Sunday, 21 October 2018

The violence is fake, but the love’s no wrestle for WWE fans

When I say “wrestling” I don’t mean the Graeco-Roman stuff at the Olympic Games by the way. I’m talking the absurd soap opera-like wrestling productions that are popular almost everywhere, particularly in America, Japan and South America. Most people know it as WWE, short for “World Wrestling Entertainment”.

On Saturday night at the MCG there’ll be about 75,000 others who love wrestling as the WWE hosts its Super Show-Down event, which will be broadcast around the world. It’ll be nice to be among like-minded people, no matter how undignified or unhinged you think such a spectacle seems.

And, if you thought West Coast’s AFL grand final win over Collingwood was going to be the rowdiest event at the famous stadium in 2018 then think again, because the Super Show-Down promises to be a production the likes of which the MCG has never seen before.

The Riott Squad, in town for a WWE show at the MCG.

The Riott Squad, in town for a WWE show at the MCG.Credit:Joe Armao

Legends like The Undertaker, Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Kane, John Cena and Daniel Bryan will add their names to the list of superstars who’ve held court at the famous ground.

For the uninitiated, these might seem some pretty stupid-sounding names, but to any wrestling fan these guys are quite literally royalty and it is extraordinary to have them Down Under all at once.

To see Cena, The Undertaker, Bryan and Triple H’s entrances live – with their iconic theme music, unique power gestures and audio-visual bells and whistles – is worth the admission price alone.

My family eventually forked out for pay-TV in my teens and my younger brother and I would watch WWE twice a week after school against the wishes of our mother.

Dad wasn’t a fan initially because he didn’t like the violence, but after a few months he’d join us on the couch to watch it and was just as engrossed.

Sure, none of it is real, but it never bothered us. You just treat it like the movies or like a soap opera, only with a little more violence.

John Cena and Triple H grapple at Wrestlemania 22 in 2008.

John Cena and Triple H grapple at Wrestlemania 22 in 2008. Credit:AP

It’s funny, too. Cena, for example, is a master behind the microphone and the WWE’s owners – the McMahons – have perfected the art of fostering storylines that are compelling, hilarious and preposterous all at once.

WWE’s own broadcast channel – the web-subscription based WWE network – has 2.12 million subscribers around the world. These are people who pay for premium content and events – like Saturday’s MCG extravaganza – on top of watching weekly events on normal television.

The WWE sells out stadiums similar to Rod Laver Arena almost twice a week and earlier this year put on another event in Saudi Arabia, which attracted 60,000 fans.

Tickets to the MCG event start at $40 and are a whopping $3600 at their most expensive. That gets you a ringside seat (you get to keep the commemorative chair too, no joke), various meet and greets with wrestlers and a pre-show party among other perks.

For just the ringside view, you can pay $1400. Those seats are still on sale, but the $3600 packages are sold out.

To many, this might seem a sad way to spend a Saturday night but for those at the MCG, it’ll be bliss.

Anthony is a sport and general news reporter.



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