Rasslin’ Role Play

Why does pro wrestling seem to inspire so many regular guys to want to act out what they see in the ring?  No matter how many times they tell us: “Do NOT try this at home!,” the viewers just can’t seem to resist the old Monkey See – Monkey Do.

Don’t you just love it when you see a dude slowly entangle his buddy in the Sleeper Hold?  Or when someone gets that big grin on his face and slaps his elbow a couple times before driving it gently into his friend’s skull?  Or when your pal suddenly clamps you in a Headlock, allowing you to feel the power and tightness of his grip for a few seconds?

For some reason, seeing a regular guy applying pro wrestling moves can be more exciting and entertaining than watching the pros using the same moves.  This is similar to the way an amateur sex tape can be more raw, more freaky, than the fancy, polished professional porn video.

Maybe it’s because the dude who uses a wrestling move when rough-housing with his pals is outing himself as a wrestling fan.  He is willingly revealing that he must watch plenty of wrestling (and get off on it?) in order to know how to apply the holds.

Several guys have told me they watched pro wrestling as a kid and when the program went to commercial, they’d roll around on the floor with a nearby buddy until the wrestling was back on again.

So why don’t other sports have this effect on viewers?  Watching tennis doesn’t fill us with the craving to find a buddy and hit the ball back and forth for a while, does it?

Part of the urge to act out wrestling holds is based on curiosity — to find out if the holds really work.  Can I really put someone to sleep by gripping their neck?  Does a Figure 4 Leglock hurt THAT bad?  Which hurts worse — the Camel Clutch or the Boston Crab?  The only way to find out for sure is to do it yourself and see what happens.

Also, it feels empowering to force another man to your will — to make him say “Uncle,” thereby legitimizing your own strength and power.  If you can submit someone, you must be a Real Man, so why not get your tussle on so you can earn your Masculinity Merit Badge as soon as possible?!

But I think the ultimate reason that guys who watch wrestling want to then wrestle themselves is to participate in the homo-social experience — to test one’s strength against another man — to get up close and personal — to bond by trading dominance and submission.

We see the wrestlers working together and struggling together, and we get jealous of their intimacy and mutual awareness.  We want to join in that enjoyable male bonding experience — that sense of belonging, of being part of the brotherhood.

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