Guest Author - Vance R. Rowe
Professional wrestling as we know it today has been around since the 1930’s. It didn’t hit the mainstream until a man named Vincent McMahon Jr. had a vision. His vision was to bring professional wrestling out of its territories and out of the barns and grange halls and into stadiums and arenas around the world. His vision became a reality when he brought a man named Terry Bollea, aka Hulk Hogan into the World Wrestling Federation and professional wrestling as we know it today was born.
What Hulk Hogan lacked in pure wrestling ability, he much more than made up for in charisma. He literally became a super hero and helped to bring professional wrestling into the mainstream. In 1984, Mr. McMahon had a bigger vision of bringing his product to audiences around the world and the very first WrestleMania was born. It was brought to people in theaters and arenas around the world by closed circuit television with the main event being Hulk Hogan versus Roddy Piper. Now, if you can think of Hulk Hogan as someone like Superman then Roddy Piper would have to be Lex Luthor.
The actor who played the infamous Clubber Lang in the movie Rocky III, Mr. T, was in Hulk Hogan’s partner during the match and they battled Piper and his partner, Paul Orndorff. Hogan and Mr T won the match after Piper and Orndorff were disqualified due to interference from Cowboy Bob Orton, the father of professional wrestling’s Randy Orton.
As professional wrestling got bigger, more and more naysayers came out to discredit it. People began saying that it isn’t a real sport because it has a pre-determined outcome and the wrestlers were not athletes but merely actors. While that may be true for the most part, these so called actors still have to have some athletic ability to do what they do inside of the ring. However, over the years and wrestling became more spectacle, Vince McMahon began to steer away from the word “wrestling” and stopped calling his employees wrestlers. They became to be known as “superstars” and “entertainers”.
There is a lot of speculation as to why this is. Some say it is because he didn’t want to have to hire a doctor to stay at ringside and others say this is so Vince McMahon could circumvent some states’ athletic guidelines so he could put on shows in these states. Mr. McMahon even went as far as to change the name of his company from World Wrestling Federation to World Wrestling Entertainment. Whatever the reason for this change, it has worked for McMahon and it has only gotten bigger over the years.
There are still naysayers who claim that they don’t watch pro wrestling because it is “fake”, but, these same people are entertained by movies and television shows that are fake as well. I watch pro wrestling for its entertainment value and have since 1976. I get caught up in the storylines just as if I was watching a weekly serial and you should too. Sure the matches have a pre-determined outcome and storylines to follow but tell me, is there anything wrong with that? Movies and television shows do that too.