10 Reasons Classic Wrestling Is Superior To Sports Entertainment

Wrestling was more entertaining before it was called entertainment...

Hulk Hogan Ultimate Warrior

Something started to happen with professional wrestling in the 1980s after Vincent Kennedy McMahon purchased the WWE (then called WWF) from his father. Once at the helm, the Jr. began to eschew some of the more "wrasslin'" aspects of the product. Vince began to focus on promoting wrestlers who were larger than life characters. The storylines became a little more fantastical, even by pro wrestling standards. Overall, the look and feel of the shows began to change.

McMahon began to use the term "Sports Entertainment" to describe the product, particularly to potential sponsors. While wrestling may be a niche market, everyone likes entertainment, right?

Since that time, mainstream professional wrestling has gradually shifted away from a sports-based competition in favor of a flashier, more "Hollywood" approach.

As the emphasis on entertainment has risen, the focus on competition has diminished. One need only take a sampling of the current product to see this in effect. It's common to watch a scripted,10-minute, interrupted promo before a match. That match will then undoubtedly be interrupted by two ad breaks before the next promo. There are some promising bright spots in the modern era, but wrestling has failed to recapture the magic of its halcyon days. In professional wrestling, the important thing is who wins and who loses.

In Sports Entertainment, the important thing is what happens next.

10. Backstage Vignettes

Hulk Hogan Ultimate Warrior

Sometimes less is more. This is a theme that will pop up throughout this list.

Since entering the era of sports entertainment, a toxic philosophy seems to have crept into pro wrestling booking. The philosophy is "If they know the match results aren't real, give them more of everything else".

The occasional backstage brawl or parking lot attack used to be a way to switch things up and allow wrestlers to build heat. A "lucky" camera operator may even catch a few minutes of backstage plotting between wrestlers. Backstage vignettes are like salt; use a little to add taste, but don't unscrew the cap and dump it on.

Nowadays, regardless of what's happening, there always seems to be a camera backstage that's ready and waiting when the action happens. How did that camera operator know Kevin Owens planned on attacking Finn Bálor in the locker room?

Because it was written that way.

WWE and AEW have both escalated this trend. Whether it's a brawl in the concession stand or just five minutes of unnecessary dialogue, there's always a camera rolling. Ticket-paying fans shouldn't have to watch half of the show on a jumbotron.

It was simple; build some heat backstage, but save the real action for the ring.

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George is a life-long fan of genre, wrestling and guitars. He is an actor, writer, CrossFit trainer and former WWE storyline writer. He currently works as talent development for PWX wrestling and resides in the birthplace of the zombie movie, Pittsburgh, PA.