I wasn’t allowed to watch wrestling growing up. At the time, I saw it as a draconian restriction — wrestling was as close as you could get to watching real-life superheroes fighting it out, and my parents denied me that pleasure. Their reasoning? Wrestling was simply too violent, and my parents didn’t want me and my sister breaking each others’ necks imitating the Undertaker or Bret “The Hit Man” Hart. At least, that’s what they told us at the time. Now, though, I can see that they were trying to protect me from something far more insidious. They knew that if I caught one glimpse of those oily boys, I would never be the same.
Since then, I’ve learned enough about wrestling to bear out my parents’ fears. Everyday, I encounter photographs of professional wrestlers on social media, posted by my friends and colleagues. And everyday, I am challenged to maintain my composure and not simply degenerate into a flabbergasted Jerry Seinfeld upon witnessing the frankly ludicrous bodies and outfits of these professional athletes.
Being a wrestler is apparently a license to just fucking go for it in the full sense of the phrase. Do you want to make a lightly homoerotic photo book with your tag team partner? Sure! Want to turn yourself into a minotaur? Great! Grew up wishing you were Goku and operate on a 25-hour day? Fucking go for it. It’s too much, and I can’t stand it. Seeing pictures of professional wrestlers is like looking into a beautiful alternate universe where everyone has an outlandish costume and beautiful and/or no hair, in which all conflicts are resolved by seeing who can crush more beer cans against their forehead.
I mean, what am I supposed to do after I see an image of Hiroshi Tanahashi making tea in seemingly nothing but an apron, luxurious hair tumbling down his shoulders? Go back to work? And what about when a friend posts a picture of Asuka, screaming and covered in blood? Or how about Orange Cassidy doing his best BAKI imitation, fighting with his hands firmly in his pockets? Well, we all know how that one ended.
— merritt k (@merrittk) July 23, 2020
The other day, Fanfyte Editor LB Hunktears showed me a series of images of wrestlers in what I considered a kind of exposure therapy. It didn’t work — I still can’t confront these magnetic forces of nature without sputtering like a neurotic Porky Pig. If you want to watch that, it’s been recorded for posterity.
In the meantime, I will restate my wishes one last time: please, I’m begging you — stop posting pictures of professional wrestlers on the internet. I have a life to live.