Why Nerds Should Love Wrestling | NowThis Nerd

Hi everyone, I’m Moose, I’m utterly obsessed with pro wrestling, WOOO!!! and I bet some of you are, too There’s just so much crossover between wrestling, and everything else nerds hold dear, from the flashy outfits and long-term storytelling of superheroes, to the high drama and heart-wrenching battles of anime and videogames

But despite all the synergy, there’s a lot of potential fans who poo-poo pro graps, without even realizing it’s right up their alley So, shine your wizards, skin the cats, and for god’s sake, Too Sweet me, because this is Why Nerds Should Love Pro Wrestling Pro wrestling has more in common with comic books than you think Beyond the superficial trappings of colorful costumes, cool action, and the never-ending battle between good and evil, both artforms are defined by Long-Term, Serialized Storytelling When it comes to attracting new fans, comic books, long-running manga and anime, and wrestling have the same core problem: Decades and decades of complicated continuity Just like superheroes have been a monthly staple since 1938, and 'Shonen Jump' has published hundreds of thousands of pages of for the last 50 years, WWE keeps the content coming every single week RAW and Smackdown have well over 2,000 episodes between them, and unlike comics, they’re all canon

There are no Crisis crossovers or multiple Earths to condense the continuity, meaning wrestling can be just as, if not more, convoluted than your average superhero saga Think about all of the crazy canonical stuff that’s happened to Spider-Man or Goku since their debuts, all the deaths, undeaths, clones, revamps and relaunches How many more spider-people are there? Save it for Comic Con Surely the simple world of pro wrestling is far less complicated, right? Eh Let’s look at the WWE career of the Devil’s Favorite Demon, Kane

He began as a deranged dentist and a Diesel doppelganger, before being repackaged as the Undertaker’s long-lost little brother in 1997 At first, he was horribly burned and unable to speak, but WWE quickly walked that back, and soon, Kane had transformed into a goofy good guy who may or may not have engaged in necrophilia Hello? It's me, Kane Over the last two decades, Kane has unmasked, remasked, and unmasked again, became a horror movie slasher, teamed up with a little goat man, sold out and went corporate, and got himself elected mayor of Knox County, Tennessee Now, do you need to know all that to enjoy RAW or Smackdown? Pete Rose! That's Pete Rose! Pete Rose just got tombstoned! Absolutely not, just like to don’t need to know that Tony Stark once turned heel on the Avengers and was reborn in a teenaged body, or every single iteration of Hawkman’s confusing origins

But if you do, it can be so rewarding Wrestling, comics, and anime, each come with their own rich history, a legacy that, while not essential, adds untold layers to tapestry of the story, and gives newcomers an entire world to dive in and explore, if they care to learn And if you don’t, no sweat, because with wrestling, There’s Something For Everyone So far, we’ve been pretty focused on the big dogs of their respective industries, Marvel, DC, and WWE, but the worlds of comics and wrestling are so much larger than the companies that happen to be on top at the moment If you’re sick of the standard superheroes from the big two, your local comic shop is bursting with indie imprints You’ve got creator-owned epics from Image like ‘The Walking Dead’ and ‘Saga,’ not to mention IDW’s awesome licensed comics, or Valiant’s fresh new approach to a superhero stable

Similarly, wrestling goes far beyond WWE It might be the biggest, but it’s far from the only game in town, and if you’ve got an itch, odds are there’s a wrestling promotion that scratches it Down in Mexico, the line between wrestlers and superheroes hasn’t existed since the ‘40s, when luchadors like El Santo, Blue Demon, Mil Mascaras, and more transcended the squared circle, and became larger-than-life heroes in comics and cinema, a tradition kept alive by the supernatural shenanigans of El Rey’s ‘Lucha Underground’ Before the earthquake his name was Pasqal Mendoza But after rising from the ruins, he became

Mil Muertes! In Japan the line between wrestling, anime and toukatsu is nearly as blurred, mixing a hard-hitting, sports-like strong style, with monstrous wrestlers who can spit poisonous green mist, and masked heroes literally straight out of an anime like Jushin ‘Thunder’ Liger and Tiger Mask characters that began in manga and TV shows that have far outlasted their source material It’s like if Robocop showed up on a WCW pay-per-view

Oh, gosh almighty! He's pulling that door right off the hinges! What strength by RoboCop! There are dozens if not hundreds of indie feds each with their own unique spin on sports entertainment, from the deathmatches and debauchery of GCW, to the all-women excellence of STARDOM, SHIMMER and SHINE, not to mention stalwarts like PWG and Ring of Honor, or the intriguing upstart All Elite Wrestling Somewhere out there, there’s a wrestling show that’s just for you, you just have to seek it out Go support your local indie, hang out afterwards, buy some merch at the gimmick table, and talk to your favorite performers, because, believe it or not, Wrestlers Are Nerds Now In the old days, If you were a big dude willing to stuff yourself into some spandex, you could be a wrestler

