A Cold War era poetry quote isn’t exactly where I thought I’d find inspiration to start off an article on the subject of pro wrestling. Yet, the events of the world have transpired to put both you and I here.
“How can we live in this fear? Says one. From day to day, says another.”
Recently, I shared the poem where the above quote comes from, ‘Talk in the Dark’ by Denise Levertov, with my students during a lesson on reactions to the Nuclear Age. This is a lesson I’ve taught many times before, but the poem and that line in particular have never felt so relevant. Considering I don’t go a day without a student asking me if I think World War III is about to break out, I suppose the relevancy shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. What did come as a surprise though was how applicable the advice offered in that line of poetry was to the way I approach watching professional wrestling.
If you’re reading this article, you probably care a lot about pro wrestling. Regardless of what many of your co-workers or family might try to tell you, that isn’t a bad thing. Passion comes from the fact that you care, and if you aren’t passionate about anything why bother? However, I know for me personally, and I think I can safely assume for many of you, that passion can quickly turn into worry.
What if Kenny Omega leaves New Japan Pro Wrestling? What if the G1 Special shows in Los Angeles turn into glorified Road to Shows full of 8-Man Tag matches? What if Naito never gets the long IWGP Heavyweight Championship run he deserves? These types of questions we as fans pose to ourselves often lead us down the path of doom and gloom where we forecast the worst possible outcomes for our favorite promotions and wrestlers. When this happens, we lose sight of the reason we do this in the first place: it’s fun.
NJPW’s Best of the Super Juniors tournament is set to start in just a few days and it looks like it’s going to be another great one. Normally, I jump at the chance to analyze the breakdown of the individual match cards that will make up the tournament. What I realized though is doing that will just make me focus on predicting the winner and worrying about the booking. Why not allow myself to be surprised? Even if I’m not completely happy with how the tournament ultimately concludes, I know that I’m going to see loads of great matches and I know I’ll have more fun watching them if I just sit back and enjoy the shows.
Does that mean I think we as fans should immediately delete all our fantasy-booking group chats and Twitter convos? Absolutely not. I just know that for me personally, and maybe for you as well, sitting back and “trusting the process” a little more might be just what the doctor ordered.
After all, at a time when there’s enough existential dread to keep every therapist’s coffers full, why not allow wrestling to offer some solace instead of just more worries?
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