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  • Ok.

  • Daniel Bryan getting up, top rope.

  • He's about to bodyslam Kane.

  • Top rope, looking to put Kane away!

  • But wait, Kane gets his hand on Bryan's throat!!!

  • Wait, hold on Mac.

  • This is obviously fake.

  • I mean look at this guy's face.

  • Um, that's not really the point man.

  • Daniel Bryan might be exaggerating here, but there's no way those moves don't require serious

  • skill.

  • And anyways, that's not really even the point.

  • The world's largest professional wrestling organization, World Wrestling Entertainment,

  • or the WWE, they have the second most viewed Channel on YouTube.

  • And a lot of those fans, they're not watching for the pile drivers and the bodyslams.

  • If you look at the top WWE video on YouTube, it has 90 million views, and the wrestling,

  • it doesn't even start until more than halfway through.

  • Pro wrestling isn't fun to watch for the fighting, it's fun to because of the storytelling that

  • happens outside of the ring.

  • Let's take it back for a second.

  • This is what wrestling used to be.

  • A legit sport where two guys fought in a ring to pin each other down.

  • The problem was, this wasn't that exciting to watch.

  • So over time wrestling turned into a sort of staged athletic performance where competitors

  • would help each other pull off more impressive moves.

  • And it wasn't just for men.

  • Still, regardless of who was wrestling, crowds came to see people fight.

  • Or do whatever this is.

  • Where's the drama?

  • That started in the 1950's with a wrestler whose name was Gorgeous George.

  • He was a wrestler known for his larger than life performances that were built around his

  • carefully crafted character.

  • His thing was being fancy with bleach blond hair, fancy costumes, he even had a butler

  • who would come into the ring and spray perfume before he came in.

  • Sounds pretty offensive.

  • It was a hit.

  • And Gorgeous George he drew huge crows, turning wrestling from a sport into a performance

  • of spectacle.

  • Wait, so, can I come up with a character?

  • Uh, sure.

  • What you need to understand about wrestling characters is that they fit into pre-set archetypes.

  • There are heroes, who are called faces.

  • Short for babyface.

  • And there are villains, who are called heels.

  • I wanna be a bad boy.

  • That means you want to be a heel.

  • And that means you cheat, use dirty tactics, you're evil, you're full of yourself.

  • Perfect, I just wanna sew the seeds of chaos.

  • Right, yeah yeah.

  • So

  • Just, total mayhem.

  • A heel.

  • I just wanna like f*** up everything in my sight.

  • You done?

  • Yeah.

  • So you've gotta have a gimmick.

  • Like Gorgeous George and his fancy taste, wrestlers usually have a gimmick that helps

  • establish their backstory.

  • You got anything?

  • What do I have to choose from?

  • There's a ton.

  • As pro wrestling evolved, gimmicks got more and more creative as storytelling became a

  • major aspect of pro wrestling.

  • The focus had shifted so much that by the 1990's the World Wrestling Federation, they

  • invented a new phrase to promote what they were doing.

  • Even though we call ourselves sports entertainment, because of the athleticism involved, the key

  • word in that phrase is "entertainment".

  • More entertainment meant more characters, and there's so many to choose from.

  • Some are masked and mysterious.

  • Brute jocks.

  • Supernatural characters.

  • Self-absorbed jerks.

  • Anti-authority rebels.

  • Evil billionaire tyrants.

  • Evil tyrant for sure.

  • But also like– a skateboarder?

  • If you want to figure out a wrestler's gimmick, all you have to do is look at their entrance.

  • Some have special effects.

  • There are costumes, set pieces, and even vehicles.

  • These entrances, they can become iconic.

  • Like The Undertaker's, a wrestler known as The Deadman because of his dark connection

  • to the afterlife.

  • He enters to the sound of a bell ringing before they play his theme which is based on Chopin's

  • "Funeral March".

  • Like characters in a play, the entrance is a big opportunity for storytelling.

  • The wrestler can say who they are,

  • "Wrestlemania will no longer define who I am".

  • what they want,

  • "Now I'm here for two reasons."

  • and how they'll get it.

  • Then the fighting starts.

  • Wrestling is like one big play, and the ring is like the stage?

  • Except the performance, it never stops.

  • You mean they stay in character all the time?

  • They even have a word for it, it's called "kayfabe," which is code for maintaining the

  • illusion that the character is real.

  • So it isn't just about making the wrestling look authentic, it's about sticking to the

  • storyline at all times.

  • Most wrestlers, they try to never break kayfabe.

  • You can't always tell what's real and what's not.

  • HHH and Stephanie McMahon who shared a storyline, they had a fake wedding in 2000 that ended

  • with a divorce when they met in the ring to renew their vows.

  • Our marriage, it's over!

  • Off camera though the relationship continued and in real life the performers actually got

  • married in 2003.

  • And since then, their real life marriage has been reflected in the storytelling.

  • You ready to unveil that character yet?

  • I think so.

  • Hailing from Minneapolis, Minnesota.

  • Here to defend the Vox title, the evil billionaire slash tyrant slash skateboarder.

  • Thrill Peterson!

  • What is that?

  • Is that a check for a million dollars?

  • Oh my god!

  • He just ripped it up.

  • "Peterson Check Rip!"

  • What are y'all doing?

  • Dude, kayfabe!

Ok.

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Pro wrestling is an art form

  • 16 3
    Chris Cheng   posted on 2018/12/26
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