By Joel Weckerly, Sports Editor
Consider women the only dramatic ones? Not a chance. Men across the country are keeping up with their female counterparts by delving into a real-life soap opera of their own: professional wrestling.
You heard right. What General Hospital and Days of Our Lives give to women, Monday Night Raw and Thursday Smackdown! give to men.
And why not? Whether they’re targeted toward men or women, all these shows have the same elements: running storylines, shocking plot twists, scantily clad people, back-stabbing and horrible acting. The difference? Where women’s soaps use romance, ours use violence. Instead of cheating boyfriends, one-night stands and steamy passion, turnbuckles, witty catchphrases and flying elbow drops fulfill a man’s emotional needs.
And though the sport has earned the reputation for popularity with the rednecks of our country, plenty of other social classes stay glued to their television sets Monday and Thursday nights, when Raw and Smackdown air.
Violence has become a concern for the younger generation of viewers. A small contingency of today’s youth has transformed wrestling from fake to hardcore, participating in “backyard wrestling,” a recent craze that sometimes involves roof-jumping, getting hit with real chairs and other outrageous antics.
Jordan Echols, senior integrated marketing and communication major from Fort Worth, was involved in a backyard wrestling league with several other friends last summer. Echols said they didn’t take it too far in terms of violence.
“We had a blast with backyard wrestling last summer,” said Echols. “All of our matches were pretty tame; we would have our own special characters and we’d do interviews and run storylines. We taped all the matches and we get together back home and watch them.”
He even said he’d like to bring the sport to Abilene to feed the soap opera lives of college-aged men.
“We want to start a league here,” Echols said.
Men could enjoy the thrill of bringing the drama of a television-esque soap opera into their own lives-as long as they don’t take it too seriously.