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Opinion: Wrestling with the remote

Observer columnist Stephanie Zoer reflects on a life-long passion.
An opinion piece on professional wrestling.

I have been a dedicated professional wrestling fan for years.

Yes, that is me glued to the TV on Monday nights so I can watch WWEs Raw. Tuesday night is NXT, Wednesday night is All Elite Wrestling’s Dynamite, and Friday night is Smackdown.

Yes, I would watch them all if I had control over the remote in our house, but sadly I do not. Frank, my husband, is the remote king.

Do not get me wrong, Frank enjoys wrestling as well, but not as much as me.

In our younger days we would venture out to the Kitchener-Waterloo Auditorium in Ontario to watch the WWE events live. We even went to Hulkamania in Toronto years ago.

At the time I was a reporter for a small-town newspaper and was fortunate enough to get backstage and interview Bart and Billy Gunn from Smoking Gunns tag team. I even had the chance to walk the dressing room area and met Razor Ramon. He spoke to me as well and even kissed my hand, something I will never forget, as he just recently passed away.

This to me was like meeting movie stars and was such a thrill.

People are often shocked when I say I am a huge wrestling fan, and then the predictable comment comes, “How can you watch that fake stuff?”

To me, watching a good wrestling match is like watching a good movie, or is it?

First of all, these people are entertainers. They are also in better physical condition than most athletes.

They work at least 200 nights a year, travelling from city to city on a tight schedule. Often they are jumping on a plane or in a vehicle right after their show to get to the next town, for the following evening’s performance.

Most times their performance will last from 15 to 45 minutes, unless it is an event like the upcoming Royal Rumble, when a wrestler could be in the ring for over an hour.

Each time they entertain, their performance is choreographed. Each move, each fall is rehearsed beforehand, after all if they did not, there would be more injuries.

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin broke his neck when Owen Hart botched a piledriver causing Austin’s head to hit the mat. Although Austin could barely move his arms, he completed the match.

They perform each time they enter the squared circle. Each time they take a chance. It is like watching a movie with an exceptional storyline.

Now I am sure we have all watched a movie in our lives. There are great movies and others that are not.

Every movie is choreographed, rehearsed and each scene is played out according to the script. This is done in front of a camera and if the actor messes up, the scene is done over till it is right.

Movie stars usually do not do their own stunts either. Yet a wrestler performs live each time. They cannot re-do it.

Each fall, hit and each time they fly off the ropes, it is done by the wrestler, not a stunt double.

It has always amazed me how they can fall from 12 feet in the air and get up and walk away. If that were me, I would be out for the count.

So, which one should we be calling fake?