Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

“The real world is faker than wrestling.”

Posted by Alex Malone on November 3, 2016

My favorite band for the rest of eternity the Mountain Goats, who notably wrote a song before I was born about the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series in five games, recorded an album last year about wrestling.

It’s never been something I’ve managed to find an interest in. I’m terrible at suspending disbelief. I can’t go to big hot loud places of any sort without getting overstimulated and losing control of myself. Muscular men in tight clothing have always irked me. Et cetera.

But having reexamined this attitude, I’m left interested.

I play competitive Super Smash Bros. Melee, a video game that, although approaching its 15th birthday, has a community that is currently at its peak. This renaissance was bolstered by a recent documentary, the spread of which could probably be discussed at length on its own. The Smash Brothers tells the history of the game through the stories of its most accomplished players. This focus on individual people (and the personas they cultivated and continue to cultivate) brought about a level of engagement that mirrors in some ways that of pro wrestling — I have often described the scene as “wrestling, except it’s real,” and a recent community-generated meme posits that the results of major tournaments are scripted by the commentators. The scene is, to my knowledge, unique in this regard. Name another esport with something like this, a “diss track” produced by an old-school big name that calls out the closest thing Melee has to an out-and-out heel. Hell, name any sport with a comparable item. I’ll wait.

Addendum: I feel this deserves to be seen by more people.


7 Responses to ““The real world is faker than wrestling.””

  1. First, I love the Mountain Goats. I think the link you posted is really interesting and I agree the culture of wrestling is really intriguing and deeply problematic, having experieced it first hand.

    • alexmalone1729 said

      After today’s viewings in class I almost feel like all of the hypermasculinity and other problematic aspects are something of a caricature of real life, in some sense or other; however, I’ve never been anywhere near it in person. I would enjoy reading about your experiences in greater detail.

      Are you more of a lo-fi or hi-fi Goats person?

  2. Of course, I love mountain goats too. I must say, however, that you are a fool and a wretch! Super Smash Brothers Melee is a BAD video game! haha!

  3. radionightowl said

    Never played Melee, but I’ve played Brawl and other iterations. I’ll admit that I never thought about the game as a manifestation of wrestling, but in a way it is. The audience screams and cheers for the characters as they fight. There are over dramatic power ups and reactions to certain moves (like being flung out into space or crushed against the screen) that really remind me of wrestling’s theatric flair. Though it’s not as scripted, the characters of the game have their own arcs and are well-established in the way that pro-wrestlers have a recognizable image and franchise behind them. Even if you can’t see SSB as an example of true wrestling, I’d be willing to bet it takes a ton of cues and runs with them in order to create a more successful and raw approach to the fight game genre that isn’t excessively violent, bloody, or gory.

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