Is this thing on?

By BNorris
Mar. 20, 2017

"Here I go again, on my own. Going down the only road I've ever known." - Whitesnake, Here I Go Again

Because that song doesn't get quoted enough. However, it is appropriate for my next foray in life.

My name is Brennan. I'm in my mid-20s and work for the ESPN Radio affiliate in St. Louis, Missouri. I got my BA in Mass Communications at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. I'm passionate about three things in life: My family, gaming, and sports.

It's that third one that brings me here to SportsBlog. I grew up watching sports and loved it enough to make a career out of it in sportstalk radio. But, instead of going on about why Roger Goodell and Stan Kroenke are the scum of the universe and why the Cardinals have the best fans in baseball, I want to go a different route with this.

My colleague Jason Frazier and myself run a combat sports-themed podcast called "Down Goes Frazier." (link below) We spend time each week breaking down topics in mixed martial arts, boxing, and more prominently, professional wrestling. This brings me to my first blog topic: The treatment of professional wrestling in mainstream media.

[Down Goes Frazier - 101Sports.com]

BUT WAIT. YOU KNOW IT'S FAKE, RIGHT?

I still see this response from time to time. First, despite my blog's title I am aware that it is not "real." I prefer the term "predetermined." Calling something "fake" shows a lack of respect to the pro wrestlers and the physical and mental toll it takes on these men and women who are on the road 300+ days a year, taking bumps night in and night out on both televised broadcasts and the non-televised house shows. Throw in the strict diet and exercise regiment, the sacrifices they make with their family and social lives...and you get something that is far from "fake." That said, because of its predetermined nature...it can't be critiqued and covered in the manner you would cover an MLB or NFL game.

To me, professional wrestling is something that has become accepted by the mainstream media in the last couple years. Pro wrestling used to be seen as comical to legitimate sports media outlets such as ESPN, FOX Sports, and Sports Illustrated. Now? All three of them have a dedicated section to WWE. As of late, ESPN has expanded to cover other promotions such as Ring of Honor and Lucha Underground. However, there is a fine line between covering sports and sports entertainment. So, what's the trick? I liken the covering of professional wrestling to a film critic reviewing a movie. They break things down by the quality of the production: the characters, the plot, the SFX, the score, the direction. This is how professional wrestling must be covered. 

Example: Goldberg defeated Kevin Owens in 22 seconds for the WWE Universal Championship at 'WWE Fastlane.' How does this affect plans going forward? Is putting the title on a part-timer a good strategy by WWE? Does he have a lengthy title run in him at his age? What does this say about their confidence in more established, full-time Superstars? Is the story being told in the ring compelling enough to get you to tune in to the next broadcast? What do you think will happen at Wrestlemania, now that the stakes are raised for his rematch with Brock Lesnar?

That's how you review scripted sports entertainment. Compelling storylines that go beyond the squared circle. It's encouraging to me that more and more media outlets are accepting professional wrestling as something worth covering when dissected the right way. 

That's all for now. Looking forward to continuing down this road and see where it takes me.