// Category Archive for: Sports

How Wrestling Can Modernize

Published on September 5th, 2013 in: Pro Wrestling, Sports |

By Paul Casey

“Fantasy is hardly an escape from reality. It’s a way of understanding it.”
Lloyd Alexander

Daniel Bryan

If you’ve read any of my wrestling based writing over the last couple of years, you know that I believe professional wrestling/sports entertainment is as good as place as any for creativity. I am not a casual fan and have devoted many hours and dollaroos, and on occasion have even attempted to apply a figure-four leg-lock to humans and actually make it hurt (unfortunately impossible to do).


Wrestling’s Dark Heart

Published on January 28th, 2013 in: Over the Gadfly's Nest, Pro Wrestling, Sports |

By Paul Casey


One of the biggest problems for the modernization of professional wrestling, not covered in my last wrasslin’ bit, is the so called wrestling community. This especially concerns its Internet variant, which continues to be a barrier to any outsider views being able to filter through long enough to have any positive or lasting impact.


Why Wrestling Can’t Modernize

Published on January 8th, 2013 in: Over the Gadfly's Nest, Pro Wrestling, Sports |

By Paul Casey


Wrestling is not a sport. It is some combination of martial arts exhibition, magic, and comic books. It is a dangerous profession. As I wrote around this time last year on Popshifter, there are many reasons why professional wrestling has not gained legitimate mainstream acceptance.

Over the last year in WWE—the most powerful wrestling outfit in the world—CM Punk, independent wrestling hero and one of the most gifted technicians in at least a decade, has held the main world title. He has held it for over a year, straight. In modern times this is extremely rare. In the old days title reigns lasted years; now they last months with a much wider pool of talent vying for the top prize. This is not really a bad thing—even though some would-be traditionalists argue that it has added to wrestling’s decline—as when the wrestlers in competition are talented and the bookers know how to weave storylines together it can reflect the best aspects of professional wrestling: fast, brutal, hilarious, and supremely athletic.

I have admired Punk for a long time, and when he shook up the company in 2011, it was an exciting time to be a wrestling fan. I hoped, as many did, that this would be the moment when wrestling finally moved on and progressed beyond emulating the successes it had in the past. Even though there have been many fine things about CM Punk’s run as the top guy in WWE (and arguably in all of pro wrestling), it emphasizes again how deeply ingrained wrestling’s problems are.


Suffering, Defeat, and Justice: Why You Should Care About Pro Wrestling

Published on January 30th, 2012 in: Issues, Oh No You Didn't, Pro Wrestling, Sports, TV |

By Paul Casey

Professional wrestling reached the high water mark of its popular and critical acceptance in the late 1990s. Since then, the Internet has bypassed the crude elitism of the dirt sheets and allowed fans the world over to step inside the shoes of a failed sports journalist with a disregard for both style and skill. When Vince McMahon admitted the pre-arranged nature of professional wrestling, he hit upon a unique way to market his World Wrestling Federation. “Sports Entertainment” is an athletic display, a “male” soap opera, a comedy showcase, and supposedly has more in common with Saturday Night Live than it does with Greg “the Hammer” Valentine vs. Roddy Piper in a Dog Collar Match.

lou albano
Lou Albano, Cyndi Lauper

This was probably true in the 1980s, when Cyndi Lauper was palling around with Lou Albano and Mr. T was teaming with Hulk Hogan. It was probably true in the late ‘90s when The Rock and Steve Austin were at the top of their game. We’re a living cartoon. We’re real life super heroes. We’re a magic show. The successful marketing term of “Sports Entertainment” was an obvious, calculated attempt to redefine a business which had fallen between the cracks of popular culture. “Do they really expect us to believe this is real?” Although people can appreciate the commitment of magicians such as Penn & Teller and David Blaine in maintaining the illusion, the confusion over what wrestling actually is led to a long period where the public liked to believe that they were simply too sharp to be fooled.