Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Sports Entertainment -- Aaaaah, It BURNS!!

You know when you normally play a game like Trivial Pursuit, you get assorted categories for questions. For example, you'll get the categories of Sports, History, Science & Nature, Arts & Entertainment, People & Places, and other categories depending on which version you play. Say you get the topic of professional wrestling. That is considered to be "sports entertainment." What category does that fall under? I'm dead serious...would it be in Sports or Arts & Entertainment?

We'll look into this topic during a special edition of Politically Incorrect with AnimaniacZero!

Hello, everyone! We're going to talk about the term "sports entertainment" today. How about we look at an Urban Dictionary entry of it?
[from www.urbandictionary.com]
Sports Entertainment - The biggest curse word for people who are fans of professional wrestling (TNA, ROH, indy promotions).

There you have it. It's practically taboo for those who are die-hard fans of the concept of professional wrestling. I've been a wrestling fan for many, many years, and there are things I enjoy about it that some people don't. Once of which is the kind of writing and booking that is involved--I do theater, so deal with that statement. Sure, that might add the "entertainment" part to it, but hear me out on this one.

Isn't sports a form of entertainment to begin with?
This is the main point I've wanted to bring up. It's like saying "ATM Machine" when that expression is clearly wrong. I'll admit, the addition of the business being "fake" results to the placing of the emphasis on the entertainment, but hello? Isn't there some form of athleticism involved to begin with? Let's not forget the roots. Before the blowing up of the booking business during the late 1990's with the Monday Night Wars, we all thought it was just guys grappling with each other and just talked trash on each other day in and day out. Now, those who are older (and smarter, mind you) can see through a lot of the "storylines" and predict stuff. Sure, I'll agree that it sucks the fun out of plots and angles, but when you've watched wrestling for so many years and have seen certain things happen so many times before, it's really hard not to draw conclusions and what have you.

During my debate a few weeks ago, I mentioned how I'm a real sucker for athleticism and how that alone can tell a story about a sport and what is needed to make a big impact. When it comes to that, I pretty much throw storylines out the window. For example, watch this match. There's a story behind it, but the moves and emotions tell enough of a story so that you don't need to know the original angle of it all. Make sure you watch the whole thing too. You'll see what I mean.

Here's another thing that's like nails on a chalkboard to me: they're not wrestlers or athletes--they're "entertainers" and "superstars." Let's not forget that some of you were fitness models and pro sports rejects once upon a time; you're considering yourselves in the ranks of actors and actresses now? You're funny. When you have absolutely no knowledge of grappling or striking, the smarter fans are going to notice, and you're going to get heat. For example, watch this trainwreck. It's really bad. I can't watch it all the way through, it's so bad. But I digress.

The one thing that I'll had to these "entertainers" though is that they know how to put on a show. I went to my first WWE show on November 29th in Philadelphia [WWE King of the Ring, whoop whoop], and the live atmosphere is pretty awesome. Sure, you can't change the channel when a squash match is on, but you're still there laughing about it with people that share the same feelings that you have. Yes, I go wild for a couple of guys (lol, check the Twitter sometimes on Mondays and you'll see what I mean) so a lot of things from that night disappointed me, but the endurance and "selling" shown by a lot of the guys was great to see live and somewhat up-close.
[Do I have photos of this event? Yes, but I feel like the WWE Corporate Police will eat me alive because they practically rule the world along with Disney and Oprah Winfrey.]

But let me say this before I go too far off-topic--it's still a sporting event to me. I was actually watching the movie Highlander last week and in the beginning of the movie the main character is at a wrestling match at Madison Square Garden (WWE's Mecca, as it were) featuring The Fabulous Freebirds. From the way it was portrayed, the athleticism and striking appeared real and there was no talk of storylines and how high the workers were on the corporate ladder. It was all about the sports. Bam. Argument made. Sure, there's a huge business underneath it all, but it wasn't so obvious back then.

Even in the independent promotions it's not very obvious...hmm, maybe because they actually focus more on wrestling. I point at Ring of Honor Wrestling when I say that. Sure, there's booking and inside stuff involved, but the guys tell their stories through wrestling, whereas promotions like WWE and TNA do more of their storytelling through "complicated" storylines, show vignettes and promos, and outrageous acting spots. Do I hate that? No, not necessarily, but sometimes the athleticism and the acting doesn't mesh very well at times. A lot of people may agree with me on this, so I don't feel stupid in saying that.

In conclusion, I heavily dislike the term "sports entertainment." Sports should already entertain. Even though wrestling entertains more than most, the usage of "entertainment" sort of...overdoes it. If I want more entertainment, I'll go downtown to see a musical or something. If I want to go to a wrestling event, I want to see some athleticism and some hard work. The lights and music are kind of a bonus.