WRESTLING 101: Whose Line is it Anyway?          

nintendo-pro-wrestling-t-shirt.v2.main_grandeIf imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, than the pro wrestling community has a serious identity crisis.

For the life of me, I simply cannot fathom the logic in WWE pointing a strong finger at the Young Bucks for a hand gesture, likewise (formerly) Impact Wrestling with respect to a Hardy character more artistic expression than brand identity. All the while, both promotions misappropriate trademarks left and right in clever apparel where pop culture manifests itself via wrestling terminology. (I’m sure the guy who invented ‘vs. the world’ is feeling cheated out of a whole lot of money.)

The irony is, pro wrestling is intended to mimic many things. Kick/boxing, Greco-Roman wrestling, Kabuki theater, rock concert presentation…let alone the decades long development of pro wrestling cultural mainstays (contract signings, manager interference, country battles, and – of course – rink entrances!) that are now synonymous with storylines. There’s also only so many pro wrestling moves and their variants; fake fighting has a finite coffer.

Also ironic is the lack of recognizance that pro wrestling, within its very essence, is not mainstream. Let’s face the music, people. Despite cross-marketing with actors, sports superstars, and prime time television programming, only wrestling diehards can state – with almost a straight face – that the sport should be on par with other aspects of popular entertainment. Want proof? Try convincing non-wrestling fans to turn over their television sets for a PPV when an NFL game is airing. This is not critiquing pro wrestling, rather the inverse. It’s a select taste, for select individuals, who keep the sport alive.

Moreover – and while pro wrestling (in most instances) is wonderfully kid friendly – it is financially supported primarily by middle-aged men. While a significant fan base globally, attempts to protect pseudo trademark fiefdoms is a lesson in frustration for these slightly older fans wanting escapism. These fans already face an uphill mainstream acceptance battle.

Simply put: pro wrestling is niche. Perceived elitism rampant in fringe entertainment products – sci fi, gaming, etc. – is not product celebration rather self-induced cyanide ingestion. Attempts to convince one’s self that a particular product, athlete, and/or aspect of these fringe entertainment products is superior only leads to the demise of all. In the end, no one thinks you’re the coolest cat in town…especially those on the outside now mocking the emperor’s walk in closet of no clothes.

There’s not a single member of this community who can state with confidence that the ballooning, exclusive WWE Development Roster is unconditionally good for the sport’s future. Not that these athletes do not deserve this opportunity for highest level stardom and income, rather this hording creates artificial boundaries between factions that serves little purpose. It’s internal elitism at its worst.

In short: stop with the fake copyright traffic signs and artificial infighting roadblocks. It’s killing us all.

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