My friend and fellow blogger Joanne has recently admitted to a dark secret… she enjoys watching wrestling! Coincidentally, I too have fallen under the spell of this vulgar and bizarre spectacle that is the ECCW (Elite Canadian Champtionship Wrestling). I was walking along the street one day, when I saw that the doors to a usually quiet community center were open, and something was going on in there. Men and women in strange spandexy outfits were fighting! I realized that aside from answering such important questions as “Do dolphins rape people?” I must also delve into the phenomenon that is wrestling. After all, the swaggering and fighting components make it a close cousin of swashbuckling.
Remember that old WWF commercial that went: “It’s not exactly opera… It’s not exactly art…” Regardless, wrestling is a sort of art form. Each wrestler has his own personality and an over-the-top character that he or she portrays. The age-old battle between good and evil is reenacted here, and who is to say that it’s not as good as any of the finest acting on stage or screen?As Shakespeare’s Theseus wisely stated in Midsummer Night’s Dream: “The best in this kind are but shadows; and the worst are no worse, if imagination amend them.” In other words, even the best acting is imitation. There is no such thing as a good or bad show, good or bad acting — it’s our imagination that makes the spectacle.
And speaking of Shakespeare, it’s that play-within-a-play aspect that really makes it exciting for me. In the small live venue where I last watched the wrestling, the audience gets to take part in the action. A couple of times, we had to push our chairs back, trying to get out of the way of the fighters as the combat spilled out of the ring. Another time, audience members argued with the managers, insulted the “bad guys,” or provided a running commentary. When a “baddie” stood atop the ropes showing off his abs, someone from the audience shouted “It’s a 4-pack!” Another time, when the crowd was cheering on its favorite, the King of the Yukon, by chanting “Yukon! Yukon! Yukon!” a lone voice exclaimed, “It’s the best kind of potato!”
It may not be exactly opera, but feeling that you’re part of the action is what great art is all about.