Athletes with a Script: Is the WWE Still a “Sport”?

The world of the “World Wresting Entertainment” has often been an interesting point of discourse. Today, AirPlay will be diving into whether or not the WWE is an actual sport. Since the early 90s the whole world of wrestling has captivated the hearts of generations of people.

There was always the discussion on whether or not the wrestlers and the whole concept of entertainment wrestling were to be considered a sport. They were always at a gray area of existence. Or you could always say that they were an existence all on their own.

What Makes a Sport?

If we were to base it off the traditional description of a sport: it is anything that requires physical exertion, an event where this physical exertion is celebrated, and has a sort of following.

So in every sense of the description of a sport, the whole wrestling entertainment scene fits.

What’s the issue regarding WWE?

Over the decades, there have been quite a bit of issues regarding WWE. Here are a few of them:

Scripted

Most people are quick to dismiss the idea of WWE as a sport owing to the fact that the fights and the results are scripted. A creative team of writers gets together and mull over the potential of their talent and how they are received by the public.

So even before the wrestlers get into the ring, they know who is coming out the victor—at least, that is how it is supposed to go. The trouble is the performances are grueling and injuries have happened despite all the best efforts to stay safe.  The crux of the argument of naysayers is that those that perform under the WWE brand are merely actors.

Misogyny

There was a lot of issue regarding the treatment of the sexes. The men were all venerated as absolute pieces of physical mastery and perfection. The women of the WWE roster were nothing more than eye candy.

The women were not allowed to have some of the matches that you would expect from men. Like No Disqualifications, Tables/Ladders/Chairs, Money in the Bank, Cage Matches, and so many others. Instead, they had “mud fights” and utterly ridiculous sexist story lines.

The crux of this argument was that female athletes put their bodies on the line in the same sport and governed under the same rules. Female WWE stars were paraded in scantily clad outfits and were barely expected to know how to wrestle.

Is It Actually a Sport?

There has been a massive revolution in the WWE since Stephanie McMahon and her husband, semi-retired wrestler, Triple H took over. Women are now held in the same regard as their male counterparts. In was last year when women were allowed to hold their Money in the Bank Match.

We believe that WWE or sports entertainment is a sport. Here are our reasons why:

It requires years of dedication

Much like any other sport in the world, there needs to be significant dedication toward the sport and an athlete’s preparation toward it. Many in the present roster of the WWE have wanted to be a wrestler since they were young children.

Not just anyone can become a WWE superstar nowadays. They expect their athletes to be in good physical, mental, and psychological shape. There are performance centers in Orlando, Florida that is dedicated to training new talent for years before they are even allowed a foot into the entry brand: NXT.

Injury is very real

In the world of WWE, injury and death are very real bedfellows whenever they step beyond the curtain. There have been recorded grave injuries and fatalities in the pursuit of providing entertainment for their fans.

For example, Nick Foley lost an ear during a match. If you are following a storyline and are suddenly surprised if it drops, there is a great chance that a superstar is injured. In “real world sports” like soccer, football, and many others, injuries add prestige or validate an athlete as an actual athlete and not an ‘actor’.

However, as WWE superstars (both men and women) do put their bodies on the line and do suffer injuries. How is this different from ‘real world sports players’?

It takes up 90% of the athlete’s life

If you take time to read the biographies of established and retired wrestlers, they will tell you that the life of a WWE wrestler is wholly demanding. They will constantly be on the road; there will be very little personal time for anything else. Those that try to have families end up staying away from their loved ones for years at a time.

There is many a broken family due to the demands that a WWE schedule has. The same is experienced by those that play sports professionally. Although, a great difference is that sports have off seasons. WWE does not. If you are a crowd favorite, you can expect to be on call for every event for years to come. A good example of this is the face of WWE: John Cena.

John Cena has been the most polarizing character that WWE has had so far. Whether you love him or you hate him, there is no denying the man’s pull and the massive ratings that normally follow him. While he gets to enjoy a lavish lifestyle now, looking back on his career, he has had to work harder than anyone in the past 15 years.

In Closing

The people that do undergo the business of sports entertainment dedicate years of their lives into training for the opportunity to test their mettle in the various branches of the WWE Company. Whether it is on NXT, SmackDown, or even the flagship brand of Raw, these sports entertainers put their lives on the line.

While the storylines are indeed scripted and these people’s careers are mapped out for them, this does not make what they do any less of a sport. Do you have a favorite WWE superstar? Which one resonated with you through the years?

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