KELLER'S TAKE KELLER'S POLL: I want to know what you think of the term "sports entertainer"
Nov 5, 2013 - 3:57:48 PM
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I want to know if the term "sports entertainer" bugs you as much as it bugs me. I don't want my opinion to affect how you vote in the poll I created below. I just want to know if this is a "pet peeve" of mine that few people share with me, or if WWE really is irritating most ardent fans. I think I'd rather listen to someone scrape their fork on a ceramic plate while rubbing their finger nails on a chalk board than listen to JBL - someone who knows wrestling's history and doesn't have a complex about being part of the legacy of the "pro wrestling industry" - use WWE's Orwellean Dictionary trying to redefine what they are.
I could live with an alternative term to "pro wrestler" if it made sense and sounded okay. I'm not sure what that alternative would be, but I am quite sure calling someone a "sports entertainer" is awful, awful, awful to my ears. The term "entertainer" just "takes me out of the moment" when I'm trying to get into the world WWE presents to me of these great athletes engaging in simulated combat, trying to make it as realistic looking as possible. When JBL says Randy Orton is the image of what you'd design if you were to build the ideal "sports entertainer" from scratch, I just shake my head.
When Orton is on TV playing the role of a fighter trying to win matches, he is NOT AN ENTERTAINER. Orton can be called an "entertainer" when he's being writtenn about in a magazine article about WWE. Orton can be called an entertainer if he's on a talk show. But on WWE TV, Orton is in character as a fighter, and his goal is to win matches, not "entertain fans" or be "an entertainer." How would you react if characters on TV shows referred to themselves as "comedy actors" or "drama actors" instead of by their characters and the roles they play (doctor, lawyer, coffee shop worker, stay at home parent, etc.)? It'd totally take you out of the moment.
To take it to the extreme, the "ring announcer" could be re-dubbed "introduction entertainer." The play-by-play announcer could be redubbed the "sports entertainment TV show narrator." The wrestling ring could be rebubbed "the sports entertainment performance platform." Where does it stop?
I get that the McMahon family are trying to reframe the business they're in as an attempt to appeal to advertisers and network executivers who they assume consider "pro wrestling" something shameful and embarrassing to be associated with, but that can be done without, in the context of the wrestling show, referriing to the people who are wrestling for money (i.e. professional wrestlers) as some clunky awful term that's the equivalent of someone, in the midst of a movie, whispering in your ear "you know these are actors reading a script, and the only reason this movie was made was so people involved in the movie-making could make money and none of this is genuine or real and you're a big mark for even allowing yourself to get wrapped up in the story being told."
Pro wrestling succeeds as a genre and as a formula when fans are absorbed in the product as much as possible, with as few reminers that it's all a "performance" to "entertain us" with the end-goal being to "make as much money as possible for the McMahons." Yet, more and more over the years, Raw has become in great part a story about the McMahons trying to make money by presentinig "sports entertainers" in "compelling storylines" to try to "entertain the Universe." It pulls us out of the moment needlessly. As much as wrestlers try to make their matches as real as possible to draw us into believing, at least for a few minutes, that what we're watching is a genuine dispute or rivalry being settled in a wrestling ring between two fighters, the McMahons' odd insecurity with being in the pro wrestling industry and obsession with redefining their business actually is undercutting their bottom line by taking viewers out of the moment and making it nearly impossible to fully get absorbed in the story the wrestlers are trying to tell.
Okay, so you know how I feel. How do you feel? Vote below...
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