Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Guilty Pleasures

I used to be a wrestling fan. Yes, I knew it was scripted. To me, it was entertainment and something I was raised with. Back in the 50's I used to watch the Saturday noon half hour of wrestling with my Grannie. It was a normal part of my every other weekend stay at Grannie's and Grandpa's. We'd get up around 7, have breakfast, do dishes, make beds, get dressed, do some housework and always leave to go grocery shopping by 9:30. We'd be back by 11 or so with whatever she purchased. That would give us time to put things away, have lunch, set the dishes to soak in the sink and retire to the living room for the 12:30 matinee bouts that were televised back then. In the same way that Mom made sure I understood that Heckle and Jeckle hitting each other with wooden mallets wasn't real, Grannie made me understand that those men in the squared circle were acting.

Since this was such a normal part of my growing up years, I thought everyone knew that the wrestlers we saw on TV were actors playing roles that were physically demanding. I found out, as I grew up, that this wasn't the case. There were people who didn't see it as entertainment, they seemed to see it as a waste of time, or in some cases entertainment fit only for trailer park trash.

The current owner of the WWE, Vince McMahon, took that type of entertainment from it's origins as school gymnasium events to the bigger arena venues by admitting that it was "sports entertainment". He also managed to find wrestlers who looked much hotter in tights than his Dad had. I imagine that was a good thing since as he acquired decent looking men, the storylines started to decline. The good guys (babyfaces) became bad guys (heels) and the stories became mean spirited and in some cases downright ugly. The wrestlers became so arrogant that I could find nothing redeeming in the entirety of it so, I quit watching.

Of course, I hadn't stopped watching until after the character known as Chris Jericho joined the roster. To me, he was just another arrogant blond with a steroid body. A carbon copy of all the other long haired blonds who were wrestling at the time. As a matter of fact, I had named him "Chris Jerkico" I was bored with the concept and uninterested in watching him develop. Imagine my surprise when he was one of this seasons "Dancing With The Stars" cast. I almost decided not to watch it because of that. I'm so very glad I did.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that Chris Jericho had something more going for him than his wrestling fame. He put every effort into learning the dances assigned to him. He listened to criticism without becoming defensive. He admitted when he hadn't done well without making excuses. He looked pretty darned good without his shirt on too.

He was voted off the show last night and I was rather dismayed. Either wrestling fans don't watch DWTS or more guys wanted to watch Kendra shake her booty. Seeing Chris Irvine not playing Chris Jericho when things didn't go well went a long way towards taking away the very bad taste in my mouth that wrestling became. Not enough for me to start watching it again. It's not my kind of entertainment anymore.


  1. My first experience with wrestling was as a child in Amarillo Texas when my parents would attend the matches and sometimes take me and my brother. Back then I thought they were 'real.' Later on I figured out it was all 'fake' and never watched it again.

    I did not know that it (wrestling) was later deemed 'white trailer trash' but am not surprised to hear it.

    Kind of like the bad rap that Nascar gets these days.

    In my opinion - 'it's each his/her own,' so if wrestling or Nascar or whatever floats your boat then 'right on brother, right on.'

    As for the guy on Dancing - I only saw him dance once - and I thought it was neat that it was dedicated to his late mother.

    Wrestling is just entertainment - why can't people be entertained by whatever they like without somebody throwing the 'white trash' label around?


    But in defense of some of the so called actors off camera and out of the ring most were really nice guys...not all...I remember when Rick Flair got hurt and was taken to Baptist Hospital here in Winston Salem...he was told he had to have an operation on his neck and they would have to shave part of his head...he went off the deep end in the hospital and threatened the doctors and nurses...Security was called, managers were called in, Hospital Admin advised that Mr. Flair could be transferred to any other facility of his choice but the short of it was the hospital was not going to tolerate his temper tantrums....Cooler heads prevailed, Rick got his hair cut, and the hospital probably saved his physical health and his asinine career for a few more years....

  3. ICE,

    I think there was a part of Grannie that believed it was real. With the blood they used to shed, and George Steele showing his green tongue and ripping the turnbuckles apart with his teeth, I think she told me they were acting so I wouldn't get scared.

    There was a time in the late 80's early 90's when Monday Night Raw was on and woe betide anyone who interrupted me during the hours of 9 to 11.

    Yep, NASCAR and wrestling, those redneck pastimes that certain people look down on. Call me whatever they want, it don't bother me a bit. I come from a long line of loggers and farmers. It doesn't get any better than that.

  4. TAB,

    Too often the characters took over the person. They started to believe their own hype. It was nice to see one that is as well grounded as Chris Jericho is.

    It's scripted, it's actors playing parts, but the pain they experience is real and damaging to their bodies. That alone separates them from the fake action roles we see in movies and on TV where the stuntmen all have safety nets to protect them.

  5. Sherry:

    The most popular wrestlers combined their athleticism with superb acting skills. :^)

  6. I'm going to miss Jericho on DWTS. This was one intelligent, down to earth, classy guy. Huge difference when you compare him to Kendra, who seems like she's missing her moment on COPS. I feel sorry for Louie, who's obviously less than thrilled with his partner.

    I'm guessing Chris Jericho had a little less of a fan base than the other stars (similar to Petra? model last week). It's a shame, as I would have loved to see him another week or two.

    Also I believe the producers kept Kendra in for controversy and ratings, as I doubt the "voting" is the final decider of who stays.

  7. Whit,

    Most popular wrestlers are pretty decent actors, the problem they seem to have is knowing when to stop acting.

  8. Skinny,

    I'm sure you're right about Kendra.

    I too will miss Jericho. He did seem to have the class lacking in some of the other dancers.

    I figure the winners will either be Mark and Chelsea or Kim and Hines. I'm leaning towards Mark and Chelsea.