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Professional WrestlingSport and Spectacle, Second Edition$
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Sharon Mazer

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781496826862

Published to University Press of Mississippi: September 2020

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496826862.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM Mississippi SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mississippi.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Mississippi, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSSO for personal use.date: 28 November 2020

“Real” Wrestling

“Real” Wrestling

Chapter:
(p.3) 1 “Real” Wrestling
Source:
Professional Wrestling
Author(s):

Sharon Mazer

Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781496826862.003.0001

Professional wrestling is an unsporting sport, a theatrical entertainment that is not theatre. Its display of violence is less contest than ritualized encounter between opponents, replayed repeatedly over time for an exceptionally engaged audience. To watch wrestling and write about its performance is to attempt to come to terms with the significance of a highly popular performance practice as it intersects, exploits, and parodies the conventions of both sport and theatre. Rather than simply reflecting and reinforcing moral clichés, professional wrestling puts contradictory ideas into play, as with its audience it replays, reconfigures, and celebrates a range of performative possibilities. Beyond its spectacular elements, professional wrestling is an athletic performance practice, constructed around the display of the male body and a tradition of cooperative rather than competitive exchanges of apparent power between men as directed by the promoter. The fight is fixed, in the squared circle as in life.

Keywords:   World Wrestling Federation, Gleason’s Gym, Performance of Masculinity, Fake versus real, Fixed fight

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