Perhaps the best match at the last WrestleMania featured C.M. Punk viciously breaking down the right leg of a suffering Randy Orton. Wrestling fans always love to see the villain focus on one body part, relentlessly weakening and punishing the injured area like a sculptor patiently chipping away at a block of granite until it breaks just right. Punk, who had injured Orton’s leg in an earlier encounter, clearly understands the psychology of classic pro wrestling as he finds dozens of deliciously evil ways to bust up the leg, as Orton bemoans his pain beautifully.
One reason to watch WWE (no matter what you think of the wrestling itself) is the stunning close-up camera work, zooming in on a wrestler’s face until you can almost feel his body heat. The WWE camera-men love to do this, especially on Orton, Cena, The Miz, and Drew McIntyre. We should count how many Ultra Close Ups they shoot of each wrestler during a typical match, and find out who is the Close-Up King. I bet Orton is near the top of the list.
This is an old story that’s been told dozens of times, but I still love it: the heroic wrestler comes to the ring with some body part already injured (and heavily bandaged), which only encourages the evil wrestler to focus his attack on that exact body part. How foolish of the hero, to agree to fight when he’s already wounded, to display exactly where he’s hurting by wearing a clearly visible bandage, to give the other wrestler such a huge advantage.
It really makes no sense for the hero to agree to these terms, so why does he get in the ring when he’s wounded? Is he so honest and trusting that he can’t comprehend that evil men exist who will attack his weak spot? Does he foolishly over-estimate his strength and heart, thinking he can prevail despite his injury? Does he believe that — as a Good Guy — he must always strive against evil and accept the challenge to defend his integrity, regardless of his personal health and comfort?? From this scenario, pro wrestling teaches us that Good is Stupid and Gullible, but often prevails anyway. Evil is Opportunistic and Clever, and very, very entertaining.
So I’m happy to see that the basic elements of great, classic wrestling can still be found, even in the WWE: actual wrestling holds, a ruthless focus on one body part, pulse-raising images of suffering by a good looking Baby-Face, etc. So sit back and enjoy these images of Punk and Orton entertaining us with a good old-fashioned Wrasslin’ match.