World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) is not everyone’s cup of tea. The brutal fights and constant bickering is a feast for the WWE maniacs. However, the same is highly criticized by many.
There have been questions raised about the social impact of WWE. But more than that, the surreal atmosphere that WWE creates can often look fabricated. The question is- Is it?
The answer lies in WWE’s claim that it is the leader in sports entertainment. The term sport entertainment in itself smartly reveals WWE’s business strategy.
Sports entertainment is a type of spectacle which is accompanied with theatrics and exuberant proceedings. The purpose is to keep the event lively and the audiences hooked, and for that matter outcomes may also be predetermined. A die-hard WWE fan may provide an argument that it is ‘best for business’.
Professional sports are sports in which athletes receive payments for their performances. So it is not wrong to say that WWE can qualify as a professional sport.
There is a huge misconception that WWE matches are faked. That is not entirely true. It is just that WWE is sticking to a fixed storyline. Neither Undertaker and Kane are half-brothers, nor has Undertaker risen from death more than once. These are cooked up stories served per the taste of the fans.
WWE wrestlers can come from different streams of combat. Kurt Angle is a former Olympics freestyle wrestling gold medalist, whereas Shinsuke Nakamura and many others have a background of mixed martial arts. Mark Henry is a former amateur weightlifter, while Roman Reigns comes from a lineage of Tongan wrestling family- Anoa’i.
So to accept wrestlers of all styles and backgrounds, WWE has to tinker with the outcomes. Fans will only accept new styles if they can see the results.
The WWE Universe expands with a simple formula- castles in the air will fascinate the masses. It has been proven in the past that drifting away from a WWE storyline has been negatively received by fans. The fans are ready to accept a pointless storyline if it is executed properly.
The recent instance that any fan can recall is of Roman Reigns. He was the ‘apple of the eye’ of a WWE fan. He was a constant thorn in ‘The Authority’s’ skin. Fans were already fuming with the handling of Daniel Bryan storyline and were happy to see the vexed faces of Triple H and Stephanie McMahon week in week out.
But the Reigns vs. Authority storyline was overextended and suddenly Roman Reigns was not that ‘next big thing’ any more. The good face of Roman Reigns was completely antagonized when he beat Undertaker in WrestleMania 33. And yet again, Reigns regained his good repute after reunion of the Shield.
There can be no denying that the actions performed inside the ring cannot be faked. The high-flying action and the finishing moves is impossible to be faked. The outcome might already be known but what goes inside the ring is certainly not fake.
If combat arts (UFC, MMA etc.) are a professional sport then so is WWE.
The motive of the WWE has always been to keep its fan base waiting for the next episode. While it may not be a competitive sport anymore, but the dedication and commitment that the wrestlers put in to perform for the fans should not be given a status of an entertainment show.