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 is one of the most popular performance practices in the United States and around the world, drawing millions of spectators to live events and televised broadcasts. The displays of violence, simulated and actual, may be the obvious appeal, but that is just the beginning. Fans debate performance choices with as much energy as they argue about their favorite wrestlers. The ongoing scenarios and presentations of manly and not-so-manly characters—from the flamboyantly feminine to the hypermasculine—simultaneously celebrate and critique, parody and affirm the American dream and the masculine ideal. Sharon Mazer looks at the world of professional wrestling from a fan’s-eye-view high in the stands and from ringside in the wrestlers’ gym. She investigates how performances are constructed and sold to spectators, both on a local level and in the “big leagues” of the WWF/E. She shares a close-up view of a group of wrestlers as they work out, get their faces pushed to the mat as part of their initiation into the fraternity of the ring, and dream of stardom. In later chapters, Mazer explores professional wrestling’s carnivalesque presentation of masculinities ranging from the cute to the brute, as well as the way in which the performances of women wrestlers often enter into the realm of pornographic. Finally, she explores the question of the “real” and the “fake” as the fans themselves confront it. First published in 1998, this new edition of Professional Wrestling: Sport and Spectacle both preserves the original’s snapshot of the wrestling scene of the 1980s and 1990s and features an up-to-date perspective on the current state of play.
Professional wrestling has always been huge entertainment. Starting in the 1980s, however, the wrestlers themselves started to become cartoonishly hugemany with the aid of steroids and other supplements. This book shines a light on the history of steroids in pro wrestling, taking a critical look at the wrestlers whose lives have been irreversibly harmed by the fallout from using performance enhancing drugs.
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.
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.
Though professional wrestlers are usually ignored by sportswriters and entertainment reporters alike, the popularity of these gifted athletes and showbiz pros is undeniable. Few fans are concerned with whether the wrestling is “legitimate.” From Ace Abbott to Buck Zumhofe, this is the second edition of the first-ever comprehensive compilation of biographical information on professional wrestlers past and present, including major promoters and managers. Each entry is listed under the wrestling name most often used, with cross references to real names and other ring names. The ring name is followed by the grappler’s real name, hometown, height and weight, and birth and death dates when available. The biographical data provide the era in which the individual competed, wrestling associations, titles, tag team partners, major bouts and other highlights.
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.
A history of professional wrestling from its roots in legitimate sport to its days as a carnival attraction followed by the growth of regional rivalries and culminating as television-centered entertainment.
From the critically acclaimed authors of The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: The Tag Teams comes the most comprehensive look ever at the colourful villains, heels, bad guys and rule breakers who give professional wrestling so much of its character. In The Pro.
(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.
This book provides readers with an abundance of information and historical perspective as well as entertaining and memorable anecdotes about professional wrestling. Readers will also learn unusual snippets of trivia that will enhance their comprehension of the sport. • Includes 100 entries featuring wrestlers, promoters, and wrestling facts • Surveys the history of wrestling as a sport in historical context • Identifies individuals who have revolutionized the sport • Invites readers to engage with the information by presenting it as narrative