Pro–wrestling and WWE: Transcending sports and entertainment
Pro wrestling business is cut – throat. In the past three decades, no other industry had to witness the amount of deaths and injuries more than the professional wrestling industry. More often than not, people step over the other superstars to reach the pinnacle – the top of the ladder. Everyone wants to protect their “spot”, and in the process do some heinous things.
Professional wrestling was never seen as a career option by those who weren’t physically impressive – especially if you wanted to make it to mainstream promotions such as the WWE and TNA. Although there have been cases where superstars worked persistently for nearly two decades before realizing their dreams, most of them gave up in the midst of their journey.
Professional wrestling isn’t media’s favorite option either. With the amount of allegations and lawsuits that professional wrestling had to endure, most of the personalities don’t miss a beat to pick on a story and blow it out of proportions, with the most recent being Nancy Grace. Pro wrestling isn’t seen in the same league as other major sports – Soccer, football or the likes.
With the stigma professional wrestling has forever been scarred with, very few would imagine that such an industry could lead to something remarkable – A spark of hope in someone’s life filled with disappointment and uncertainty over their future. Sometimes, professional wrestling can create a moment so magical, that it leaves the entire world speechless, and that one moment gives meaning to its fans – The answer as to why so many people love a business which is otherwise considered to be cruel.
We’ve all been through the phase where we fell in love with the characters – Often losing ourselves in the world of smokes and mirrors, an alternative when we needed an escape from reality. We’ve associated ourselves with the superstars – The cool ones, the larger than life characters and those who’ve worked for over two decades to earn the respect they had received.
As wrestling fans, when we hear of stories about how professional wrestling had changed someone’s life for the better, we find solace knowing that our loyalty, and the love for the business wasn’t wronged. One such story is of a young fan that fell in love with WWE superstar Daniel Bryan, and one day posted a video on Youtube, asking his favorite superstar to meet him.
Young Connor Michalek suffered from a rare form of brain cancer, but like his favorite heroes, he fought valiantly, becoming a hero in his own way. When Daniel Bryan learnt of this, he visited his young fan, bringing Connor something that was taken away from him – Hope and joy. Bryan and his then tag team partner, Kane met Connor “The Stone Crusher” and his partner, “Jack The Ripper”.
Daniel Bryan let Connor submit him in his finishing move, the No Lock, and told Connor how he inspired Daniel Bryan. When the two parted ways, they vowed to meet each other again, and once the media sensationalized the news, professional wrestling became that much more genuine. To young Connor, WWE and professional wrestling weren’t “horrible”. They were his lifeline, one of his reasons to keep fighting.
A few days before WrestleMania 30, WWE was made aware of the news that Connor didn’t have much time left. WWE, to its credit sometimes produces magical stories that can only be described as fairy tales. When you grow up watching mythical characters and super heroes, it makes it that much more special when you get to live your dream.
Connor was then brought to WWE RAW, and before the show started, he accompanied Daniel Bryan to the ring, and even had the opportunity to pin the “evil boss”, Triple H! As Connor celebrated, the WWE superstars cheered him on from the ringside. If that wasn’t a tear jerker to listen to, it only got better for the young hero.
WWE invited Connor and his father to WrestleMania 30, as he had the opportunity to witness his favorite superstar Daniel Bryan winning the WWE World Heavyweight championship from the front row! After his match, Bryan headed over to Connor, embracing him and telling him that he was his inspiration. Bryan told Connor to keep fighting, for him and for the other superstars who were moved by Connor’s story.
In the end however, Connor succumbed to cancer just a few days after WrestleMania 30, but not before he touched the lives of millions of wrestling fans from all over the world.
WWE and professional wrestling may not be the first choice for a lot of people to get into, but people like Connor, for whom professional wrestling was their escape, their way of holding onto reality and a reason to keep fighting their demons, it means everything. That is why professional wrestling fans are the most passionate, faithful bunch you could ever meet, and that is why sometimes, professional wrestling can be the most beautiful sport you could be a fan of.