Professional wrestling – sport or entertainment? – The Carillon

One of James Loewen’s earliest “As I See It” columns on the sports pages of The Carillon leaves little doubt as to the author’s views on professional wrestling.

In the July 24, 1985 issue, he tells readers that the sporting world has much to learn from professional wrestling.

Loewen goes on to say that pro wrestling is enjoying a tremendous boom in popularity and fan attendance while almost all other traditional sports like football, hockey and baseball are in deep trouble. But then he goes on to say what he really thinks about wrestling as a sport.

James Loewen, who celebrated his 60th birthday earlier this month, took to his best Baron von Raschke pose, aka “The Claw,” and launched “As I See It” in The Carillon in July 1985 with a column about professionalism wrestling

“Do not get me wrong. I think pro wrestling is a joke. It’s obviously fake, staged, fixed and set up. But that is not the point.”

The point is that pro wrestling “takes off,” and there’s no denying that. All you have to do is watch TV on a Saturday afternoon or drive by the Winnipeg Arena on the night of a major wrestling event. Wrestling has come of age.

Likewise, there’s no denying that many other sports face all sorts of difficulties, starting with game schedules that are way too long, player salaries way too high, and too many games that are way too boring for the price a fan has to pay them to see.

So why does wrestling enjoy so much success and others not? Loewen says he’s not entirely sure but has a few ideas. First, wrestling has replicated that quality or aspect of the sport that many others lack – fun. People get a big kick out of cheering for the good guys and yelling at the bad guys.

Most fans would probably agree that wrestling is wrong, but they don’t care. For them it’s good entertainment, a bit like going to the cinema.

Fans can watch the games and forget their work, politics or the threat of nuclear war and have a great time.

Also, there are no astronomical salaries in wrestling. Money-related problems are virtually non-existent in wrestling. Basically, wrestling is popular because of the simulated pride that plays a role in each of the fights, says Loewen. The good guys want to beat the bad guys because they’re doing it for the fans and that’s the key. The wrestler seems to be in the ring for the fans and not just for the money.

In almost all other sports, the exact opposite is the case. Money comes first, then giving fans something to cheer about comes second, according to Loewen.

“No, I’m not suggesting that owners start ‘fixing’ baseball, football or hockey; All I’m saying is that no matter how much they laugh at wrestling, they can afford to learn a few lessons from it.”

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