Professional wrestling, often known as pro wrestling, is a form of entertainment combining athletics with theatrical performance. It involves scripted matches with predetermined outcomes, focusing on storytelling and characters rather than genuine competitive sport. Wrestlers, portraying heroes ("faces") or villains ("heels"), engage in matches that include a mix of grappling, aerial maneuvers, and sometimes even props. Skills required include athleticism, acting ability, and the capacity to engage an audience. Matches typically end with pinfalls, submissions, count-outs, or disqualifications.
Major promotions like WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) in the United States and NJPW (New Japan Pro-Wrestling) in Japan are well-known. Pro wrestling is popular globally, particularly in the United States, Japan, Mexico (where it's known as "lucha libre"), and parts of Europe. It's a unique blend of sport and theatre, attracting fans with its dramatic narratives and athletic spectacle.
Professional wrestling started in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as part of carnival attractions, where wrestlers would challenge members of the public. Initially, these matches were legitimate contests, but over time, they became more scripted and theatrical to ensure entertainment value and to protect the wrestlers from injury. This blend of athleticism and performance art gained widespread popularity, particularly in the United States, Japan, and Mexico.
By the mid-20th century, television played a significant role in boosting the sport's popularity. The creation of characters and storylines led to the emergence of major wrestling promotions like WWE, which turned professional wrestling into a global entertainment phenomenon, complete with larger-than-life personalities and dramatic narratives.
Professional wrestling is set to continue its evolution, embracing new technologies and audience engagement. With the rise of streaming platforms and social media, promotions are expanding their reach, offering fans more content and interactive experiences. The blending of real-life stories with wrestling narratives, as seen in promotions like AEW (All Elite Wrestling), is likely to become more prominent. Wrestlers are increasingly crossing over into mainstream media, contributing to the sport's broader appeal.
Additionally, there's a growing focus on inclusivity, with women's wrestling gaining more recognition. These trends indicate that professional wrestling will remain a dynamic form of entertainment, combining athleticism, storytelling, and digital innovation to engage audiences worldwide.
Pro wrestlers Ed Lewis, Billy Sandow, and Toots Mondt promoted themselves in 1920 causing the first professional wrestling matches. Not until 1930 did the sport become legitimate. Ed, Billy, and Toots paved the way to today’s wrestling and other combat sports seen on television.
The brute strength, eye candy, flying acrobatic combat, and portrayed characters causes for an entertaining show. Wrestlers aren’t only doing bare fighting, they use other objects; such as chairs, ladders, and stools to beat their opponents.
During the 1930s, pro wrestling started with its modern theatrics and moved away from its true competition. Although wrestling isn’t necessarily fake, the fighter already knows who will be winning and losing the fight. Tons of practice has been done to give the best possible fight and experience to the fans.