For the wrestling fan, this is an exciting time of the year. And so, to explain wrestling a bit to the non-fan, I’m writing this blog. This Sunday (April 6), WrestleMania XXX will be held in New Orleans.
Okay, full disclosure: I can’t think of or discuss New Orleans without singing part of the classic Simpsons episode “A Streetcar Named Marge“. So lets get this out of the way:
To pluck up your spirits, and shield you from dangers.
Now here’s a tip from Blanche you won’t regret.
A stranger’s just a friend you haven’t met.”
Well that was fun. On with the blog!
Wrestling and Me
For those of you who don’t know me, I am nscox and I am a wrestling fan and curator of the WWE subcategory. My favourite wrestler is Chris Jericho, my favourite match is Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin from WrestleMania 13 and my favourite Wrestlemania is X-Seven (2001).
Wrestling is in an odd place right now. It’s been a long time since the last boom period (roughly 1998-2001, known to fans as “The Attitude Era”) and ever since wrestling has had its ups and downs but has been nowhere near as popular as it was in the late ’90s (Steve Austin, The Rock, Mankind, etc.) or late ’80s (Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Randy Savage, etc.).
The Truth About Wrestling
The average sports fan views wrestling fanatics as the lowest of the low. In short, wrestling simply doesn’t get the respect it is due. This can be seen almost any time a WWE quiz is published as someone will say “this doesn’t belong in the sports category”.
Yes, WWE matches are fake. Or to be more accurate, they are fixed. The reason is simple: It enhances the entertainment value. If you watch a boxing or MMA match, you never know when it will end. It could be a first round knockout or it could be a long snooze fest. In wrestling, matches are scripted to be entertaining and to draw fans in. Yes, the wrestlers are selling their injuries (selling is an insider term that means “to act as if hit by a real move.” For more fun wrestling terms, check out this quiz) but that doesn’t mean there aren’t real risks. It takes a lot of athleticism and talent to be a great wrestler. For example, wrestlers must master the ability to take a fall – that is, to be able to minimize the impact of being thrown to the mat. It takes a long time to do this. And despite these precautions and the “fake” nature of the sport, a great many wrestlers have been seriously injured.
As for the entertainment side of wrestling – it’s true that there have been some really bad storylines. And the “soap opera” aspect is a turn-off to some. But storylines are everywhere in sports. When you watch the NFL, the best games usually have some kind of storyline behind them. Whether it’s a team/player chasing a record, an upset, a rivalry or the potential for revenge. It can turn a good game into a great game because fans put all their emotion behind their team. It’s the same in wrestling.
Make no mistake about it, every professional sport is as much about entertaining the fans and making money as it is about athletic competition (which is why rules are often changed to speed things up or keep things interesting). And when sports fans accept this fact, wrestling will not seem so strange.
The Bout to Knock the Other Guy Out
So now that that is out of the way, let’s look at WrestleMania. First, some context for the non-wrestling fan. The WWE has several weekly TV shows, with Raw being the flagship show. These programs help build up matches, which are then settled at events which can be watched on pay-per-view (ppv). There are 12 ppvs per year and the biggest is WrestleMania. To underscore the prestige of the event, many Manias have been in stadiums and some of the most legendary matches have been at WrestleMania. Celebrities are often brought in, big names of the past are brought back and wrestlers often do everything possible to make their match special.
An Exhaustive History of WrestleMania
Okay, that’s a lie. I’m not going to do a full rundown of the shows. It would take forever and is it really necessary? Instead, here’s a quiz that has Every WrestleMania Match Ever. If you want some more WrestleMania quizzes, here’s a listing of every one with an appropriate tag.
WrestleMania XXX: Not a Porn Parody (I Hope)
This year’s show should be a good one. The top 4 matches should all be good, but the bottom 4 really aren’t much to be excited about. A problem they always have is that they try to cram too many people into the show (this is pretty nice of them, since it entitles the wrestlers to ppv bonuses) which means we get multi-man matches where the main goal is to make sure every wrestler has a chance to get in the ring and perform a move.
The WWE Tag Team Championship should be okay, if it doesn’t get bumped to the pre-show. The New Age Outlaws return to join up with Kane to face The Shield. The Divas Championship match will probably be forgettable. The Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal could be entertaining if given enough time.
In the top four matches, The Undertaker faces Brock Lesnar. Undertaker is, of course, undefeated at WrestleMania. Will Lesnar end the streak? Probably not. John Cena faces Bray Wyatt. This will be Cena’s first non-main event or title match since WrestleMania 20. Wyatt should win, but who knows? There will be a lot of upset 10-year-olds if Cena loses. Daniel Bryan faces Triple H with a spot in the Main Event on the line. Triple H gets a lot of flack. There’s no denying his talent, but many fans feel he used his position in the company to keep himself on top for too long. He could buy a lot of good will by putting Bryan over strong.
Finally, the Main Event Randy Orton vs. Batista vs. Winner of Bryan/Triple H for WWE Championship. There can be only one ending that benefits the WWE: Daniel Bryan winning and leading a huge “Yes” chant. So there’s a good chance we won’t get that. But the optimist in me is hoping for the right thing.
Sporcle World Order
Now we get to the Main Event, some quizzes!
Three Unique/Interesting Quizzes
Three Royal Rumble Quizzes
Three WCW Quizzes
Three WWE Championship Quizzes
Three WWE Title Quizzes
So in closing, thanks for reading.
I hope non-wrestling fans learned something. And for wrestling fans – enjoy the show! And if you didn’t like this, I’ve got two words for ya: I’m sorry.
I’ll end this with a few inspiring words…
“Dean Malenko, you claim to be the man of 1,000 holds, but I counted, and you know about 60. Well, I know 1,004, and I wrote ‘em all down, here we go. Hold 1: Arm Drag, Hold 2: Armbar, Hold 3: The Moss Covered three-Handled Family Credenza…”
And that sums it all up.
Check out the Sporcle WWE Facebook page for more great quizzes, and you can always email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) for feedback or suggestions for curator picks!