Wrestling has given us decades of entertainment in the form of staged aggression and enthralling story lines. Fans praise the Attitude Era when wrestlers took up extreme personas and rivalries lead to bizarre scenarios and unforgettable moments in the WWE.
Does Wrestling Sometimes Take it Too Far?
There are times when wrestling took it too far. Even die-hard fans can admit that. Risks were taken that sometimes resulted in injuries (and even deaths), storylines became too crazy for anyone in their right mind to outwardly enjoy, and so-called Divas were consistently objectified and mocked to the point of humiliation.
Stunts have been performed that made our hearts race — there’s no doubt about that. Who didn’t enjoy seeing Mankind thrown off a Hell in a Cell cage? But did he really deserve to be beaten 11 times with a metal chair whilst handcuffed? Questionable.
Character rivalries often resulted in over-the-top scenes. Chris Jericho was in a hot feud with Shawn Michaels for a long time. In one famous match, the pair asked Vince McMahon if they could use blood. Vince agreed that they could, but during the match, Michaels cut himself too deep and fought the rest of the bout with an extremely bloody face; this spelled the end of the use of blood in the WWE.
During the same feud, Chris Jericho took a swing at Michaels, who moved out of the way and left his wife to take the blow. Though scripted, the punch connected, and she was rewarded with a swollen lip. Hitting women in the face? Nice WWE, nice!
Women’s Wrestling Exploiting the Divas and Objectifying Women
But that’s really not the worst treatment that women have been subjected to in the WWE. It seems that owner Vince McMahon thrived off of regularly exploiting his scores of "Divas" and making out with ladies who would usually be completely out of his league, including on-air flings with Torrie Wilson and Sable, among others.
Where the objectification of women is concerned, perhaps the worst moment of all was when Vince once made Trish Stratus, one of the greatest female wrestlers of all time, get down on her hands and knees in the middle of the ring and bark like a dog.
Of course, wrestling and the WWE don’t shy away from the sexualized content. Even in the PG era, we had the likes of Paige prancing around in her panties, licking faces, and pinning opponents in positions that caused male viewers to shift their posture. And who could forget the night that Edge and Lita took part in a live "sex" scene in the ring? I want to forget it, but I just can’t.
One of the most outrageous scenes came in the form of a strip poker match among several female WWE wrestlers back in 2006. The scene involved one card being dealt to each lady, unlike the proper rules of poker, and the person with the worst hand had to remove an article of clothing. What starts as a (somewhat) reasonable game quickly spirals out of control as Candice Michelle accuses Maria of manipulating the game. The two brawl on the floor, and the scene ends with all of the participant fussing around with their clothes off, proving that the WWE will do anything for ratings.
It’s not only sex that has sold wrestling to its fans (although it’s helped greatly), but also violence and weirdness. We recently saw Brock Lesnar beat up a grounded Randy Orton, delivering some elbows to the head that were pretty real, causing him to bleed out. We saw the failure that was Brawl For All, not one of WWE’s finest ideas, in which wrestlers took part in boxing/MMA matches, resulting in a number of bad injuries and culminating in Bart Gunn getting completely destroyed by Butterbean.
We have to remember that a lot of this wrestling madness came from Vince McMahon, who allowed these ideas to air live, sometimes even including himself in the craziness. One of the moments that WWE pushed the boundaries was his ass-kissing club in which superstar wrestlers were paid money to, you guessed it, kiss his ass on stage.
Vince is a no nonsense man who shaped mainstream professional wrestling into what it is today. He has been a constant, prominent presence to the viewing audience, pushing the envelope for more than thirty years. Whether he is the type of man anyone should feel comfortable working for is up for debate, but the only conclusion that seems fair is that Vince thrives in these moments in question.