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Television's red-headed stepchild: pro wrestling

by Brad Trechak, posted May 3rd 2009 6:06PM
The WrestlerHaving only recently caught the movie The Wrestler on DVD, I was thinking about the relationship between television and pro wrestling. Since the inception of the boob tube, professional wrestling has appeared on television. At first it was an inexpensive way to fill the hours, usually for several hours per week. Then, it became much bigger than that and is now one of the biggest ratings draws on cable television. So, why doesn't the television media or blogs such as ours cover it more (except for when it intersects with other television shows such as The View)?

First, wrestling has its own cult following with a myriad of websites and news sources that cover it exclusively. Anything done on a television website would seem redundant. Secondly, despite the ratings, mainstream television has never taken wrestling seriously. Wrestling is a carnival atmosphere that blurs the line between fantasy and reality and is difficult to treat with dignity and respect for those who don't understand it.

So, I ask of you: do you think more television websites should cover wrestling?

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Back in the 1950s' and 1960's, when wrestling was less mainstream, it was still similar. In those days people who followed it believed that they were following a legitimate athletic contest; media "pooh poohed" it as fake, with little redeeming value.

However, it has always been great entertainment!


May 15 2009 at 6:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I say yes.. have some posts...

Haven't I seen multiple idol posts per week (or dancing with the Stars? So say you did a WWE Raw post...TNA post and WWE smackdown post. That covers the biggest names.

May 06 2009 at 8:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

For the sake of the WWE you'd better not. The only way to credibly review a modern day wrestling show on a TV website is to call it like it is, and if you watch it from a TV critic perspective, what you will see is a complete joke filled with horrible acting, even worse writing, laced with a thin layer of cheese.

WWE Raw is ridiculous and wrestling fans will read reviews from wrestling websites because it will take it seriously and review it in the context of a wrestling fan. To review a show like this on a TV website will destroy all credibility. to review Monday Night RAW as a TV critic will do nothing but destroy wrestling's already fragile credibility.

May 05 2009 at 2:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

All I can say is that when I was young wrestling was the cat's meow. We'd get to school and act out some of the moves and even take on some of their nicknames. I once took on the moniker of Ax from Demolition. I even had a signature move that I made up, "The Iron Claw", that move had many victims. How could anyone not enjoy the antics of Ravishing Rick Rude? The guy was a comic genius.

I'll end by saying "Will all you fat, out of shape, TVsquad sweathogs please keep the noise down while I take off my robe".

Oh wait, to answer your question I don't think TVsquad should cover wrestling. Maybe set up another blog specifically for wrestling.

May 04 2009 at 4:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Personally, I dont watch wrestling, I dont "get it" and I dont understand why it is so hugely popular. So my first reaction to the question of whether it should be covered on more tv websites was a definite no.
However, after thinking about it for a minute I decided that I was wrong. Wrestling is on tv, so if enough people want to read about it on these sites there is no reason it shouldnt be covered just like any other tv show or program. If I'm not interested in it, I can just ignore it. There are plenty of sitcoms , dramas and other things on tv that I dont like or care about, so I just cherry pick the things I am interested in and skip over the rest. It would be the same thing with wrestling.
The question of how to cover it may be a bit more complicated. I think the serious wrestling fan would be better served by the sites that are dedicated solely to wrestling and cover it in depth. But tv sites such as TV Squad could do a big picture overview of the major stories and issues without going hog wild with saturation coverage or anything that is out of proportion to how they cover other tv.

May 04 2009 at 2:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I say if someone wants to do it, add a Raw/SD/PPV review area... but have someone decent do it!

May 04 2009 at 12:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dave Spencer

I think part of the problem with covering pro wrestling is that the product itself is so intermixed with its production.

All it takes is for one legit news outlet to report a "work" as if it was a real story and they'll never touch it again. And the temptation for the wrestling companies to work the media for publicity is too great to pass up. So there's this mistrust that makes it hard to report it with a straight face.

May 04 2009 at 10:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Professional wrestling HAS in fact been on television since its inception and you can simply YouTube plenty of footage to back that up. There is a stigmatism against it, for whatever reason, that is in direct opposition with its popularity. Professional wrestling has its roots in the carnival/Vaudeville productions, mainly, because it was TV ready before anything like a sitcom or drama had time to develop.

In a local mart, especially, where advertising from local business was the lifeblood, wrestling filled hours when nothing else could. Any argument that professional wrestling shouldn't be covered as a television show is born in bias and is not supported by evidence. Even in today's soft market, professional wrestling, er, sports entertainment is still earning solid ratings and the WWE is widely credited for helping make the USA Network consistent in its success. Being that NBC is the parent company of the USA Network, I would venture a guess that professional wrestling has made NBC more money than Seinfeld has.

As a largely overlooked side note, and in no way meant as an endorsement of, Vince McMahon and the WWE (then WWF) had an integral part to play in the birth and evolution of the pay-per-view concept. It can also be said that many of the current presentations, vignettes and promotions used by UFC and boxing are also rooted in the formula created by the WWE. To overlook these contributions and not grant them their place is ignoring fact and borderline snobbish. One not necessary need be a fan to recognize and give credit in an objective sense.

May 04 2009 at 3:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Wrestling? Love it. But there's sorta a good reason that it isn't covered as much on most blogs...simply put, it's hard to cover, because it operates on so many levels, and has so many hours of programming a week. Just to cover WWE itself involves, as of right now, RAW, Smackdown, ECW, and Superstars--and that's just the current programs. Add in the occasional Saturday Night Main Event on network TV, and near-monthly Pay Per Views...you're talking about covering at least 25 hours of material per month, as opposed to a normal show's 2 - 8.

Next, there's the issue of which to cover...WWE is the obvious, because it's the most popular...but then there'll be a vocal minority also wanting TNA's brand to be added in--adding more to be covered.

As far as the different levels of coverage...there's just a recap sort of coverage, good for a basic viewer...but the true fans usually need to go to devoted sites, not for recaps--but for the information behind the scenes. (Which injuries are real/storyline, spoilers as to what storylines may be coming up, etc.)

So while I certainly enjoy wrestling, and do read both this blog--and some wrestling centric ones...I'm not at all surprised that TV blogs don't go into coverage of this. Aside from actual soap operas, and some reality TV shows (Big Brother comes to mind), it requires one of the greatest time commitments to correctly cover.

But of course...that complexity, is why we fans, can't get enough. ;)

May 04 2009 at 2:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
One Man Clique

With reference to the links between television and wrestling: "There is none. Seriously. None."

Wrestling first appeared on television screens in 1939. While baseball was the first sport to be shown on an American screen, viewers complained that the players seemed to be nothing more than dots. Wrestling, however, was much easier to shoot (for obvious reasons) and took up a place in the schedule to this day. [Ringside a History of Pro Wrestling, Beekman, S. p. 81]

For a theoretical link between the nature of the Carnivalesque (with a capital Bakhtinian capital C) may I suggest Fiske's 'Television Culture' [p. 243]. He makes rather a convincing argument that pro-wrestling is part of a much wider cultural fashion that also includes MTV, televised sports and other 'low brow' entertainment.

Basically, now you just look like a bit of an idiot who doesn't know what he is talking about.

May 04 2009 at 12:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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