The most taboo thing a person could say about professional wrestling is that, professional wrestlers are not real athletes.
Professional wrestlers are some of the most highly trained athletes in the world. Many of the wrestlers come from athletic backgrounds ranging from Olympic wrestling to collegiate football.
They possess strength, conditioning, and, most importantly, they put their bodies on the line every time they step into a wrestling ring.
Like every other sport in the world, including basketball, football, and baseball, wrestling has a professional level of competition.
Unlike other amateur sports, wrestling is seen as a complete “fake” due to it’s pre-determined nature. Wrestlers know before they enter the ring who wins and who loses out.
Viewers on television and spectators at the live events have no idea though who is going to win or what will occur during a match. In most cases, script writers have already decided weeks in advance who the winner will be.
Because of this, many people oppose professional wrestling due to it’s soap opera-like qualities. Critics slate it as it doesn’t involve legitimate competitive action. This male soap opera face and lack of true competition, however, should not take away from the athleticism of the wrestlers involved.
Rock and Angle
Take wrestlers Kurt Angle and Dwayne Johnson, for example. No one can refute their superior athletic ability.
Kurt Angle was the first American ever to win a gold medal in Greco Roman wrestling at the 220 -pound weight class during the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. Dwayne Johnson (a. k. a. The Rock) gained All-American status as a defensive-end for the University of Miami football program.
They continued their careers by competing in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). They entertained the audience with all sorts of moves including the Olympic Slam, the Ankle-Lock Submission, the Rock Bottom, and the Peoples Elbow.
Although these moves are controlled, accidents do occur.
Night after night, wrestlers put their bodies on the line. It’s not easy to perform high-risk moves (i.e. jumping off the turnbuckle) and come away completely unscathed.
One match alone can last anywhere from ten seconds to one hour. During that match, a wrestler is required to many out of the ordinary actions. Lift 200 plus pound opponents several times, run across the ring, jump off turnbuckles, and receive several shots to the body which actually cause pain.
If any of these actions are not performed properly or on time, wrestlers may pick up injures or look like fools.
Professional wrestler wannabes on the TV reality show Tough Enough found this out the hard way.
Reality TV wrestling
Tough Enough was a show in which thirteen prospective wrestlers received training experienced WWF wrestlers. The prize at the end of it – an official WWE/NXT contract.
Throughout the show, contestants were either cut by the trainers or left the show for personal reasons. Of the thirteen wrestlers, two could not continue the show due to injuries, and four more sustained minor knocks which kept them out of competition for a couple of days.
These wannabes saw professional wrestling as an easy job. However, they soon realised that injuries, conditioning, and not being able to see their families for weeks or months at a time made the profession extremely difficult.
To me, an athlete must possess strength, conditioning, and a willingness to push his/her body to its maximum potential. Professional wrestlers carry these attributes with them every day of their careers.
The profession is often labelled as a joke because of its lack of true competition. Never the less, I honestly value their athletic ability for what it truly is. Awesome.