Simulated Authenticity in Professional Wrestling Dialogue

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Simulated authenticity in professional wrestling dialogue by Lori King Introduction Professional wrestling is a pugilistic assemblance of a theatre-in-the-round-staged set of grappling contests fuelled by melodramatic/folk drama-like storylines. Having come to the attention of television networks in America in the 1950s, wrestling is now a multi-million pound industry, spanning every continent. The discipline evolved from a fighting form that we would now term mixed martial arts, when travelling carnival organisers saw the potential financial incentives in creatively luring members of the public to test their skills against their contracted wrestlers. The dialogue of enticement was therefore a key factor in the conception of rigged wrestling bouts. It moved even further away from sporting legitimacy when a later generation of promoters felt compelled to introduce popular non-wrestlers into the contests and choreograph their ring victories. This is the point where professional wrestling abandoned the strict sporting model and turned into what would later be cleverly, ambiguously termed ‘sports entertainment’. Feeding further into audience allegiances, the wrestlers began to act out characters in order to present a consistent good guy versus bad guy dynamic. Eventually the character roles or ‘gimmicks’ became an even more important aspect of the success of professional wrestling than the grappling itself. Soon enough the structures of television production prompted wrestling personalities to deliver snappy monologues to camera to promote upcoming shows or threatening inter-wrestler dialogue to build anticipation for a bout. Today, wrestlers are actors, often even crossing over into the theatre and the stage, as their adopted personalities or under their real names. During wrestling events, wrestlers are required to portray a variety of stereotypical and

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