Thursday, October 14, 2010

My Essay on Indy Wrestling

Sorry for the lack of updates.  I tend to be really busy during the school year.  Below is an essay I wrote on indy wrestling for my English class.
    Professional wrestling is a strange animal in the world of performing arts.  Though the masses now recognize that the outcomes of bouts are pre-determined, few seem to understand the reality of the sacrifices these men and women make for their craft.  There is no off-season, and much of the time spent outside of the ring is dedicated to training and traveling to the next show. The different styles entail varying amounts of intensity, but injury is difficult to avoid in all of them.  Due to the industry's loss of mystique, it has become more popular for performers to "work stiff", or hit with greater force to make a match more believable, shortening career-length expectations.  Amongst the most humble of these pro wrestlers are those who work at the independent circuit, which is a collection of smaller pro wrestling promotions that receive limited to no TV time and offer less pay than the larger, mainstream companies. Independent wrestling shows can take place in a variety of venues; from high school gyms to bingo halls.  The wrestlers develop their skills and personas there in hopes of becoming stars on a bigger stage, but until then they provide fans with unique experiences that can't be seen elsewhere thanks to the creative freedom that is afforded to them.
    Indy wrestling audiences also bring something special to the table in return.  As a result of the Internet and DVD trading many of them have been exposed to all kinds of pro wrestling content from around the world, making them difficult to please at times.  They'll often respond to mistakes with a roar of "You fucked up!" chants.  A wrestler named Brad Allen attracted relentless booing throughout a recent match, especially after tripping when attempting to do an acrobatic maneuver early on.  The fan reaction was a bit harsh, but honest and Brad responded in kind by taunting the audience.  In a mainstream promotion, Brad would've been reprimanded for not acting strictly as instructed, deterring this spontaneous interaction.  This is especially unfortunate because it's become widely understood that pro wrestling's most successful stars channel their real-life personalities to develop their characters.  The sight of a large group of people with varying physiques critiquing an individual of athletic build can be unusual to the uninitiated, but the most dedicated persevere and earn so much admiration from the independent wrestling audiences that it becomes inevitable that they find themselves pursued by a bigger company.
    Bryan Danielson is one man who has gained the respect of even the most rowdy of crowds.  Always pushing himself, Danielson's matches are filled with displays of athleticism, elements of mixed martial arts (such as submission holds and relentless elbow strikes), and passion.  It is almost impossible to not be thrilled as you watch him launch himself back up to a standing position, fist raised to his shoulder, after landing a devastating dropkick from the top of a corner turnbuckle.  In an independent promotion, fans begin with a "You're gonna get your fucking head kicked in!" chant (in reference to Bryan's kicks).  After a controversial firing during his first experience working there, Danielson has returned to WWE, the largest pro wrestling promotion in the world but is also fulfilling his remaining commitments for independent shows.  He is so gracious that he would immediately exit a ring after a grueling match, soaked in sweat, to sign autographs.  On many occasions, Bryan has thanked the fans of independent wrestling for "making his career."

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