By Blake Carter
The most watched sporting event second to the Super bowl, the WrestleMania XXVII in Atlanta, was aired Sunday. World Wrestling Entertainment advertises one of the biggest followings in television rating. What is the draw for people to watch these performances?
All sorts of people watch sports entertainment, no matter age or status. Shay Cox, adjunct instructor of math, started watching wrestling at a young age thanks to her father. Through that she was able to use wrestling to feel that connection to her loved ones.
“Growing up in the South in the early 80s, there were not a lot of channels on TV nor were there program options. WBTS, based out of Atlanta, provided more variety. On Sundays the evening lineup was Wild Kingdom, Jacques Cousteau and WWF. I watched WWF with my dad every Sunday night,” said Cox.
“Years later, when I got my first apartment in another state, I returned to wrestling only to find my old favorites like the Hacksaw Jim Dugan and The Nature Boy Rick Flair return. I missed my dad. So, I spent evenings with wrestling to remind me of the times I shared with my family.”
Caitlynn French, theatre senior, also shared a similar story about watching when she was young with her parents, making a weekly event for her family. For French the reason she really got into wrestling was how much theatre is actually in a episode of WWE.
“I love how wrestling engaged me as a kid. For the longest time many of those individuals I looked up to as heroes, and in ways still do, though far less idol worship compared to my childhood,” French said. “There were underdogs, heels, eccentric characters. While many may argue this with me, it’s another form of live theatre filled with athletes performing stage combat.
One of the best parts, is the performers break the fourth wall. They spoke to the audience and as a child I took that as if they were talking to me.”
And while the matches are scripted, that doesn’t take the excitement out of watching it for French.
“Yes, I know it’s fake, but that’s half the fun trying to figure out how they are executing the moves and making it so real,” French said.
For others like Daniel Diaz, undeclared freshman, the main reason to watch wrestling is just the enjoyment.
“I get made fun of by the golf team for watching it, but I don’t care, I watch because it’s just plain fun, that’s why it’s called sports entertainment,” Diaz said.
And it’s really all that fun and entertainment that brings so many different people to watch shows like Monday Night Raw, or WrestleMania. It’s just something different that’s fun to do, and that’s what Cox tries to bring to her children as she continues her family tradition.
“Now I watch WWE with my kids because I love the drama and my favorites Stone Cold Steve Austin and the Rock are back. It has made this semester so much fun and this cold winter more bearable.”
Blake Carter is a senior majoring in communication. You may e-mail him at email@example.com.