Part sport, part performance art, professional wrestling's appeal crosses national, racial and gender boundaries--in large part by playing to national, racial and gender stereotypes that resonate with audiences. Scholars who study competitive sports tend to dismiss wrestling, with its scripted outcomes, as "fake," yet fail to recognize a key similarity: both present athletic displays for maximized profit through live events, television viewership and merchandise sales. This collection of new essays contributes to the literature on pro wrestling with a broad exploration of identity in the sport. Topics include cultural appropriation in the ring, gender non-comformity, national stereotypes, and wrestling as transmission of cultural values.
Professional Wrestling and the Commercial Stage examines professional wrestling as a century-old, theatrical form that spans from its local places of performance to circulate as a popular, global product. Professional wrestling has all the trappings of sport, but is, at its core, a theatrical event. This book acknowledges that professional wrestling shares many theatrical elements such as plot, character, scenic design, props, and spectacle. By assessing professional wrestling as a neglected but prototypical case study in the global business of theatre, Laine argues that it is an exemplary form of globalizing, commercial theatre. He asks what theatre scholars might learn from pro wrestling and how pro wrestling might contribute to conversations beyond the ring, by considering the laboring bodies of the wrestlers, and analyzing wrestling’s form and content. Of interest to scholars and students of theatre and performance, cultural studies, and sports studies, Professional Wrestling and the Commercial Stage delimits the edges of wrestling’s theatrical frame, critiques established understandings of corporate theatre, and offers key wrestling concepts as models for future study in other fields.
Filled with insightful analysis and compelling arguments, this book considers the influence of sports on popular culture and spotlights the fascinating ways in which sports culture and American culture intersect. This collection blends historical and popular culture perspectives in its analysis of the development of sports and sports figures throughout American history. American History through American Sports: From Colonial Lacrosse to Extreme Sports is unique in that it focuses on how each sport has transformed and influenced society at large, demonstrating how sports and popular culture are intrinsically entwined and the ways they both reflect larger societal transformations. The essays in the book are wide-ranging, covering topics of interest for sports fans who enjoy the NFL and NASCAR as well as those who like tennis and watching the Olympics. Many topics feature information about specific sports icons and favorite heroes. Additionally, many of the topics' treatments prompt engagement by purposely challenging the reader to either agree or disagree with the author's analysis.
Performance and Professional Wrestling is the first edited volume to consider professional wrestling explicitly from the vantage point of theatre and performance studies. Moving beyond simply noting its performative qualities or reading it via other performance genres, this collection of essays offers a complete critical reassessment of the popular sport. Topics such as the suspension of disbelief, simulation, silence and speech, physical culture, and the performance of pain within the squared circle are explored in relation to professional wrestling, with work by both scholars and practitioners grouped into seven short sections: Audience Circulation Lucha Gender Queerness Bodies Race A significant re-reading of wrestling as a performing art, Performance and Professional Wrestling makes essential reading for scholars and students intrigued by this uniquely theatrical sport.
The millions of fans who watch World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) programs each year are well aware of their role in building the narrative of the sport. #WWE: Professional Wrestling in the Digital Age explores the intersections between media, technology, and fandom in WWE's contemporary programming and business practices. In the Reality Era of WWE (2011 to the present), wrestling narratives have increasingly drawn on real-life personalities and events that stretch beyond the story-world created and maintained by WWE. At the same time, the internet and fandom have a greater influence on the company than ever before. By examining various sites of struggle and negotiation between WWE executives and in-ring performers, between the product and its fans, and between the company and the rest of the wrestling industry, the contributors to this volume highlight the role of various media platforms in shaping and disseminating WWE narratives. Treating the company and its product not merely as sports entertainment, but also as a brand, an employer, a company, a content producer, and an object of fandom, #WWE conceptualizes the evolution of professional wrestling's most successful company in the digital era.
Sports Fans, Identity, and Socialization is an eclectic collection of new studies from accomplished and emerging scholars in the fields of communication, business, geography, kinesiology, psychology, and more, who employ a wide range of methodologies including quantitative, qu...
