Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Who Gets the Push

This past Sunday,  I watched the WWE Royal Rumble. It was an entertaining event without a doubt. Not all of my favorites won, but that's life. In fact, the picture here is of HHH, who won the titular event at the show and, as a result of a stipulation of this year's Royal Rumble match, the WWE championship.

As I watched, my wife and I observed an interesting phenomenon. For years, the bulky muscular (steroid using?) wrestlers get the push - like HHH here. However, fans in recent years want to see different wrestlers get the push into the spotlight.

Wrestler AJ Styles made his WWE debut in the Rumble match, and it seemed he was the one most admired by the fans in the arena. Styles is anything but the muscular stereotype that has been pushed since the mid 1980's.

If there was any one wrestler who got a similar reaction, it was Dean Ambrose. Ambrose and Styles are of similar build and size. Prior to them, the most beloved wrestler seemed to be Daniel Bryan - who is even smaller than either Styles or Ambrose. And before him, it was CM Punk. Not ironically, Punk is about the same size as Styles and Ambrose.

I think the allure is not the size of these wrestlers, but rather, a combination of their personalities as well as their unique ring tactics. They use moves many other wrestlers simply don't do, and they do so to the amazement of the fans. Each of these four men is also very charismatic in his own way, which brings an air of realism to the mix. Compare that to the comic book superhero feel of the bulky, muscular beasts.

Without a doubt, there will always be room in wrestling for the muscular bodybuilder. Similarly, there will always be a place for a "giant," the small acrobat, the obese behemoth, and others. But right now, the fans want a real "regular guy" with a personality. And smart money rides with giving clients what they want to buy.

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