler. Steve Williams is a performer playing the part of Stone Cold Steve Austin, a wrestler. This is the way it is and we need to stop living in the fantasy that this is all real, when in actual fact it is not.
When a wrestling show starts these men and women are professional wrestlers, but once the show ends and the building empties these men and women are performers...entertainers. This is the reality of this business. It is Sports Entertainment.
This is Shane Mead and if you don't like it, it must be true!
by Shane Mead ..
Eno the Wonderdog wrote: Hi Shane - there's only one minor problem I have with your premise.
"Vince McMahon made a business decision to end the facade and officially claim Professional Wrestling as Sports Entertainment."
The only reason that Kayfabe ended for the WWF was that Vince wanted to float the company on the NY Stock Exchange & thus they suddenly came under the corporations law..
..oh and 'cause the Internet was getting popular for mugs like us..
..oh and the (hippy animal libby) WWF were demanding that a mighty wrestling empire and a stupido Panda Logo were confusing to their hippy mates on the internet.. even though they were getting a squillion dollars a year from the REAL WWF in "please shut up and go away" money..
But mostly it was the Float so Vince could either "unlock the capital wealth of the intellectual property of his company" or "Get lots of lovely money" depending on who words it....
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