Pro wrestling: Not fake

I was 9 years old when my friend Sammy gave me a call and told me to turn on my television to channel 13. There, I saw a hulk of a man giving an interview. He carried himself with such arrogance. With a fierce mixture of attitude and determination, he shouted how he was going to tear his opponent limb from limb. His name was Triple H, and it was then that I was forever embedded with the love of watching professional wrestling.

From Hulk Hogan telling fans to eat their vitamins and say their prayers to D-Genearation X raising anarchy, to John Cena telling people who they can and cannot see, professional wrestlers have accomplished one thing: entertainment.

For more than 30 years now, companies such as World Championship Wrestling, Extreme Championship Wrestling, Total Nonstop Action, and the kingpin, World Wrestling Entertainment, have entertained viewers and fans with high-flying moves, engaging story lines and power-punching excitement that can only be found within the squared circles.

But what comes along with years of entertainment is the routine skeptic, who is always eager to spoil the fun of a fan by crying foul.

As much as I would hate to crush anyone's dreams that these organizations produce real competition, they are indeed scripted. Everything that happens is indeed predetermined and part of a story line.

Santa Monica College student Luis Sanchez said that although some of the superstars of professional wrestling have taken performance enhancing drugs, they still have to be in proper shape for their sport.

"I do admit that they are physically fit, and pro-wrestling does require them to be in that state, but as far the matches and the competitiveness, it's fake," said Sanchez. Still, that does not mean that all of professional wrestling is fake.

Nonbelievers often make the mistake of thinking that wrestlers receive no real pain and are comforted by fluff and pillows anytime they take a leap off of high ground or get slammed to the mat by an opponent.

"It's sports entertainment, so it's planned out, but the intensity they bring isn't fake," said SMC student Raydele Collins, whose favorite wrestler is the high-flying daredevil, Jeff Hardy. "They really do get hurt though. When they bleed, they really bleed. It's not fake blood."

Collins also said that it takes a certain art form for wrestlers to make the product look as real as possible, maintaining the sports entertainment factor.

These wrestlers actually work very hard to maintain a physique critical to their success in the ring and how much carnage they can actually take.

According to the Broward and Palm Beach Sun Sentinel, former WWE wrestler Oleg Prudius, also known as Vladimir Kozlov, said, "For wrestling, we're supposed to be in good shape all the time, be very strong, have good cardio. So all my exercises are cardio and lifting weights, and I have to be flexible. I stretch a lot. I have a lifetime in athletics so this is normal." As far as the actual pain received from wrestling, Kozlov said, "Still you can get injured. You slam, get hit, and it's a hard schedule. You travel five, six days a week. You can drive over a thousand miles [between matches]." The process of becoming a professional wrestler is not something to take lightly either.

According to Wrestling News' website, an aspiring wrestler must go through the process of finding a wrestling school, training for years with the hope of possibly receiving an amateur contract or a developmental contract from an organization, and looking forward to many nights of sleeping on couches with a low budget.

The website also details that a person should not expect to earn a heavy income for making it to the main stage as some start off with as little as $25,000 per year. The chances of being promoted to the WWE are also considerably lower than those wishing to play in the National Football League, National Basketball Association, or Major League Baseball.

This would be a grueling and very draining process for any individual who does not show passion for wrestling entertainment. Superstars who continue with an organization for years on end prove that they are not just in it for the money, but really have a love for what they do.

Professional wrestling is not a complete joke. These superstars have families they need to provide for, and most have a true passion for what they do.

The story lines of professional wrestling may be scripted, but the challenges, pain and passion of these athletes are very much real.

SportsJonathan RamosComment