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The More Pro Wrestling Changes the More It Stays the Same

“The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

“The only thing certain in life is change.”

“The times they are a changing.”

These are just some of the cliché’s we hear that have to do with change. Change can be good or bad depending on how we view it. Ultimately though, I feel change is a very good thing. It can be inconvenient and uncomfortable, but what usually happens, and especially in hindsight, is that the change brought on a tremendous opportunity for growth and advancement in some shape or form.

Referring back to the first cliché’, “the more things change the more they stay the same”, I think this paradox of a quote is very accurate.
This is a fact that helped me when I first started seriously studying Scripture. Obviously many of the material things have changed in our world since the Bible was first put together, but the things that matter most haven’t. Love, hope, faith, passion, desire and drive to name a few. Human emotion is the same. People whose stories appear in the Bible still had bad days, annoying co-workers, financial worry, hopes, dreams and goals. Hurting over a relationship felt the same in AD 42 as it does in 2016.

The more things change in one avenue, the more they stay the same in another.

Take my former profession, professional wrestling. Here is a little “insider” information, if you will, from someone’s who’s been there:

Pro wrestling will always be pro wrestling.

Pretty mind blowing, right? Vince McMahon dubbed it “Sports Entertainment” about twenty years ago, but call it whatever you like, it’s still pro wrestling. What I mean by that is this; pro wrestling is very simple at its core. Its “good guy” vs “bad guy.”

That’s all … and when that is told the right way through proper psychology in a match, magic happens. The people buy it and they don’t even realize they buy it. The find themselves cheering and booing and experiencing real emotion. That was the same in 1935 as it is today.
As wrestling got more and more exposure on television, it arguably culminated in the late 1990’s with the “Monday Night Wars.” I think this was the best time to have been a fan (working there would have been even better)!

Between WCW and WWF programming there was over twelve hours of wrestling on television a week. WWF Monday Night Raw had been a staple on the USA Network for several years, and before that the same night and 9pm time slot belonged to WWF Prime Time Wrestling. So WWF programming at been there for a long time.

Meanwhile, Ted Turner who owned WCW, also owned the TNT network. He wanted his own prime time wrestling show, which also meant he could put it on anytime and any day of the week. One day in the summer of 1995, he called executive vice president Eric Bischoff into his office and asked how WCW could compete with Vince McMahon’s WWF.

Thinking Turner would say no but also wanting to show some toughness, Bischoff responded with “give me two hours on Monday nights at 9pm.”

Turner thought about it for a moment, and much to Bischoffs dismay, said “you got it!”

Bischoff left the meeting with a feeling of “oh my, what have I just done?”

On Labor Day 1995, WCW Monday Nitro debuted on the TNT network. Again, WWF had been on Monday nights at 9pm on USA for years. WCW could have chosen any other day or any other time of the week. They owned the network.

That was a DIRECT shot to the WWF and alas, the Monday Night War was born.

What happened from all this was surprisingly, the WWF started getting their butts kicked and were forced to step up their game.
And as the competition got more heated, even personal, between the two promotions. It started to become more and more about the ratings.

Tuesday mornings when the ratings were released became about who won Monday night. The goal was more and more about keeping viewers tuned into their programming without switching to the competition. “Crash TV” of super quick matches and more in ring interviews and backstage segments became the norm, as “classic” wrestling seemed to take a backseat.

During all of this, pro wrestling achieved unprecedented heights of popularity and stepped out of the murky shadows of being the bastard child of the entertainment world, and nudged itself right into popular culture from 1998-2001.

Like all things that catch on in pop culture, they seem to die down as quickly as they rise up. By 2003, pro wrestling had had its big run at the top. The fans who stuck around, the fans who were there before “the boom” and the fans who will always be there are just that: wrestling fans.

The ones who just simply love professional wrestling.

They grew tired of the “ratings grabbing” segments and silly storylines. In the last ten years the WWE has done a good job of getting back to the basics and showcasing it’s in-ring product. We still need the storylines of course, but those should serve as a back drop to the actual match, and not the main product.

There is still your fair share of goofy stuff that shows up on WWE today, but ultimately, what’s going to attract the core fan base is wrestling.
And it’s always been that way. Even in today’s world of instant news feeds, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Pro wrestling is pro wrestling.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

One Comment

  1. Mike

    May 13, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    Hey Kris I also write for CPS.COM and I am and have been a huge wrestling fan for most of my life dropping off for a little here and there, but I have a few questions I would like to ask you in regard to your article above.

    Below is my email if you could let me know if you’d be willing to answer a few questions about your article and wrestling in general. Thanks and hope to hear from you.

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