Wrestling is fake (and that’s okay)

12:00:00 AM

A teammate in jiu-jitsu and an officemate in an advertising agency are both part of Philippine Wrestling Revolution (PWR), a local WWE-type promotion. At the time of writing, my jiu-jitsu teammate is one of the referees, waiting for his debut as a wrestler, while my ad agency officemate is already a regular on the undercard. Whenever they had events, they would invite us to watch - and I did so twice already. 
Golden Ticket
The first show I went to was #Mainit, and although I enjoyed watching, it was a pretty frustrating experience for me for two reasons. You see, I wasn’t really a wrestling nut when I was growing up. I knew a few characters from occasionally watching WWE on television (Hulk Hogan and Triple H and The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin were the names I remember), but I didn’t really enjoy the few shows I sat in front of the screen for. Even then, I found it all fake.
Yown, Evan Carleaux!
Galing ni Ref!
Which brings me to my second reason: my exposure to various forms of fighting - mixed martial arts, Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, arnis, Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestling - made it difficult for me to understand how or why people would buy into PWR or WWE. In fact, a couple of matches into #Mainit, I found myself “coaching” the wrestlers from my ringside seat - I was yelling to tell them to tighten their guillotines. Oops! HAHA!

But halfway through the show, I somehow managed to let go of my prejudices. I came to terms with what it was and what it wasn’t, and then I actually started enjoying it. I laughed, I booed, I cheered - and although I still wouldn’t call myself a fan, I can say that I have a better understanding now of its appeal. 

It’s entertainment. For amusement. For fun. It’s not meant to be taken seriously, and I had been looking at it with the wrong pair of lenses all these years. When you watch PWR or WWE, you’re supposed to willingly suspend your disbelief - just like you do when you’re at the movies. When you’re able to do that, you will find yourself taken by the wrestlers and their narratives. 

The main event of #Mainit was cut short when one of the fighters injured his knee while performing a stunt. So yeah, even if this kind of wrestling is fake, there are still risks and they are very real. A lot could go wrong in a show, but these guys keep at it anyway. For that, they have my respect. 


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