It could be argued that articles about American professional wrestling belong under the ‘Theater’ heading, not Sports. After all, these days analysts of the competition openly refer to how well or poorly scripted the matches and rivalries are, not the competition itself.
But any televised contest that gets kids (and some adults) jumping around and pretending to be spandex-clad heroes and villains in an improvised living-room ring, getting their heart rates up, certainly counts. After all, who doesn’t recall the Golden Age of Hulk Hogan with fondness? Some of us remember leaping off couches as Jimmy ‘Super Fly’ Snuka, or lumbering around with friends hanging off us as Andre the Giant. To many of us, the days of the World Wrestling Federation were physically active days.
If you want to see some of the current cast of characters in the pantheon, now WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment), head to WWE Live: Road to WrestleMania, at the Cross Insurance Arena (1 Civic Center Sq) at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 25. Visit http://www.crossarenaportland.com/events/WWE_Live:_Road_to_WrestleMania for tickets, which start at $15.
One of the wrestlers scheduled to appear is WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens, known for betraying his tag-team partner Chris Jericho. The resulting back-and-forth between the two men has been a source of refreshing excitement for fans. (One bleacherreport.com blogger describes the rivalry so far as “a simple story made enthralling by Owens and Jericho playing their roles remarkably well.”) The two men are scheduled for a United States Championship match at WrestleMania 33 in Orlando on April 2. Needless to say, Owens will have plenty to say about it at the Arena here in Portland.
Raw Women’s Champion, Bayley, is also slated for an appearance at the Cross Arena, bringing drama of her own. She’s been scripted as an up-and-coming underdog since last August, and has also played the part well. It was almost a foregone conclusion that she would gain the Divas title belt (recently redesigned from a pink bedazzled butterfly to the current, slightly less bedazzled, trademark double W). However, some analysts say that her victory happened too soon, that it should have been written into Wrestlemania instead. They say that the frequent title bouts in the women’s division only devalue female wrestlers’ status as athletes in their own right, and not just a novelty or a bow to cries of sexism. We don’t know who Bayley will face on the 25th, but she will be fighting hard and hamming it up.
And isn’t that what professional wrestling is all about?