I hold that Professional Wrestling, in its entirety, belongs to the Geek Community. To some, this may seem like an easily-acceptable statement. However, ask this question in a room full of us and I bet you’d find those people that agree are in a small minority. And why is that? Probably, because the image of a wrestling fan is a middle-of-the-country, overweight, hillbilly, drinking canned beer and screaming at a TV screen. Even so…does that necessarily preclude us from being part of it. Yeah, guy in the 2XL Super Mario Bros., 1-Up Mushroom t-shirt, with the three-day beard and the messenger bag, I’m talking to you. And you are one of us. Welcome, and don’t be offended. I like your shirt.
A masculine soap opera, with larger-than-life characters, revolving around battles between the sides of good and evil. These combatants, dressed in bright, colorful, tight clothing, with immense muscular physiques, engage in scripted combat, simulating powerful moves that if taken by a “normal” man, would leave them crippled or worse. Sometimes, they wear masks and keep their identities hidden. Sometimes they form teams, or alliances, to bring down a larger, more dominant threat. There are even women involved, and although they are just as good as the men, instead of being overly muscled, they have amazing physiques with, often, larger-than-life…boobs. There are explosions, bright lights, loud noises and a whole lot of screaming and bold statements tossed around like beads at Mardi Gras.
Now, I need not go any further. We all know what I am talking about.
Yes, yes and also Professional Wrestling.
You see, right there, if I hadn’t prefaced this article, it could have easily been about the chief literature of the Geek: the comic. And that is because they are one in the same. POINT 1: MADE.
Now, I’ll go even further, you see, the relationship between Professional Wrestling and Comic Books has a storied history, pun 100% intended. You see, it is common, in comics, for heroes and villains to hide their identities. They often wear masks to separate their real life from their…extracurricular activities. This can be directly linked to Professional Wrestling.
Lucha Libre, or Mexican Wrestling, involves most of their performers to wear masks. They serve the purposes stated above; keeping the talent’s in-ring lives separate from their out of the ring ones. In fact, many wear their masks in public. To remove one’s mask is to threaten their life, to lose their honor, to lose their power. This is taken very seriously in it’s home country. Now, what if I were to tell you that Lucha Libre directly influenced one of the most famous comic book heroes of all-time.
Peter Parker vs Crusher Hogan
Crusher Hogan first appeared in 1962, a member of a Professional Wrestling organization. Peter Parker, needing money and also having recently gained his abilities, jumped into the ring with the legend, in order to win the purse of money guaranteed to anyone who can last with the champion. As you may have seen in the original Sam Raimi Spider-Man of the late 90’s, this character’s name was changed to Bone Saw McGraw and was played by Wrestling Legend Macho Man Randy Savage. (That’s a point right there). So, what does Parker do, wanting to conceal his identity? Skin-tight suit with a Lucha Libre mask. The birth of the icon’s outfit was a direct result of Professional Wrestling. POINT 2: Your Socks…Knocked Off
Now, back to my original point and what I think truly unites Pro Wrestling and Comic Books – the storylines. As I mentioned above, Professional Wrestling is, at it’s base, a Good vs. Evil melodrama. The heroes face the villains, sometimes the heroes win, sometimes the villains win, but in the end, as we know…the heroes will find a way to come out on top. Sometimes a hero will turn his back on his supporters and jump onto the evil side. Sometimes a villain might find himself in a position to become a hero. And sometimes, when you get those special kinds of anti-heroes, those rugged, kick ass and ask questions never kind of guys, *cough* Wolverine *cough*, we all know how that plays out. See: Stone Cold Steve Austin.
Throw in some love triangles, some daddy issues, even characters switching publishers (whoa, I know, that’s a whole different article) it’s pretty clear that the similarities far outweigh the differences.
So, next time Professional Wrestling comes on, even if you aren’t a fan, leave it on for a few minutes. It has to be better than half the junk they have on the teen-oriented whiny baby-girl stations. And if you love it, hell, take a look at it with new eyes. Watch how the modern day Wolverine, WWE Champion CM Punk, a 100% comic book geek, defends his title against a 7 foot tall giant with titanic strength and a hankering for destruction. Wait, you know what, I take this all back…there’s no similarity with comics whatsoever…