Back then, promoters prized looks and perceived toughness in order to protect kayfabe, the illusion that wrestling is real But in recent years, we’ve seen a shift away from bouncers and bodybuilders, I think he's gonna do it! towards passionate performers who were raised on a love of pro wrestling Today’s superstars aren’t the hard-partying Horsemen of the ‘70s and ‘80s, nor are they the beer-swilling hellraisers of the ‘90s Lemme tell ya something, I hate the '90s '90s freakin' sucked

'90s freakin' sucked Today, most wrestlers are, for lack of a better word, nerds Let’s face it, it takes a certain kind of person to strip down to trunks and kickpads, and risk their lives pretending to fight someone in a high school gym for a hotdog and a handshake These days, most wrestlers spend their downtime the same way we do: grinding away at videogames Superstars like AJ Styles and Samoa Joe are die-hard gamers, though they rarely show off their love in the ring, unlike, say, your world-famous 5-time champs, the New Day! Ever since the trio teamed up, they’ve been dropping references and rocking game themed gear, thanks in large part to their trombone-touting hypebeast Xavier Woods, who also happens to be the creator of the massive gaming channel ‘UpUpDownDown,’ and they’re far from alone

Before she started wrestling, the Empress of Tomorrow Asuka was a games jounalist and graphic designer, and in his Japan days, Finn Balor used to slather his body in paint resembling symbiotes, supervillains, and other copyright-infringing comic book icons Outside of WWE, the American Nightmare Cody Rhodes is all in on owning his nerd-dom He’s rocked some amazing Metal Gear cosplay, parlayed his love of geeky stuff into acting roles in the Arrowverse, and actually got Stephen Amell to step into the squared circle himself Speaking of the Elite, Kenny Omega, unquestionably the biggest star of the sport outside of WWE, has unabashedly incorporated games into his entire persona He’s mixed 'Street Fighter' moves into his personal arsenal, named his finisher after Sephiroth’s theme song, One Winged Angel! Super One Winged Angel! and even collaborated with ‘Undertale’ creator Toby Fox on a special ring entrance for his most recent Tokyo Dome main event

My point is, today’s wrestlers are just like us Well, incredibly athletic, talented and hardworking versions of us with 4% bodyfat, but still The line between fan and performer has never been thinner, and now more than ever, Wrestling Needs Nerds In a way, wrestling’s popularity is inversely proportional to comics and superheroes During the glory days of Hulkamania, Marvel and DC were slowly crawling out of the Bronze Age, and by the time the comics industry exploded in the early ‘90s, the Rock n’ Wrestling era was over While comics were king, WWE and WCW struggled to build a new generation of stars, but just as the comic book speculator bubble popped, the Attitude Era and the nWo brought wrestling to unheard of heights of popularity

Today, WWE’s stock might be soaring, but the actual wrestling audience is orders of magnitude smaller than it was during the booms of the ‘80s and ‘90s Over ten million people were regularly tuning into wrestling during the Monday Night Wars, but today, an episode of Raw is lucky to get 25 That’s seven million fans vanished with the snap of a finger, seven million people now spending their hard-earned money on Crunchyroll subscriptions, Overwatch loot boxes, or tickets to ‘Endgame’ and ‘Captain Marvel’ What were once geeky subcultures have finally been accepted into mainstream pop culture, while the wrestling audience has dwindled to a smaller, but extremely dedicated and passionate fanbase

In other words, nerds Don’t get me wrong, in a lot of ways, the business is healthier than ever, especially now that WWE finally has some real competition to contend with, but at this point, the nerds are all that’s left That’s part of the reason that wrestling has such a great community, especially compared the toxicity we’ve seen from far bigger fandoms Are there creeps and gatekeepers within wrestling? Of course, but on the whole, I’ve found it to be way more open and accepting of new fans We’re not threatened by new faces and underrepresented people who want to get into the scene, we don’t demand an encyclopedic knowledge of every submission hold Hold 1: armdrag! Hold 2: armbar! or Brutus the Barber Beefcake gimmick, and we sure as hell don’t judge you for wanting to be a part of the wrestling universe

That’s because, unlike with comics and anime, we need all the new blood we can get There’s no resentment or hostility, we’re just pumped to see more people looking past the silliness at the heart of sports entertainment, and embracing the artform we hold so dear CTA: 20 SECONDS

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