What’s with the pro-wrestling hate?
Olympic wrestling vs. professional wrestling
By Colin Macgillivray, Staff Writer
“You know it’s fake, right?” It’s the infamous phrase that professional wrestling fans around the world have heard a countless number of times from their judgmental room mates, their confused girlfriends, and most of all, by their parents who just wish their darling boy would “grow up”.
As the biggest professional wrestling fan I know, I’ve heard that notorious sentence spewed my way hundreds of times. There is a certain stigma that surrounds professional wrestling fans, as they’re often viewed as the lowest common denominator of sports fans.
The thing that has always bugged me is that Olympic wrestling is revered as a true sport, rather than reviled like its counterpart. I understand that World Wrestling Entertainment serves up some cringe-worthy moments that would feel right at home in a soap opera, but that doesn’t take away from the absolute incredible athleticism that is involved in professional wrestling.
Then why is one touted as a fake sport? That’s the question, folks, and throughout this article, I’m going to attempt to decipher and deduce the truth behind pro wrestling, Olympic wrestling and maybe even sprinkle in some mixed martial arts comparisons, too. You, my sweet reader, will just have to find out the answer to the immortal question: Olympic wrestling or professional wrestling?
Caliber of Athletes
While I realize this is completely subjective, and maybe I’m a little biased as well, but I think I’m going to have to give this one to the professional wrestlers. I just don’t see many Olympic wrestlers hitting their opponents with Attitude Adjustments. Just kidding.
Comparing pro wrestlers to Olympic wrestling in terms of athletic ability is like comparing Lebron James and Josh Donaldson. Both are incredible athletes, but they are both good at different things. It’s the same with wrestlers.
Due to the scripted nature of pro wrestling, athletes are able to show off their athleticism through grand showcases of power, (see John Cena lifting a 500-pound man AND a 250-pound man on his shoulders at the same time) as well as gravity defying aerial acrobatics (see Rey Mysterio Jr. doing flippy Lucha Libre things).
Olympic wrestlers do not have the luxury of being able to work with their opponents to pull off incredible maneuvers, but that doesn’t discount how athletic they are. Seeing a suplex from an Olympic wrestler is an extraordinary thing to see. One thing I do know for sure is that Olympic wrestlers make incredible professional wrestlers.
Olympic gold medalist Kurt Angle is one of the best professional wrestlers of all time. Jeff Cobb, a wrestler who competed at the 2004 Olympics in Athens is thrilling as a masked professional wrestler,. While Chad Gable, a wrestler who had competed at the 2012 London Olympics, has had a career rejuvenation through professional wrestling.
On the other hand, Brock Lesnar has found success not only as a professional wrestler, but as an amateur wrestler and a mixed martial artist as well. It really shows just how athletic all these men and women are, and they should be regarded as some of the best athletes in the world.
I think my bias is running wild all over this article like Hulkamania, brother, because I really don’t think there is a feasible argument that one can make regarding which variety of wrestling I think is more entertaining.
Greco-Roman wrestling, a style of Olympic wrestling that forbids holds below the waist, is honestly one of the most boring things in the world. There are moments where one competitor will achieve an incredible slam of grand amplitude but other than that, it is mostly just people slapping hands in hope of grabbing the waist of their opponents.
Even the UFC struggles with constantly having entertaining fights at the helm of their pay per views. The beauty of pro wrestling derives from the athletes being able to do whatever they want creatively, all the while not having to worry about their opponent trying to hurt them.
Risks and Injuries
To clear something up, professional wrestling is not fake. It’s scripted. The winners are predetermined and the performers often aren’t truly punching each other, but in any circumstance, being slammed onto a “mat” that is made of wood is painful.
The most ironic thing I think regarding the whole “pro wrestling is fake” topic is that a lot of professional wrestlers end up with some of the most gruesome and horrific injuries in sports. Although they are not subject to painful cauliflower ears and the constant battering Olympic Wrestlers endure, there is definitely a reason why WWE insists that we “don’t try this at home.”
The best pro wrestlers in the world are wrestling almost 300 days of the year, and that kind of punishment adds up. Many pro wrestlers in the past have admitted to being completely dependent on pain medication just to get around, while others are being diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which is a progressive disease directly related to concussions.
Olympic wrestlers often aren’t being slammed down onto a mat 300 days of the year, but their training is rigorous nonetheless. Still, I do believe pro wrestlers should get more credit for the risks they take and the out of this world athletes that they are.
I might seem incredibly biased towards pro wrestling, which definitely has some truth to it, but I just believe that professional wrestling gets shafted by the public. Sports and athletes around the world should all be commended on their ability to compete at the highest possible level, to entertain and have the resilience and the drive to get better.
It’s what sporting events are all about. Olympic wrestling and professional wrestling are both great, but maybe next time you’re flipping through the channels and you come across some sort of wrestling, stop and appreciate just how incredible these athletes truly are.