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Risking It All Essay, Research Paper

Risking it All

Watching a well-built young man take a death-defying fifteen foot leap through a wooden table onto another man’s prone body can be a thrilling experience. The fact is if you are a fan of professional wrestling today you have grown used to these stunts as if they weren’t as spectacular as they sound.

Professional wrestling’s recent boom in popularity began in the late 90’s, but unlike it’s past success it is not as safe as once was. While all theatrics the stunts have continued to push the limits to levels that have never been seen before. The results of this constant risktaking can be seen in the early retirements of many of pro-wrestling’s brightest stars and rookies who never had their chance to shine.

In previous years wrestling was dominated by giant masses of muscle who were not very athletic, but had the looks of Greek gods. To achieve these looks steroid abuse was rampant from the mid 70’s to the early 90’s. World Wrestling Federation promoter Vince McMahon’s infamous steroid trial did little to help wrestling’s perception as it fell into it’s “dark age” in the mid 90’s. When mainstream America started watching wrestling again in the late 90’s they were surprised to find mature storylines and much more athletic wrestlers. In addition to this they also began to appreciate a new style of wrestling, a wrestling labeled as “extreme” wrestling.

“Extreme” wrestling was not your typical wrestling match in which the gladiators would exchange moves and holds as they built the match to it’s climax. In this type of wrestling, the competitors had replaced the generic moves with high-impact moves, steel chairs, barbed wire, wooden tables, and jumps and falls that resemble movie stunts.

This new type of wrestling has been criticized as being just as dangerous to an athlete’s health as steroids were to them in the past. This type of wrestling has caused many of the upcoming wrestlers to become myths and legends before they even make it to television.

One great example of this is a wrestler known as Mick Foley. Foley never had physique or looks to be a professional wrestler. Instead, Mick had a high threshold for pain and a great sense of humor. For Mick this ended up being a winning combination in the world of wrestling. He went on to become one of the most beloved stars of all time but not before 17 years in wrestling destroyed both his body and mind. Mick’s list of career injuries is like a lesson in human anatomy. He has incurred a broken his cheekbone, jaw ,right wrist, nose (twice), left thumb, five ribs, and left toes. Mick has also seperated his right shoulder, herniated two discs, torn his abdominal, torn meniscus, disclocated and fractured his left shoulder, bruised his kidney, suffered second-degree burns on his right arm and shoulder, lost two-thirds of his right ear, not to mention the bone chips in his elbow, four lost teeth, over 350 stitches, and eight concussions he has received all for the love of his job. Due to all these injuries, Foley was forced to retire at the old age of 34. Mick continues to be active in the wrestling world and has also began writing a series of books which detail his insane career.

Unfortunately, many prospective young wrestlers have not learned from Mick’s example. One of Mick’s biggest followers a young wrestler named Tommy Dreamer has been forced to retire at the age of 28, after only eight years in wrestling. The new generation of wrestlers grew up idolizing people like Mick Foley. They have seen what effect this style of wrestling can have on their bodies and careers, but they continue to do it. People tend to ask why they do it, and for each of them it is problably a different answer. For some of them it may be monetary gain, for others to gain immotrality in the memories of wrestling fans, and for others just a chance to emulate and honor their childhood heroes.

Though it has helped wrestling regain it’s popularity and create new superstars and legends it should be toned down. Wrestling fans have been desensitized to these athletes taking near-twenty foot falls and crashing into wood and concrete that they want to see things more and more spectacular. It has become a dangerous game of “can you top, this!”, but unfortunately it is going to reach the point where there will be no one left to top it.


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