This is my opinion, not yours but one I have made after 19 years of experiences in wrestling and performance art. Starting out in Calgary, I was trained classically! (if you will) like any classically trained artist or musician. My wrestling training was very technical. The fundamentals of this sport were both physically and mentally beat into me. But one thing you couldn’t beat out was my weird brain!!!
As a child I was an artsy kid, always causing stunts around the school. Getting into wrestling, I had to force my self to become athletic, so my first couple years of matches, my main focus was trying to look like some sort of athlete. While not tripping over my converse. As I got more comfortable in the ring and got a couple moves under my belt, I found myself getting more experimental and weirder with the stuff I wanted to do in my matches. Some of those were moves while others moments.
Over the past couple days, I have seen a lot of people talking about wrestling as performance art. People passionately taking sides, sport vs art “the entertainers can’t wrestle’’ “the wrestlers can’t entertain! ’’ Wrestling can be anything, and that’s why it’s so damn special! Growing up I idolized wrestlers like Roddy Piper and Mick Foley, but I also loved and studied comedians like Tom Green and Andy Kauffman. For me, wrestling was always about the moments, while some of those moments are told through moves. Be that Austin in the sharpshooter, covered in blood, or Lensar breaking The Undertaker’s streak. A lot of my favorite moments that have taken place did not involve wresting directly, like Piper’s Pit, or the introduction of Mr. Socko.
I love seeing people pushing their passion, no matter what form that takes it to the next level. Some of my favorite wrestlers have completely different styles and to me and that is what I love. The idea where nobody is wrong as long as it’s safe and respectful, that openness to create is where I really thrive! Over the years I have been fortunate enough to get to push the boundaries of my own art, from buying pizza for an entire audience to improve pillow fights, and 99 red ballon deathmatches. I could go on and on… While I can vividly remember each of these weird moments, I can’t remember every beautifully delivered, dungeon educated suplex I have thrown.
I personally am glad people bring different ideas and perspectives to wrestling and are constantly challenging it. Not to take away from those that preceded us, but to grow from their teachings.
I don’t think when the dungeon was birthed, this puckered punk hunk was the type of athlete, they expected to have graduated many years later. But things evolve, and if you don’t like that cool! There are tons of amazing throwback style wrestlers for you to enjoy!
Call wrestling a sport, art, a performance, entertainment, an athletic spectacle, or spandex people tussling (my personal fav! ) It doesn’t matter why you love it, or why anyone else loves it. How about, we just appreciate that WE love something!
I am a pro wrestler, and an artist who made himself an athlete, but I consider what I do a performance.
Wrestling to me is the paint, the pens or the music notes that we as artists choose where to place, to tell the story we aim to tell. Whether you are technical or avant-garde. If you are a safe, dedicated person, wanting to push your self and wrestling to future heights. If you are willing to work with your opponent, to create some of your brand of magic, well then welcome to the circus, darling!!!!