From the literal entrapment of mesh cells, shark cages, and chamber pods, to the release from the oppressive clutches of authoritative heel's killer submission hold or the quashing of introspective doubt from a babyface chasing a dream, escape so often plays an underlying role in professional wrestling, mirroring why many watch something as inherently silly in the first place.
Like cigarettes and alcohol, wrestling is often imbibed young, forming a bond that never breaks. Paul Heyman and numerous others since have posited that for fans of the art-form, no explanation is necessary, whilst for critics none will do. As the concept of niche hobbies dissolves in the modern age though, it may now just be a case of it being the simplest method of escape.
Wrestling fills spare hours between life's grind, but now does so by literally filling hours. There's so much of it that talking about a particular match mirrors telling friends you'll add a boxset to your 'list' when you've finished the current one you're ploughing through. It wasn't always this way. Without a bloated television output or 24-hour streaming service, wrestling had to do more with less.
And it was easier to escape. Wrestling would dazzle, delight, and surprise. The surprise was the key to the escape hatch, opening up a world you then didn't need to leave. Nowadays, the hatch is splayed wide open. Surprises are rarer, because they're substantially harder to pull off. Fortunately, the best ones still replicate that glorious escapism.
We Need To Talk About Kevin (Nash).
Michael can be found in articles or on podcasts extolling the virtues of New Generation WWF, New Japan Pro Wrestling or the new WWE angle they definitely definitely won’t ruin this time.