TNA Bound for Glory!

TNA Bound For Glory
Gwinett Center, Duluth GA

As part of Midway’s weekend of TNA they took about 50 journalists to witness first hand the excitement of a live TNA professional wrestling event. Although the action was clearly staged (many times I saw the participants laughing or counting with each other to make sure that the timing of the stunts was correct), it was thrilling. It was like a Broadway show, but one based on violence and acrobatics. And the crowd loved it. They ate up every minute of it, every 2 and a half count, every act of bravado, and every broken chair.

If you'd like to view the slideshow click here.

My first thoughts were, “Wow, this looks really fake.” “They’re not even hitting each other.” “This isn’t wrestling.” “The game is more real than the event because the outcome is uncertain.”

And then I left our corporate box and went down into the crowd. The enthusiasm was infectious. It wasn’t about fake fight anymore; it was about an intricately choreographed dance and controlled violence between personalities. Who cares if it was fake? It was fun and fairly clean and yes, exciting.

If you'd like to view the slideshow click here.

I sure as hell roared with approval when my buddy Samoan Joe (a future post will include an interview with him) dove through the ropes to tackle his opponent out on the arena floor. I laughed when it took three “normal” females to throw an absolute monster named Kong out of the ring. She was indeed a monster, probably bigger than most NFL linemen.

This brings me to a greater understanding of professional wrestling. It’s a show and the performers are talented. The writing is hackneyed, banal, and predictable. The actors portray strong personalities and the stunts they do look pretty difficult to pull off to me. There was a lot of aerial combat. I’d imagine that a person could get hurt pretty badly if they screwed one of those stunts up. And if your opponent screwed something up it could probably even kill you; being off by a few inches on a piledriver would definitely crack your skull or break your neck.

These guys are not always so big. As you can see from the photos, I might even be considered in the same ballpark size and fitness of the smaller ones. This is, of course, a joke. When I wrestled I was a lean 140 and I’m about 60 lbs heavier than that now. The thing is that these guys must be tough as nails (I may have been tough as nails as a teenager, but at 37 I’m far from it). They get smacked around and bash into things all day every day. It can’t be all that much fun getting thrown out of the ring or having a 250lb guy land on you. Sure, the wrestling isn’t real and I bet that a very good high school heavy-weight could take almost all of them in a straight on wrestling match. But, first of all, that’s not what it’s about and, second of all, I really have to admire grown men who can participate in something this physically demanding and at the same time exhibit so much charisma.

If you'd like to view the slideshow click here.

How do wrestlers measure up against other athletes? The first thing that comes to mind is that I’m pretty sure if Scott Stevens unloaded on any of them they probably wouldn’t get up. They couldn’t juke and run down a football field either. They probably couldn’t beat Tiger Woods in golf, but if he stepped into the ring he might never walk again. I’m not so sure professional wrestling is a sport. It is a cultural phenomenon, an intricately choreographed display of violence in which some really tough guys hold the crowd in the palm of their hand and under the spell of their charisma. It is a spectacle, and a spectacle of the best kind – a fun one!

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