For a kid growing up in the 1980’s wrestling was about pile-drivers, elevator drops, clotheslines off the top rope, and brawls where someone was inevitably getting a beatdown with a folding chair. Every kid knew who Roddy “Rowdy” Piper, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, Hulk Hogan, and the Ultimate Warrior were. Today, not much has changed in the world of so called Pro Wrestling. Unfortunately, even today, many people are under the impression that wrestling is what they see on television.
So-called professional wrestling couldn’t be more different from reality. In actual wrestling there are no factions of wrestlers determined to destroy each other. In actual wrestling there is no face paint, costumes, tag team matches, cage matches, or any of the other theatrics that commercialized wrestling would lead you to believe. In actual wrestling there’s strategy, technique and aggressiveness without compromising sportsmanship and respect.
Wrestling is probably the single most fascinating, intense, and challenging sport there is. Wrestling is strategic, dynamic, and technical all at the same time. Wrestling also happens to be one of the oldest sports in the world, dating back over 5,000 years.
Wrestling is an individual sport yet a team sport at the same time. When you are a wrestler and you decide to step on to the mat, it’s just you and your opponent. There is no team to help you; other than to cheer you on. There is no offensive or defensive line to call out, relief pitcher to rely on, or players on the bench to take your place when you get tired. You are your own offense, defense, and special team.
In wrestling, you control your own destiny. You decide how hard to try and how much heart you put in. If you lose, you own the loss because you only have yourself to fault. If you win, you own the win because the win is a direct reflection of your skill, technique, and most important, your heart.
There is a team component to wrestling and this helps motivate you to continue pressing forward despite being down on points or being exhausted. In wrestling, you learn to take pride in yourself, your coach, and the teammates that surround the mat to watch, cheer, and support you. You develop pride in your wrestling team or wrestling club because of the friendship and loyalty that naturally occurs from the vigorous practices. When it is time to compete, you have already spent countless hours with your teammates drilling together, sweating together, and challenging each other. In wrestling, your performance is a reflection of your club and your wins translate into team points.
In the United States, professional sports are multi-billion dollar industries. In 2018, the WWE (the biggest professional wrestling organization in the world) had 1.8 million subscribers, this was up 10% from the previous year, and generated $801 million dollars. There’s a huge percentage of these fans, mostly kids, that believe what they watch is what wrestling really is. The fact of the matter is professional wrestling got the sport completely wrong.