Nov 25 2013


I went to a wrestling match. This was not real wrestling nor was it big-time fake wrestling. This was local fake wrestling. These were performers with day jobs. The ring was set up in a small courtyard next to a bar. The cover was twelve bucks. I took a seat next to the ring.

The guy beside me was in a motorized wheelchair. His head was crooked to one side. His hands sort of turned in on themselves. As far as I could tell he was there by himself. Perhaps he had been dropped off and would be picked up when the event ended.

People yell at wrestlers. Yelling is part of the point. At a baseball game you can cheer or not. At a fake wrestling match if you are not yelling you are ridiculous. It’s like sitting stony faced at a comedy club. Go be boring at home.

Most of the yelling is good-natured. It is more like banter than aggression. Wrestling offers an opportunity to pretend to be angry. It is not necessary to believe that the wrestling is real to feel real emotion any more than it is necessary to believe that a movie is real in order to cry at the end. To call wrestling fake is like pointing out that Tom Hanks isn’t actually Forrest Gump. It is merely descriptive.

Some people do believe it is real. For these people the line between fiction and non is permeable. For them the world is a magical place.

At the match I attended a large, red-faced man became upset at the referee. The man screamed “That’s an illegal hold, ref!”

The red-faced man was right. It was an illegal hold. And the ref had totally missed it. Of course the ref had missed any number of illegal holds. That is because he is a fake wrestling referee. He is supposed to be an idiot. That is his job. Were he to enforce the rules there would be no sport.

The red-faced man would not let it go. He got out of his seat and walked to the edge of the ring and slapped his palm on the mat multiple times. He repeated that it was an illegal hold. He said it was bullshit. It was obvious to everyone that the red-faced man was not kidding. Eventually his friend persuaded him to return to his seat.

The guy in the motorized wheelchair also seemed to believe that fake wrestling is real. He was caught up in the action. He watched everything very closely. And he taunted the wrestlers he did not like. Among those he taunted was a mustachioed wrestler with leg-sized arms.

“You’re a pussy,” the guy in the motorized wheelchair yelled at the mustachioed wrestler. “You’re a big fat pussy.”

The mustachioed wrestler called the guy in the motorized wheelchair a derogatory Spanish term for homosexual. The guy in the motorized wheelchair responded by describing what he would do to the mustachioed wrestler if given the opportunity. It was graphic. It was odd.

The mustachioed wrestler said he would like to see the guy in the motorized wheelchair try it. “Any time,” said the guy in the motorized wheelchair. “I will kill you.”

Eventually the mustachioed wrestler stopped paying attention to the guy in the motorized wheelchair. Pretended to, anyway. Of course he could still hear him. Everyone could.

(the end)