Why do people like professional wrestling

Worldwide entertainment brand

Liters of hairspray, colorful fantasy costumes, a lot of sweaty, muscle-packed meat, mercilessly exaggerated stunts and completely absurd stories about good and bad fighters: as a show sport, wrestling is generally ridiculed.

But this underestimates the importance of the exaggeratedly drawn fighter figures and the soap opera-like feuds in and around the ring in global popular culture - this is not only shown by wrestling icon Hulk Hogan, whose career after 30 years in the ring is now on reality TV ("Hogan Knows Best ") continues.

80,000 at WrestleMania
The figures also speak for themselves: According to the "New York Times", two million fans come to the live events of the market leader World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) every year, and tens of millions watch on television.

The biggest event of the wrestling year, WrestleMania, is broadcast to 110 countries via satellite. The 2007 edition, WrestleMania 23, recently took place in Detroit in front of 80,000 visitors. The WWE Corporation raised over $ 5 million in tickets for the event in one day.

"Face" vs. "heel"
At the shows, viewers immerse themselves for a few hours in a colorful parallel world created by professional scriptwriters and called "kayfabe" in wrestler slang. Good wrestlers ("face") carry out their feuds with villains ("heels") or morally ambiguous characters ("tweeners") in scripted fights.

The fight for baldness
This is also the case with WrestleMania: star guest Donald Trump, who came to Detroit with the old and new Miss USA attached, joined a hated fictional character with Vince McMahon, not only the actual CEO and main shareholder of WWE, but also Mr. McMahon the events is a "hair fight".

Trump sent the US wrestler Bobby Lashley into the ring, McMahon sent the Samoan heavyweight Umaga, in real life Edward Fatu. Lashley won the fight, and his mentor Trump was allowed to shave McMahon's hair as a reward to the cheers of the crowds.

Good role models
In terms of market value, the absurd exhibition fights have long outstripped serious martial arts. "You market the product better by offering morality-based stories," said a fan in "NYT" explaining the recipe for success. "Kids love good heroes and wrestling can offer them - boxing cannot."

"For a lot of people, and especially for children, wrestlers are like superheroes, much more than footballers, basketball players or baseball players," said newcomer CM Punk.

"Look at me: my body is covered in tattoos and I wouldn't be considered a good role model from my looks. But I don't do drugs, I'm addict-free, I avoid all this stuff. I'm the perfect example for not only judging things from the outside, and people can identify with that. "

Punk as an author
Even if the attraction of wrestling is not always easy to explain: Interest extends across all population groups. In 1999 the musician Bob Mold, who with his band Hüsker Dü had a decisive influence on the punk movement, caused astonishment when he was hired as a scriptwriter for WWE competitor World Championship Wrestling (WCW).

Entertainment now also in the name
The long-standing dispute between the two wrestling brands has now come to an end: In 2001, WWE bought the competitor, which was burdened by financial problems, and has had an almost monopoly ever since.

After a headline-grabbing legal battle with the World Wildlife Fund, the wrestling group had to rename itself from WWF (World Wrestling Federation) to WWE in 2002. The new name is actually more appropriate: The company is now an integrated entertainment and media group that supplies content for TV, Internet and video games and that even includes a film company.

Own film company
For five years now, WWE Films has been bringing feature films to theaters in which wrestlers play the leading role: In the teen horror film "See No Evil", WWE villain Kane played a psychopathic killer last year, and the action adventure "The Condemned" is coming soon Ex-wrestler Stone Cold Steve Austin in cinemas.

Soon in Vienna
Kane is one of the figureheads of the wrestling circus that is coming to Austria for the "SmackDown WrestleMania Revenge Tour". Stars like Batista, King Booker and his wife Sharnell and "the freaky boogeyman, whose predilection for worms caused a sensation" according to the press release will also be there on April 21st in the Wiener Stadthalle.