My name is Randee, and I love professional wrestling.
I say this as if I’m admitting that I have a problem. As if I’m at a support group meeting for anonymous people with various addictions.
But I don’t view my love of pro wrestling as a problem. Or as an addiction. Especially because ‘problem’ and ‘addiction’ are ugly words with negative implications, and they’re best used for describing things that are detrimental to a person – like alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, or gambling.
So, no, I do not have a ‘problem’ or an ‘addiction’ when it comes to pro wrestling.
What I have is an obsession.
How about fixation?
These are all good words, and they go a lot farther in describing what I have for pro wrestling than ‘problem’ or ‘addiction’ does.
I particularly like ‘fetish’ because it sounds kind of sexy – just like all of those hot, sweaty male wrestlers in their skimpy, leaves-little-to-the-imagination speedos… The ladies know what I’m talking about.
But there’s more to my love of pro wrestling than just my fascination with the muscular men in their tiny speedos.
I have been watching pro wrestling for as long as I can remember. It was just something that was always there because my dad watched it. But I really became ‘obsessed’ with professional wrestling when I was twelve years old. I was going through a period in my life when I was deeply depressed. I knew I needed help, but I was too scared and embarrassed to ask for it. Instead, I kept quiet and just kept sinking into a darker and darker place. I needed something, and it was professional wrestling that found me. Specifically, it was Matt and Jeff Hardy that found me. It was April 24, 2000 – I heard their entrance music, looked up from the book I was reading (THESE HAPPY GOLDEN YEARS by Laura Ingalls Wilder), took one look at the Hardys, and I was hooked. I’ve loved them like crazy ever since. I love them now – going on twenty years later – just as much now as I did then.
Now, has professional wrestling always a positive influence on me?
If anything, pro wrestling was a morally ambiguous influence. At times, it was a very negative influence – I’m looking at you, D-Generation X. Thanks to Shawn Michaels and Triple H, I was that ten-year-old-kid running around the playground doing the crotch-chop and telling people to “suck it!” and having no idea what it meant. To this day, despite not having the correct anatomical equipment, I still occasionally tell people to “suck it!” Thanks, Shawn and Trips -
But watching professional wrestling made me who I am today.
And I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Of course, there are also a lot of people out there who think that pro wrestling itself is a serious problem – what with the apparent lack of morals, the ‘foul’ language that can and is heard just about everywhere else, the alleged steroid abuse, and everything else that non-wrestling fans love to complain about. Oh, and don’t forget the depiction of violence. Though, to be honest, I’ve seen more violence portrayed in children’s cartoons than I’ve ever seen watching pro wrestling…
And then there is always the argument of the uninitiated who are convinced that pro wrestling is fake. More times than I can count, I’ve had someone ask me, in a very condescending tone, ‘You do know it’s fake, right?’
We all know.
It’s not some big secret that only non-wrestling fans know about.
We know about it. We’re in on it.
But professional wrestling is not fake!
Pro wrestling is fixed.
Pro wrestling is staged.
pro wrestling is scripted.
BUT PRO WRESTLING IS NOT FAKE!
There is nothing fake about what the wrestlers do. The wrestlers hit each other for real, and it hurts. Sure, they typically don’t hit each other as hard as they make it look. But they are still hitting each other. The moves, the injuries, the steel chairs – those are all real. There is no way to fake falling off a twenty-foot-high ladder and crashing through a table.
Over the years, I have taken a lot of crap for being a pro wrestling fan. On a daily basis, I’ve been mocked, ridiculed, and laughed at because not everyone thinks it’s socially acceptable for a female above a certain age to watch pro wrestling. They think that because I’m a thirty-one-year-old woman I should have long ago realized that pro wrestling is stupid and gotten over my ‘addiction’. The fact that I haven’t gotten over my ‘addiction’ leads these people to believe that I have a ‘problem’.
I’ve also been told that I’m ‘too intelligent’ to watch pro wrestling because I have a Bachelors degree and two Masters degrees – as if my degrees somehow dictate what I can and can’t be a fan of. But, apparently, these judgmental people think that only ‘dumb’ people can watch wrestling. What they don’t understand is that there is so much more to pro wrestling than just the wrestling. Pro wrestling revolves around the wrestlers and their different storylines. As a fiction writer, I love pro wrestling because of the characters and the storylines. To be honest, I have learned more about the basics of creative writing from pro wrestling than I did from any textbook or graduate level creative writing class.
Now, I will be the first to admit that pro wrestling can be kind of ridiculous. When you think about it, it’s really just a bunch of men – most of whom are wearing little more than their underwear – beating the crap out of each other. It’s ridiculous. And that’s what makes it fun. Over-the-top storylines to get caught up in. Larger-then-life characters to love and love to hate. It’s basically a violent soap opera. And I love everything about it.
I watch pro wrestling every week.
So, yes, maybe I am addicted to professional wrestling. But it’s a safer and healthier addiction than alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs – things that I have never used. As far as I know, no one has ever overdosed from watching wrestling. Had wrestling not come along, I might have gotten into these things.
Wrestling continues to be the light at the end of the tunnel.
Some people saw wrestling as the problem.
I know it was the solution.