Everything you ever needed to know about wrestling at your eartips.
What is wrestling?
Professional wrestling (also known as pro wrestling or wrestling) is an athletic form of fictional sports entertainment based on exaggerated combat. Wrestling characters will often have ongoing storylines and character arcs based on their status as a heel (bad guy) or face (good guy).
How can I watch wrestling?
There are countless ways to watch wrestling if you really can’t get enough of it. Thanks to indie shows such as Chikara, Ring of Honor and Lucha Underground, a wrestling fan never has to worry about running out of content. If you’ve never seen any wrestling before, the best place to start is with the WWE Network – the definitive library of World Wrestling Entertainment. Costing $9.99/month (or for new subscribers - a 30 day trial) it will give you access to WWE’s many documentaries, reality shows, exclusive interviews and pay-per-views (PPVs). Most importantly, you’ll also gain access to an extensive back catalogue of every PPV WWE has ever produced.
Best of all these is WWE’s developmental show, NXT. Focussing on the wrestlers currently undergoing training, NXT has become the go-to place for excellent storylines, fun gimmicks and flip-de-doo wrestling. Occasionally wrestlers from NXT will be promoted to WWE’s main show, meaning when you decide to watch a PPV you’ll already be familiar with a few faces.
WARNING: This next section exposes the business!
Is wrestling fake?
Uh, in words I can understand please?
Yes and no. This question is decidedly misleading. The outcomes of each match are determined beforehand and the moves and combative actions/reactions are choreographed to an extent, and executed in ways designed to minimise, yet simulate pain. However, there are still legitimate physical hazards involved with wrestling, and these can (and have) resulted in serious injury and albeit rarely, death.
The wrestlers know going into the match, who’s going to win and who’s going to lose, as well as how that will happen. Some of the moves are planned and practiced beforehand, and all are made to look like they hurt a lot even when they don’t hurt at all. That being said, there are risks involved in professional wrestling, and injuries can and do happen. Sometimes careers are ended prematurely.
WHAT’S THE APPEAL?
People beating the crap out of each other without the constant worry that they are actually going to kill each other? Kickass outfits? Ridiculous storylines? Hunks in spandex?
Let’s just ask the wrestling community:
What are the main shows?
WWE has approximately 12 PPVs a year, averaging at around one a month. Of those shows, four are considered to be most important; WrestleMania (which is held in March/April), SummerSlam (August), Royal Rumble (January) and Survivor Series (November). For more information on WWE’s PPVs and the differences between them, why not listen to our episode about it?
Are feuds/stories dramatised outside of the actual fighting?
Interesting question, although this depends on the company. In WWE some of the storyline happens in what we call a ‘promo’ – this is a segment where a wrestler will be either interviewed or talk straight to the camera. Other times storylines are continued before, after or during a match. These storylines can take days, weeks, months or even years to span out in their entirety. In order to see the story in full you would need to watch a LOT of wrestling. But to get the general gist and be aware of what’s going on, you only need to watch the monthly PPVs and the occasional weekly show. Some shows like NXT only take a commitment of one hour a week, and are therefore incredibly easy to remain up to date with.
Are the results predetermined at the beginning of the season, or do they work things out as they go?
For the most part, a season’s main arcs will be determined in advance. These are subject to change for a variety of reasons including injury and holiday. A few years ago, WWE’s World Champion Seth Rollins sustained a serious knee injury during a match, and was unable to wrestle for 6 – 9 months. As you can imagine, this threw a giant spanner in WWE’s plans, and they quickly had to come up with an alternative wrestler to take his place. These decisions might be made a while in advance, or in the case of last year’s Survivor Series with Irish wrestler Sheamus unexpectedly winning the World belt, an hour before the match itself!
If you’ve read this far, chances are you’ll enjoy a spot of wrestling. If you fancy it, why not check out the peak athleticism of my favourite two wrestlers both originally from NXT; Adrian Neville vs Sami Zayn, accompanied by Mozart.