I know what you’re thinking: “Why would I ever want to watch wrestling? I am a fangirl; I have discerning tastes. I know what I like and I can almost guarantee wrestling isn’t it”. I hear you… not long ago, when Johnny Rico tried to convince us to watch our first WWE pay-per-view with him, I went through a similar thought process. I didn’t think I’d like it; after all, I was into fandoms, not senseless violence. What I didn’t know was that WWE is just another fandom. Sure there is physical fighting mixed in, but it also has all of the elements that originally drew me into any other of my favourite fandoms. When you check out the examples below try to argue that the storylines aren’t as good as anything you’d see on your favourite CW show or in the next teen fiction novel you pick up.
I know what you are thinking: “I don’t want to spend my Sunday evening watching two men beat the crap out of each other. Yawn”. Yes, if you watch Wrestlemania you will see two (or more) people fighting, but this isn’t UFC. The fighting is hardly the best part… for a fangirl at least. The joy in watching wrestling lies in the plot. Each wrestler has a persona and that character has a story littered with friends & enemies. It has performed team-ups and has a history. A history that can date back years, even decades. It can precede that wrestler’s time in WWE and reach back through the NXT Series (the WWE’s minor leagues) and beyond.
For example, Sami Zayn – who you will likely see as a challenger in the Intercontinental Title match – just made his Raw debut (aka first appearance on WWE Monday Night’s Raw show) on March 7th. This means he’s only been a full-fledged member of the WWE big leagues for a month, yet he still has a story to tell. In the NXT Series he frequently battled Neville & Kevin Owens (the current Intercontinental Champ) and has plenty of baggage regarding past betrayal by Owens. Oh, and he’s also managed to pick a fight with The Miz already… You’ll likely see all of these characters face off in a ladders match for the Intercontinental Title (yes, that is a match where they have to climb ladders to grab the coveted belt).
2. Friendships, Romances & Feuds
But backstory alone isn’t enough. You can sit down and read the Wikipedia page of any athlete and know their own personal “backstory”. It is within these backstories and how they impact the match-ups of today that the magic happens. Because wrestler’s histories aren’t contained… they are messy and overlap with all of their competitors in some way. Sometimes one of the WWE stars falls for one of the Divas and love is in the air. This will inevitably turn into a love triangle and drama will ensue. Or perhaps two wrestlers will face each other multiple times, swapping wins back & forth (like happened early this year with Chris Jericho (aka Y2J) and AJ Styles). The feud is undeniable… that is, until they form an unlikely team-up to defeat a bigger enemy (and Y2AJ was born). But the beautiful friendship will be short-lived because tag teams don’t last forever (and Y2J betrays AJ Styles because of his overwhelming popularity).
But maybe you want a Wrestlemania-centric example; luckily the Divas match is perfect. Becky Lynch & Charlotte were best friends, inseparable… until Charlotte won the Divas title. Suddenly the new champ didn’t have time for her old friend. She became a right bitch to poor Becky. So Becky went out and made a new friend: Sasha Banks. Sasha & Becky had a chilly history but, after a few tag team team-ups, they bonded. That is until Charlotte informed the pair that one of them would face her for her title at Wrestlemania. Suddenly the new friends were facing off against each other for a chance to take on the Champ. Due to shenanigans by Charlotte (and her ancient, annoying father) there was never a winner crowned between Becky & Sasha and a three-way Triple Threat match will take place at Wrestlemania. Can any of the friendships survive?
3. But we mainly just want to see Bromances
Fangirls love a good bromance. Sherlock’s Holmes & Watson. Supernatural’s Sam & Dean. The Bachelor’s Clint & JJ. WWE has bromances to offer as well! Sometimes they’re fleeting (like the aforementioned Y2AJ) but sometimes they are long-standing, intense, and beautiful. What is more special than the love between a guy and his bro?
The bromance-to-end-all-bromances in the WWE right now is with Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose. They entered the WWE spotlight as part of a three-man tag team called The Shield (along with the currently injured Seth Rollins). The Shield is no longer together (as I said before, tag teams can’t last forever) but the friendship remains. These two are often featured on other WWE shows together, just hanging out & being besties. When Dean Ambrose was smashed through the windshield of a limo by Brock Lesner in the opening of one week’s Raw we were comforted to see Roman Reigns on the phone with the hospital later in the episode, checking on his bro’s condition.
Roman Reigns will be challenging the current Heavyweight Champion of the World, Triple H, for his title in the main event of Wrestlemania 32. Dean has also been making moves towards the greatest of all titles over the past month, hoping to defeat Triple H and get to headline Wrestlemania for the first time. Instead he will be facing off with Brock Lesner (yeah, the guy who put him through a windshield… rivalries are strong in this fandom) in a no-holds-barred street fight. We’re still not sure how this year’s WWE premiere event will affect our fav bromance, but I am sure it will come into play somehow.
4. Heroes & Villains
Who you cheer for is wholly personal in any contest/sporting event/shipping war/etc. It’s no different in wrestling…however, no story is complete without a cast of heroes and villains. Rivalries can’t just be between the best of friends; you also need to have “the good guys” and “the bad guys”. There’s nothing saying you have to cheer for the heroes though (like how I have a soft spot for Hans when I watch Frozen). Yet sometimes everyone seems to unite behind one character; a character that can do no wrong and makes the crowd cheer uproariously whenever they appear. Those are the special heroes, who sometimes can be “villains” in the story line… or heroes to the people but resistant to authority (much as people love might Robin Hood).
The perfect Hero vs Villain storyline at Wrestlemania 32 will be the ‘Hell in a Cell’ match between Shane McMahon and The Undertaker. Shane is the son of WWE Commissioner Vince McMahon, but has been estranged for years. He has returned to the spotlight and challenged his father for the rights to run WWE Raw. Vince has promised that if Shane can win his Wrestlemania match he can have the coveted Monday Night show. Seems fair right? Wrong. He has set up a near-impossible challenge for his boy: a Hell in a Cell fight (aka cage match) against The Undertaker (aka the hugest, scariest, looks-like-a-gravedigger-from-hell-iest opponent). The complexity in the story comes from the fact that Vince is technically a Hero, being as he runs the WWE, but everyone hates him, making him the Villain for the fans. Shane, on the other hand, is challenging authority, so he is the technical Villain. But he was also always a fan favourite when he wrestled, due to the death-defying stunts he used to pull, making him the fans’ Hero. We’ll have to wait & see what Raw’s fate will be!
Is there anything a fangirl loves more than a hunk? They inspire us to watch an entire 11 season tv show or sit through a 3 hour movie we otherwise couldn’t have cared less for. They inspire fanfiction and artwork, both innocent and graphic. They fuel the manic fangirl energy we live on. And WWE has plenty of hunks, most of which you will see at Wrestlemania 32. Don’t believe me? Rather than give a list of examples, here is photographic proof:
Do I have you convinced? Will you be tuning in to Wrestlemania 32 this weekend? Let me know in the comments below … or, if you are already a WWE fan, add to the list with your own selling points!
Love & Luck,