Does World Wrestling Entertainment really grab fans the way it used to or has the showís target audience shifted away from adults like me who grew up loving the show?
I donít think wrestling is purely for kids because thereís a very adult element to the shows, but what has happened to the legendary figures who once made it great?
When I was a kid, I loved wrestling. My cousin and I would wrestle using the techniques weíd just seen on TV, such as throwing each other against the furniture until the sofa broke, one of us bled, or our grandmother caught us and threatened bodily harm. I was a huge fan.
The wrestlers were bigger than the wrestling ring. They crossed over into mainstream society and became movie stars, cartoon characters and action figures. Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant made performance wrestling a viable, must-seeTV drama.
Iím not saying wrestling is dead. Today, itís still my adult friends who discuss the featured matches and wrestlers regularly (like they donít know that the outcome of each match is predetermined).
But, the question remains: Are performances losing relevance? There are a few reasons the sport doesnít grab me as an adult.
No offense to wrestling fans, but I canít bring myself to call wrestling a sport. Itís not that those who participate arenít athletes because believe me they are. The rigors of those who perform in these choreographed matches are high. But as an adult, when I watch a performance, I want the winner to be decided in the ring and not in an office. Because matches have a predetermined winner and loser, itís a performance and Iím okay with that, but donít call it a competition.
When I was a kid, the performers who happened to be wrestlers werenít worried about physical fitness. The performers developed personas that were so powerful that we hated, loved and adored them all at once. What they had to say mattered.
Wrestling shows werenít just great because they gave us incredible drama and excitement. The shows had an actual message to viewers. I canít tell you how many times I wanted to eat the right foods just because Hulk Hogan said if I did, I could be a part of Hulkamania.
Even though wrestling may have sometimes been a bit silly and a lot over the top, the message to young viewers is still important. Wrestlers who were good, taught me just as much as those who were bad. Those lessons are important even if the teachers are called the Undertaker, Triple H or The Big Show.