Pro wrestling – is it a sport or entertainment?

With Wrestlemania approaching, this weekend is the biggest in pro wrestling and that is certainly the case in Lincolnshire, Lincoln’s own Fight Factory Wrestling are putting on two shows at the Engine Shed this Sunday, I have been reminded of an issue that people ask me, is it a sport?

Vince McMahon’s WWE could class it as “sports-entertainment” whilst others would argue that it is in fact a sport. But, it isn’t competition. Everything is booked, the winners, losers and outcomes are known.

As a lifelong professional wrestling fan, it is difficult to me to define. Sure, it is predetermined. But, the men and women who wrestle in the ring are athletes. They train extremely hard as you can see above, keep in good condition, and do get hurt performing.

As Becca Loeve, owner of Fight Factory Wrestling in Lincoln said in an interview that wrestling “is physically demanding.” When talking about her husband, Hayden, better known as “Dutch”, rehabilitating his broken back after suffering the horrific injury after an accident in the ring.

“When people say to me, it’s fake or it’s not a sport, you tell me that, first thing every morning when he can’t put his clothes on because his body and his back has been put through so much”. Thankfully for Hayden he was able to return to the ring and perform.


However, there have been other famous incidents of wrestlers suffering career ending injuries such as Darren Drozdov the WWE in 1999 after a freak accident, leaving him paralysed.

Mitsuharu Misawa, a famous wrestler in Japan would die from a neck injury after being accidentally dropped on his head in the ring a decade later.

Thankfully, these have been the very worst injuries sustained by wrestlers whist performing in the ring.

Other injuries have been horrendous, such as one suffered by WWE wrestler Triple H in 2001, tore his right quadricep muscle off the bone, which needed surgery and nine months of rehabilitation, which should have been the end of his career.  Stone Cold Steve Austin also suffered temporary paralysis and broken neck after being pile-driven onto his head.

The average match itself according to wrestlers can be painful “when your back hits that canvas, it is like being hit by a car, you’re still putting yourself through pain but you’re just doing it whilst wearing some spandex and some Lycra.” Becca said.

However some argue that in fact it isn’t exactly a sport, as Keelan Balderson, editor of said “I wouldn’t call it a sport, but it’s a lot more physically demanding and dangerous than the average person may realise. And in terms of performing and putting on a great match, you could argue wrestlers are just as competitive as sports like gymnastics.”

So, in a lot of ways it is like a routine performance than a sport.

Regardless, we can all agree that it is physically demanding like any other athlete go through in sport. However wrestling fans, promoters and others who don’t watch wrestling will argue for the rest of time it seems. What you do think, let us know!


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