Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

The Marks Have Gone Off-Script

Posted by kaufmansw on March 21, 2017

I think the first sentence in this reading describes professional wrestling perfectly; Modern professional wrestling is unique as a storytelling form. The fight is staged behind the scenes with a winner being pre-determined.  Professional wrestling mixes sport, drama, acting, and a story-telling stage all in one.  This sets wrestling aside from other professional sports because the other ones don’t have pre-determined winners with the plot laid out.  I will say that this idea seemed silly to me at first but after watching matches today in class, I gained a further appreciation for the sport.  I often found myself on the edge of my seat, eager for the next move.  Another thing that I liked is the fact of how real it seemed when they were hitting each other.  This made the fight seem real but didn’t cause anyone injury or gruesome things to watch.  This leads to more of a family atmosphere which opens up the market to who the WWE can sell tickets to.  Another sentence that really stuck out to me was, “Wrestling’s performance art has traditionally been built on how to “work” the crowd—how to “draw heat” from the marks, true believers who can be emotionally manipulated by the convincing performance of an athletic contest.”  The wrestlers must feel what the audience wants and give it to them.  This causes a change in plot sometimes but they have to do whatever it takes to keep people buying tickets.  The common theme in the matches is good guy vs. bad guy.  The crowd gets behind the good guy when he’s down and wills him to fight back to victory.  This makes the fans feel as if they controlled who won which leads to them coming back.  The most important thing I’ve learned in this class so far is, money makes the world go around.


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