by Daniel Stockwell - October 01, 2013
Welcome to Talking Theatrics. Welcome to Talking Theatrics. In this column, I discuss theatrical aspects of professional wrestling, such as character or plot. I’ll usually focus upon a particular topic over several articles – I feel this enables me to fully explore an area before moving on. Lately, I’ve been discussing character, and I have focused on Bray Wyatt and Kevin Thorn, both of which are created characters – one that has been given time to develop a realistic character, and another who could have used modern culture to his advantage in creating such a character. For the next few articles, I’ll be discussing characters who are heightened versions of themselves. Originally, this was intended to be one article, but due to length, I’ve cut it down into several smaller articles – the articles will focus on Vince McMahon, Triple H and Brock Lesnar.
Every wrester has a gimmick – the only thing that separates one from the other is whether that character is a heightened version of the performer themselves or simply, a character created for the sole purpose of the fiction. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, wrestling is a unique performance art as it is perceived as a real competitive sport between the world’s best athletes. It therefore needs to provide characters that are realistic enough for us to relate to and want to see succeed and or fail.
Granted, there are a number of examples whereby we as the viewer are expected to suspend our belief, but the amount of successful instances is quite low. Mostly, wrestlers that have enjoyed considerable success are a heightened version of themselves. Whilst I want to avoid oversimplifying the reason as to why such wresters have prospered in lieu of the former, it’s quite frankly because we can relate to them easier.
Consider Vince McMahon – his character was a perfect representation of the arsehole boss, a person that many of us have encountered at some point in our lives. For instance, I worked in a deli at a local supermarket, some years ago. My manager at the time was a seventeen year old girl, who was suddenly given a considerable amount of responsibility and power. As a result, she became a nightmare to work for. She refused to acknowledge any suggestions by senior co-workers and in some instances, belittled those beneath her. In particular, a lady in her thirties who was quite intelligent and a far superior worker but too unambitious to apply for the manager position when it was originally available. Luckily, I was working part time as I was focused on my study. However, had I worked a full week, I imagine I would’ve reached a point whereby I snapped and shouted at the girl for her appalling management skills. Either that, or I would’ve thrown some ham in her face. My point is, these people can come in and out of our lives, particularly during our late teens and twenties when we are considering different career paths or studying for a particular path. It’s during this period that we usually find ourselves in different work environments, working under different employers – not of whom are going to be good. In taking my experience with such a personality, I can reflect these opinions and emotions on the Vince McMahon character, therefore I can relate to him.
Unfortunately in the real world, we cannot stomp a mud hole in our employer’s chest but that is why Steve Austin became such a beloved figure. Through him, we were allowed a glimpse into that fantasy whereby we could shout at our employer and flip him or her the bird.
I cannot comment on Vince McMahon personally as I have never met him, nor do I know how the man runs his business. But, in making himself a character, McMahon blurred the line between reality and fiction. Is Vince McMahon is a big headed egomaniac? I doubt it, but I also realize that it’s hard to separate oneself from that belief when Vince McMahon is portrayed as such on a weekly basis.
McMahon could easily be regarded as the most hated villain in the history of professional wrestling but more importantly, he is one of the most truthful characters. Jack Tunney or Gorilla Monsoon could have been placed in a similar role, but due to the internet boom, it would’ve remained hard not to acknowledge that the owner was in fact the man behind the announce table – that, and the Bret Hart fiasco. Vince McMahon the character is Vince McMahon the person, albeit a heightened version – he actually is the owner of the company and we didn’t have to believe in him, because he is who he claims to be – the boss that I wanted to see Steve Austin throw ham in the face of.
Seem a little short? Sorry if you were expected longer but the other two articles will be up shortly for your reading pleasure. In the meantime, if you have any feedback, please leave a comment at the bottom of the page. Constructive feedback can highlight the strengths to remain focused upon and the weaknesses that need improvement or elimination and therefore, help the overall quality of the column. Please note that the following was posted on Wrestling-Edge.com, so I am more inclined to respond there. Alternatively, you can reach me via the Facebook Page – www.facebook.com/talkingtheatrics
Until NXT Time….
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