The first spectacle of Pro Play fighting first hit TV units in the 1940’s, transmitting the likes of Beautiful George on local areas in hope that additional fans would turn up to view the matches live. It had been far from exciting and certainly wasn’t a goldmine. By the sixties most worthwhile promotions got some kind of TELEVISION timeslot, but it had not been until the late seventies when Vince McMahon acquired wrestling syndicated that folks endured up and took notice. 123wwe
The rest is record, Vince crippled the terrain system, Wrestlemania was delivered and the Monday night time Wars dominated wrestling on primetime television. The sport had gone from carnival tents to an international audience and by the 1980’s mega stars like Hulk Hogan erupted not only in wrestling but in Hollywood as well. The wrestler/celebrity crossover became ever present.
Wrestlemania one particular from Madison Square Back garden was an event which could never be duplicated by small territories. That was cross promoted with MTV and several actors appeared on the show, including Muhammad Ali, Liberace and Cyndi Lauper. Seeing that that day an entire host of celebrities have appeared in the WWE. Mike Tyson, Kid Ordinary, Pamela Anderson, Donald Overcome, Arnold schwarzenegger, Ice Big t, Kevin Federline and Aretha Franklin are just the tip of the banquise.
Pro Wrestlers themselves are not strangers to seeking their hand at other celebrity dominated fields. We all all know The Mountain (now billed by his real name Dwayne Johnson) has become an actor on the verge of high acclaim, and who can forget Hulk Hogan’s chain of lowly critiqued movie roles; not mentioning his hit reality show on VH1. John Cena shattered in to the Hip-Hop charts and Chris Jericho has performed his form of Glam Rock to many non wrestling followers. These are the evident choices when we think of wrestling/celebrity crossovers but did you forget about Andre The Giant in the “Princess Bride, inches or even the Jerry Lawler, Andy Kaufman argument? What about “Ready To Rumble” or Goldberg in that Christmas movie? We could go on permanently listing what wrestlers have been in what films, but chances are it is quite apparent that wrestling is intertwined with other varieties of entertainment.
Over the years the format and development of a typical play fighting show has evolved more than the people. Coming from slow one hour fits only seen by live fans, to fast spaced television soap operas observed by millions. TV was the first major step in the production beliefs of Pro Wrestling. You could now see close up shots of wrestler’s reactions and stories commenced to be told through interviews and backstage portions. This was then used to a fresh level as marriages would take place in the ring and cameras filmed segments reside in the homes of the wrestlers. It had removed from a sport, to what would later be coined as Sports Entertainment. Hell WCW used to have credits at one time.
ECW had it is own Extreme version of Pro Wrestling production with a grungy, dark and “real” perspective; this made an appearance to retract from the direction of Hollywood but had such a sexual energy filled uniqueness that it changed the wrestling world forever. That they had a certain underground charm, but incongruously were at the reducing edge with real access themes and long term storylines.
Since WWE monopolized the wrestling industry the conventional narrative and production of professional wrestling TV shows have remained the same. Segments, interviews and fits, with the odd Movie stunt like the Vince McMahon limo incident. 1 group that challenged this with laughable results was Wrestling Society X, which has since been axed by MTV. The less than one hour show was produced in a deliberately cheap looking place, that although looked quite cool was obviously imitation and didn’t really catch the grunge it desired to from the ECW. The crowd were famous actors, the weapons were artificial and you would often see post produced split effects like explosions and ring shaking. The strategy was obviously a high paced extreme adrenaline dash, coupled with music works from MTV. Don’t get me wrong it was watchable and fresh but it really seemed too artificial. We understand wrestling is imitation but don’t make it obvious.
This leads me personally onto a question that has been contemplated often I’m sure. Where does indeed wrestling go next in conditions of production (and no I don’t indicate HD). It seems strange to me that the company like WWE with gazillions of dollars haven’t tried out a few Hollywood-esque techniques. We are quite very happy to watch a film with choreographed acted fighting and heavily produced high acceleration car chases, so why doesn’t WWE perform a similar thing?