It’s real if you believe it’s real

Tuesday, April 5
April 5, 2011
Ricky Prestenbach
April 7, 2011

Ten thousand people stand on their chairs and stomp as he enters the arena. He stops, hands on hips, surveys the screaming crowd, then saunters toward the ring amid great pomp and circumstance. A floor-length cape, draped about his shoulders and covered with sequins, sparkles as he walks. His hair, however, grabs everyone’s attention. Gold, or more accurately, golden white, with curls like a child’s in a Rockwell painting. As he nears the ring, the people begin to chant, and the chant grows louder with each regal step. Now he is at the ring and the cheers, mixed liberally with boos and catcalls, are deafening. Indifferent to the booing, he jumps to the ring apron and begins to throw the hairpins to the crowd, the special golden-colored kind he is famous for.

That was the story of Gorgeous George, a wrestler from yesteryear. But as much as things change, they stay the same. The names have changed, Triple H, Nexus, the Undertaker, Kane, John Cena, Ray Mysterio, but the game is the same.

Modern-day wrestling isn’t about wrestling. It’s about entertainment. And as much as my wife and girls hate that I watch it on TV, I watch. Heck, I love it.

I’ve loved wrestling since I was about six or seven when my grandfather started taking me to the local matches in Marrero. And to supplement that, we’d watch it on television any time it came on. Other times, we’d go to the Municipal Auditorium in New Orleans and scream our lungs out. I saw Gorgeous George in person, as well as world champ Dick the Bruiser. I think Grandpa Gus loved it more than me, and he swore it wasn’t fake. Course, I don’t think either one of us believed that, although I’d challenge anybody to doubt those guys in the ring don’t really beat each other up just doing all the fake stuff they do.

Nowadays, wrestling has come out of the closet and admitted it may fake it a little, but, hey, it’s all about having a good time. For the price, and if you like infantile stunts, childish humor, bad costumes, and soap opera melodrama like me, then there just ain’t no place like a good wrestling match, cher.

That’s really the whole point. Doesn’t matter if you believe it or not. Personally, I know women who go because they like to pull for the bad guys in tight short shorts.

As any thespian will tell you, a play is only as good as its audience. And no audience is better than a pro wrestling audience. These are everyday people who want to see the good guy smash the bad guy to a pulp. They want one simple little thing, justice. In real life, most of us don’t get it. At a wrestling match we usually do.

Here’s the scenerio: Good guy gets beat to a pulp, but, in the end, he somehow wins. Crowd erupts. He raises his hand in joyous victory because the crowd loves him. He is good and he doesn’t snarl and spit like the bad guy.

Another positive: The ladies in the audience get to watch the testosteroned hunk of their dreams traipse around a ring in bikini briefs. I say this is good. This is America! Let justice prevail!

For those who don’t believe any of it’s not fake, go anyhow. Both believers and unbelievers get what they want. They get a hero and a villain and both put on a show. That they are actors playing wrestlers or vice versa does not matter. Few people really care. They’re there for the excitement and color and spectacle.

And if you disagree, I’ll just have to pile-drive ya.