Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The WWE...a soap opera for guys?

As far as real sports go, I'm not sure how much World Wrestling Entertainment qualifies...two years ago, I knew very little about the WWE, though thanks to my uberfan boyfriend (possibly the only uberfan of the WWE over the age of 15? Can anyone help me dispute that?), I was forced to watch it on more than one occasion and therefore forced to learn about that crazy world. (In fairness, I forced him to watch baseball on more than one occasion. I'm not sure which of us felt more tortured by the other).

Anyway, the WWE. It's not like high school or college wrestling. It's not like Olympic wrestling. It's not like sumo wrestling. It's more like ballroom dancing, only more violent. Every move is choreographed. Every move is rehearsed. Every move is a show, which isn't to say that nobody ever gets hurt. The Undertaker may be pretending to punch Edge repeatedly, John Cena might have rehearsed that fall when Randy Orton takes him down, but when people are body slamming other people, jumping from the ropes, throwing people into tables, hitting people with ladders and chairs and doing all the other fun things wrestlers do, there are times when they get legitimately hurt. You have to be in shape and you do take a beating when you're fake wrestling.

But forget about that. The most important thing I've learned about the WWE in the past two years is that it is a complete soap opera. It's fascinating. From a writer's standpoint, I am completely fascinated. There are twisting, turning storylines that go back years, that play out every week, that culminate in pay-per-view events that might set entirely new stories in motion or twist others completely around. There are romances. There are rivalries. Alliances with sworn enemies are made. Alliances with good friends are broken. People retire or are fired or disappear only to return triumphantly years later. Older wrestlers go out in a blaze of glory or fade gently into the night. There are personal vendettas and family feuds. Illegitimate children and secret family ties, affairs, broken hearts, broken heads...I can't find stories this intriguing and captivating on Guiding Light, the actual soap opera I watch. I almost wish I had known about wrestling when I was in college writing my senior thesis on television, because I could have found so much to write about.

Anyway, my boyfriend will tell you he watches the WWE for the fights, as I'm sure, will every male WWE fan out there (except for those who watch for the Divas)...but he sure can tell me a whole lot about the intrigue and story surrounding every wrestler and fight...and which really makes me think that a guy who watches the WWE is more like a girl who watches soap operas than he'd like to admit...

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