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Mainstream Media versus Wrestling Media: The Love-Hate Relationship, Its Origin

The Internet is awash with all kinds of entertainment news and wrestling news is definitely a big part of it. Wrestling superstars, regardless of where they are signed make for interesting subject matters for various articles, videos and photos both inside and outside the ring. With all the ‘hero worship’ of the fantastic athletes and personalities around the wrestling ring, there is a very good market for professional wrestling entertainment news.

Apart from the millions of global fans who purchase wrestling magazines and go online to find material on the sport and the wrestlers, it is not likely that you will find a section on your local daily highlighting the latest winner of WrestleMania or some such match. Mainstream media only mentions ‘big’ news stories (read negative) involving death or some other news item not focused on the sport itself. This is just as well since Hollywood celebrities have magazines dedicated to them, therefore, so should wrestlers.
Professional wrestling was a mainstream staple back in the Golden Age with the likes of Gorgeous George literary becoming household names. This winning streak, however, would not last with pro wrestling dwindling in popularity during the 1960s. It returned to its former glory in the 1980s and 1990s with the likes of Hulk Hogan, Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, Ric Flair, Sting, the Undertaker and many others.

Wrestling is a sport that has cut out its own niche. This is partly because of the negativity it received in the 1990s branding it ‘uncool’ and a ‘fake sport’. The World Wrestling Federation capitalized on this marginalization and continued to provide an alternative to the mainstream, even having its own news items. This has eventually evolved with the pro wrestling business trying to appeal more to the mainstream masses but that is still a work in progress.

The thing about mainstream media and its target demographic is the fact that they just don’t understand professional wrestling. The claims of being ‘fake’ are not really an affront to the sport since it has been openly theatrical and scripted since the 1930s. The fact that it is entertainment just like going to the theatre seems to escape mainstream media, hence the lack of coverage and really the lack of respect for professional wrestling.

It is therefore only logical to look to wrestling news from wrestling news sites. These people understand and respect the sport and will give it positive coverage mostly on their websites. They have everything from match analysis and comparison with older matches and the scoop on the latest news within the pro wrestling circles. These reporters have training from schools that are specific to wrestling like the National Wrestling Media Association (NWMA); some even have college degrees in journalism so they are real sports reporters who generally do a stand-up job.

However, if the mainstream media is going to take wrestling news seriously, the wrestling media team needs to apply as much professionalism to its work as mainstream media does. Granted, professional wrestling is a sensational sport and needs reporting in that high-octane tone, but just like with other forms of entertainment news, the reporters need to maintain a level of professionalism in their work. For now, though, wrestling media remains the most reliable source of wrestling news.