Raw Attraction

Survival is a word that has so many interpretations for so many people. Depending on which country you live in, your financial state and well being, surviving everyday life is very personal.  And in western society sometimes our way of surviving could be deemed as superficial or unnecessary comfort.
So why do we get out of bed in the morning? What keeps us interested in life? With all the atrocities occurring in the world some people take refuge in consumerism and escapism. Things like shopping, cars and the entertainment industry etc help us get-by and survive.
I myself am guilty, because I like wrestling – the WWE kind. And when telling someone I’m a wrestling fan they usually ask the question again out of utter shock, just to make sure they heard right the first time. I guess this is because I don’t look-like a stereotypical wrestling fan, on the flip-side I am female and I have a brain!
‘You like wrestling?’ ‘Yeah, I love it!’ And that’s when the interrogation begins. All the answers are easy: I follow World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), which was formerly known as World Wrestling Federation (WWF). My all-time favourite wrestlers are Jeff Hardy, Rey Mysterio, Eddie Guerrero, Billy Kidman and Chris Benoit. In every match these guys keep the audience and fans guessing about what they’ll do next with their lightening fast speed and athleticism.
I watch WWE’s two main programs ‘Raw’ and ‘Smackdown’ every week and get to see the ‘Mainevents’ on subscription television once a month. For a hefty $200 each, my sister and I saw ‘Raw’ at Rod Laver Arena when they brought their show to Australia in 2003. But it’s when they get to the big question ‘Why do you like wrestling?’ I always seem to fumble with my words. I began watching WWE around the age of 15, but not by choice. My little sister was still in primary school when wrestling was all the craze in her grade. She soon got my mum hooked on watching wrestling and the two of them became addicted to the week in, week out antics. My dad and I were disgusted. The ridiculous story lines, bad hair and outrageous wardrobe choices was all a part of a show that went on for two hours too long.
Then something happened, something unexpected. I started paying attention, liking wrestlers and hating others. I felt excited when a ‘good guys’ music started up and he would come running down the ramp and into the ring. I began wishing wrestling nights came around sooner. The WWE was a cheesy part of my life, but I was hooked and I didn’t even see it coming. When friends came over they couldn’t understand our fascination with the TV screen. Neither could Dad. He was now alone in his crusade to banish wrestling from the house as it was all we women talked about. Six years on he still doesn’t see the attraction.
Wrestling is very much like any other sport – you either like it or you don’t. If you’re not a fan, it’s hard to understand the appeal of two men wrestling one another. But I love the heroes and villains, the music and suspense, the physical and athletic demands and the death-defying stunts – all done to entertain and win their crowd’s respect (and to earn their million dollar pay checks). For me there’s no bigger adrenaline rush than a huge roar from the stadium at a wrestling event and having the fans booing, yelling and screaming, at what they are witnessing before them.
Sure it’s fake – they’ve already determined the winner before the match, and they’re playing characters, but the moves still hurt, the pain is still real and the fans devotion to their idols is everlasting (or until they turn bad). That is why I love wrestling, because in a small way, it’s what keeps me interested, both for real reasons and for satire reasons.
Looking back, wrestling is the one thing that tied my sister and I together as friends. Having a five-year age difference, it’s hard to find common ground, but wrestling provided a shared love and interest for us when we were younger, that still remains to this day.
So when I fumble at the question, ‘Why do you like wrestling?’ It’s not because I don’t know what to say, but rather, where to begin! A small piece of mindless entertainment can ultimately provide a lot.

By Laura Mullins

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