It is a question we wrestling fans hear often. Why do we love wrestling? Often asked by someone who looks down on our favorite pastime. This question is usually followed by them questioning our intelligence declaring that wrestling is fake in the shrill tone these types of people usually have. It's best to ignore these types but once they waddle away feeling good about themselves we are left with an interesting question. Why do we love wrestling?
There are many ways to approach this question all of which have very valid reasons supporting them. For some it is the spectacle of it all. In just about every promotion and especially the major ones WWE, AEW, NJPW and so on they pull out all the stops for major shows. Elaborate entrances, massive pyro, and immaculate stages. The pageantry and scale of events like Wrestlemania and Wrestle Kingdom keep people coming back for more year after year. For others it’s the feats of daring and displays of athleticism that put their butts in seats. There's nothing better than seeing someone hit an elbow drop from the top of a ladder through a table. Perhaps you’re a fan of the Lucha Libre style and can't wait to see just how many rotations someone can put on a splash from the top rope. My personal favorite is seeing how far Keith Lee can hurl someone. For some it is all about the violence. Whether they are looking back fondly on the heyday of hardcore wrestling re-watching old ECW or japanese death matches. Or watching their spiritual successors in promotions like GCW or CZW. What draws them in is blood and seeing just how much punishment the human body can take.
Ultimately what grounds all the other reasons and what is at the very core of wrestling is storytelling. When done right the art of wrestling can be the medium by which the greatest sport stories ever told can be showcased. Your classic David vs Goliath is a staple of wrestling. As well as an old veteran trying to keep up with all the young and hungry stars around them. Or flip the script and have a young upstart scratch and claw his way to the top against the established stars. There have been entire promotions built around showing the lengths someone will go and the pain they are willing to endure in order to climb the mountain and carve their name in stone amongst the greats. Just watch any match involving the four pillars of heaven in All Japan Pro Wrestling to see what I mean. Take every example I listed earlier from the entrances to the moves to the brutality of it all. Every single aspect is elevated when there is a good story driving it all. Watching a big flashy entrance is fun but when it's the entrance for a young man's first world title challenge it puts it on another level. There is another world of excitement when someone is breaking out every move in their arsenal to put away their bitter rival who has put them through hell. What makes all the blood sweat and tears special isn’t simply that there is blood sweat and tears but that those are all being shed with a purpose. To make you feel something, excited, sad, angry, ecstatic sometimes all at the same time. And while some storylines don’t always pay off in the way we want them too. There is no better feeling on earth then when they do and that is why we love wrestling.