WWE | Pro Wrestling

Does the Illusion Matter Anymore in Pro Wrestling?

Brock Cena PullapartIn my last post here on the Camel Clutch Blog, I commented on how I believe that TNA is wasting a roster spot on Zema Ion. A lot of folks chimed in on Facebook to defend Ion’s ability, particularly his ability to execute high risk, high flying acrobatic moves from the top rope. I countered this notion by pointing out that in order for guys like Ion to perform these stunts, there always has to be someone – typically his “opponent” – standing ready out on the floor to catch him as he lands.

This, more than anything else, screams phony, and I pointed that out most emphatically.

That’s where the discussion got very interesting.

Many fans – and indie workers alike – weighed in on that point, asking me, essentially, “Who cares? Wrestling is fake. So what if it looks fake?”

I must admit I was taken a bit aback by this position. What hit me immediately when people said, “Who cares if it looks fake?” was, “If you’re not trying to make it look real, what’s the point?”

Granted, I’m very much old school in my thinking on matters like these. Back in the days of kayfabe, pro wrestlers endeavored very diligently to make what they were doing look real. Sure, most people understood even back then that wrestling was fake. But even so, great care was taken to preserve the illusion. That to me and lots of others of my generation, was a big part of what made wrestling entertaining.

But today’s younger fans don’t seem to care so much about preserving the illusion. “All wrestling looks fake to me,” one fan said in a comment he posted. “I don’t watch wrestling for the illusion. I watch it for the stories and the action.”

So be it, but if that’s your perspective, I have to ask again, “What’s the point?”

To me it’s like a magician who doesn’t try to conceal how he does his tricks. What’s the point? Everyone knows that magic is not real, but that doesn’t mean the audience is OK if the wires suspending the levitating lady are plainly obvious. Isn’t saying, “I don’t care about the illusion in wrestling” the same as a magician saying to himself, “Everyone knows magic is fake, so why bother trying to hide the trick? Why bother using cables painted black to levitate the lady? I can just use that old rope I got in my garage!”

Another analogy I like to use is action movies. Think back to a classic action movie like “Predator.” Now we all know that the alien in that movie was just a guy in a costume. It was fake, just like pro wrestling is. But even so, the director of that movie worked very hard to make the climactic fight between the alien and Arnold Schwarzenegger look convincing and realistic. Same thing holds true with all good action movies. Movies where the action is obviously fake and over-the-top tend to do very poorly at the box office.

Shouldn’t pro wrestling still be held to that same standard?

So I ask you readers of the CCB, does the illusion matter in pro wrestling anymore?

Come check out my new book, Fixing the Indies, the step-by-step guide to success in indie pro wrestling.” And then link to http://fixingtheindies.com

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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Welcome to the Camel Clutch Blog. The CCB was born in 2007 and features blogs from over 50 different writers. Articles from the Camel Clutch Blog have been featured by some of the world's most respected websites including; CNNSI.com, Foxsports.com, Yahoo News, Business Insider, MSNBC, NBCsports.com, and more.

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