What's Wrong With Professional Wrestling Today?
Wow! Where do I begin? This article is written with mainly the WWE in mind, since they are top dog right now (although I do see Ring of Honor and TNA giving them some real heated competition soon).
3 things that stand out above all else:
1. No Kayfabe
2. Too saturated
3. No concrete rules and authority
I'm going to take these, one by one and expand on them as my thoughts come.
First, the total absence of Kayfabe. For those who don't know, Kayfabe is an old Carny term that referred to making something fake seem real. It was basically a suspension of belief.
It was magic, in a way.
As it applies to professional wrestling, back in the early and better days of wrestling, heels didn't drop character. You would never catch a heel and babyface having a pleasant conversation, eating together or riding together. There was a strict code among the grapplers that you were to never, ever admit that wrestling was scripted. No matter how many people yelled, "it's fake!" you were to never drop Kayfabe. The "Smarts" knew it was scripted and the wrestlers knew that they knew, but it didn't matter. The wrestlers were to stay in character and never drop Kayfabe. Pro Wrestling was called a sport, not sport's entertainment. The dropping of Kayfabe has taken the whole mystery and excitement out of the shows, in my opinion.
Next, too saturated. Let me explain what I mean by that. There are far too many Pay-Per-View events, for one thing. The majesty and excitement of Wrestlemania in the 80s, for example, was the fact that it was one of the very few events all year long. That gave the writers and bookers time to create story lines that were solid. The tension between wrestlers built. The anticipation of seeing these two adversaries meet each other in the ring grew into a frenzy. Now, there is a Pay-Per-View event nearly every month. There isn't time to create an extended and growing hatred between wrestlers. Not only that, but you can see the top dogs go at it several times each week on free and cable television. Do you really care to pay $40 - $50 to see what you've pretty much already seen?
Also, championship belts didn't change hands as often back in the days of Kayfabe. The promoters kept a belt on a wrestler for months and years. That way, when a belt did change hands, it was a HUGE deal! Once again, they've killed the excitement.
Finally, no concrete rules and authority. Back in the Kayfabe days, a referee was the end-all; the final word. He was the power in the Squared Circle and the wrestlers rarely messed with him, let alone ever lay their hands on him. Doing so, always resulted in a fine, suspension or both.
Because the promotions gave the referee the power, the heel really had to do some underhanded and sneaky things to get around the rules. Rule-breaking wasn't blatant like it is now. Now, the referees are wimps in polo shirts and nothing more than another body in the ring. It's sad.
As far as the rules went, all promotions had rules set up. No tossing over the top rope, a disqualification resulted in a belt staying with the champ, etc. The rules were stamped in granite! Now, in many a match I've seen, the rules change to accommodate the writer's wishes. Rather than writing according to the rules, they write in spite of them. This makes for some very weak bouts. The fan ends up wondering why or how something happened, because, according to the rules, it shouldn't have.
These are my main peeves (I have others!) with the world of professional wrestling today. What do you think? Do you have other things that bother you? Do you disagree with something I've said? I'd like to hear from you and share your thoughts with the readers of Portland Wrestling Online.
Use the form below and let me hear from you.
Share your views on professional wrestling's downside today
Thomas from Roseburg, Albany, Salem writes:
Yeah, wrestling has gotten BAD.....I loved Portland Wrestling back in the 80's; it was the best. Its too bad its gone. I stop and think about it a lot. I myself got into wrestling and it's not what it once was. I didn't like how its was left. Its too bad. If I was a big dude and if I was just a bit older, I could have been a wrestler myself. But you are so right in what you say of it all. RIP, Portland Wrestling......Thanks Thomas Ray