Sports Plays is a volume about sports in the theatre and what it means to stage sports. The chapters in this volume examine sports plays through a range of critical and theoretical approaches that highlight central concerns and questions both for sports and for theatre. The plays cut across boundaries and genres, from Broadway-style musicals to dramas to experimental and developmental work. The chapters examine and trouble the conventions of staging sports as they open possibilities for considering larger social and cultural issues and debates. This broad range of perspectives make the volume a compelling resource for students and scholars of sport, theatre, and performance studies whose interests span feminism, sexuality, politics, and race.
Introduced in the Pacific Northwest in 1883, professional wrestling has a long and storied history in the region and has contributed significantly to Northwest culture. This entertaining account of the wrestling industry in Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia provides a detailed look at more than 130 years of events in the ring and behind the scenes. The author draws connections between developments in wrestling and the changing identity of the Pacific Northwest.
In this two-volume set, a series of expert contributors look at what it means to be a boy growing up in North America, with entries covering everything from toys and games, friends and family, and psychological and social development. * 166 entries on specific aspects of boyhood life in North America today, ranging from boy-centered toys, games, and media to issues of masculinity and confusing notions of manhood * Expert contributors from a variety of academic and professional disciplines, providing insight into a range of issues related to the lives of North American boys * Bibliographic listings of works cited and further reading in print and online * A comprehensive index
This book examines how the current era of "convergence" has affected, and is reflected in, the world of professional wrestling, which combines several different genres, including drama, action, comedy, horror, science fiction, and even romance. Professional wrestling’s business practices exist at the intersection of bottom-up fan-centric strategies and strict top-down corporate control. Meanwhile, the wrestlers themselves combine aspects of carnival hucksters, actors/actresses, comedians, superheroes, martial artists, or stuntmen, and the narratives consist of everything from social critique to geopolitical allegories, and from soap opera melodramas to stereotyped exploitation. Bringing together the latest scholarship in the field, Convergent Wrestling analyzes various texts, business practices, and fan activities to explore the commonalities that define professional wrestling and consider how it exists in today’s new media ecology. In addition, the book considers the professional wrestling industry from several different angles, from massive multinational conglomerate World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) to local indie federations. As such, it will appeal to scholars with interests in popular culture, media and cultural studies, and fan practices.
(FAQ Pop Culture). Sport? Entertainment? Art form? Perhaps a bit of all three, with a certain intangible extra something thrown in for good measure, making professional wrestling a truly unique entity unto itself. From its origins in carnivals and sideshow attractions of the 19th century, right up to the multimillion-dollar, multimedia industry of the present day, and all the bizarre, wild, and woolly points in between, Pro Wrestling FAQ delves into the entire history and broad scope of one of popular culture's most enduring yet ever-changing spectacles. With chapters devoted to the many fascinating eras in the history of the business, as well as capsule biographies of some its most memorable and important figures, this book will serve as the ultimate one-volume reference guide for both long-time wrestling nuts and initiates to the grappling phenomenon. Revisit the legendary 1911 "Match of the Century" pitting World Champion Frank Gotch against archrival George Hackenschmidt, "the Russian Lion"; experience wrestling's TV golden age in the 1950s, a time of such colorful personages as Gorgeous George and Antonino Rocca; relive the glory days of Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant, when WWF impresario Vince McMahon took the business mainstream; and get the lowdown on recent favorites, such as John Cena, CM Punk, and others who have taken the business boldly into the 21st century.
From the host of the critically acclaimed pro wrestling podcast Straight Shoot, this graphic novel history of wrestling features the key grapplers, matches, and promotions that shaped this beloved sport and form of entertainment. As a pop culture phenomenon, professional wrestling--with its heroic babyfaces and villainous heels performing suplexes and powerbombs in pursuit of championship gold--has conquered audiences in the United States and around the world. Now, writer/podcaster Aubrey Sitterson and illustrator Chris Moreno form a graphic novel tag team to present wrestling's complete illustrated history. Featuring legendary wrestlers like Bruno Sammartino, Hulk Hogan, and The Rock, and modern-day favorites like John Cena, Kenny Omega, and Sasha Banks, the book covers wrestling's progress from the carnival days of the Gold Dust Trio to the dominance of the WWF/WWE to today's diverse independent wrestling scene, and it spotlights wrestling's reach into Mexico/Puerto Rico (lucha libre), the U.K. (all-in), and Japan (puroresu).