Why I’m going to WWE Wrestlemania XXX even though I’m a girl

Spoiler alert: This post has nothing to do with Christmas. Sacrilege I know, especially as it’s actually about something that’s happening in the Spring. Sunday April 6 2014, to be exact. A few weeks ago I purchased tickets to WWE Wrestlemania XXX, WWE’s oldest and biggest pay-per-view. I was lucky enough to be in the audience for Wrestlemania XXVI in Pheonix, Arizona, and will be joining 81,999 other fans (including the boyfriend) in New Orleans in April. I’m really excited about the trip as New Orleans is very high on my list of places to visit, but it turns out that when I tell people about my plans, they’re a little too hung up on the wrestling part to ask about the rest. And by hung up, I mean really, really, really struggle to understand why I watch WWE wrestling. So now I’m going to tell them. And you.

It’s a slippery slope…

The first time I heard the Monday Night RAW theme tune, it was 2007, I was 19 and had, until minutes before, been minding my own business watching a film on my boyfriend’s sofa. All of a sudden the clock struck 9pm, and in came his two housemates armed with chips, more chips, and their best heckling voices. The channel was changed to Sky Sports, and now we were watching a bunch of oily men run around a ring in speedos (there were women too, but best not to mention them). I promptly decided I was way above these sorts of shenanigans, and strutted off upstairs to watch whatever was on E4 by myself. I kept this up for a few weeks, before realizing that if I ever wanted to see my boyfriend after 9pm on a Monday, I was going to have to learn to stay in the room and put up with the various groans and moans (plus the noise from the TV). A month later I was singing along with the theme tune (God bless Papa Roach), researching 25 years worth of story lines, and choosing my own favourite wrestler, Shawn Michaels. Two years later I was screaming along to RAW and Smackdown live at the O2 arena in London, with face paint and homemade banners. Two and a bit years later I was hang over the barrier swiping at Triple H’s chest at the DX Invasion Tour. And yes I did made contact. Two and a half years years later and I was crying my eyes out at Wrestlemania XXVI watching my beloved HBK get retired by The Undertaker in one of the best matches I’ve ever seen. Turns out I didn’t have to worry too much, Shawn Michaels is still hanging around, working his way into storylines. Which was good news, because I was hooked.

James and I at the live taping of RAW in November 2009

James and I at the live taping of RAW in April 2009

My homemade Edge banner - "I'll be your Rated-R co-star"

My homemade Edge banner – “I’ll be your Rated-R co-star”

...and then we went back the next night to watch Smackdown! Here I am in my Edge t-shirt. And more face paint.

…and then we went back the next night to watch Smackdown! Here I am in my Edge t-shirt. And more face paint.

It’s Sports Entertainment, people. Entertainment!

Whenever WWE comes up in conversation, the question I am inevitably asked first is ‘you know it’s fake, don’t you?’. To clear this up once and for all, yes, I do know it’s fake. I know that the outcome of the matches is pre-determined, I know that the story lines are planned months in advance, I know that performances can be sold and I know that the superstars are characters with created personas. WWE may be a work of fiction, but so is The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Coronation Street. The shocking truth of the matter is that WWE fans don’t watch Monday Night RAW because they want to watch sport, they watch it because they want to be entertained. And because Eastenders just doesn’t quite cut it. I used to think that wrestling fans were idiots who bought into the over-dramatic matches and believed everything they saw on screen. To me, the whole thing was a big, spandex covered joke. It turns out I was right, it is a joke, but it’s one the fans are in on. WWE isn’t made to be believed, it’s made to provide entertainment. Some people watch fictional soap operas and dramas, and some people watch fictional wrestling entertainment. I just happen to watch both.

In my ringside seat at the DX Invasion tour. More face paint.

In my ringside seat at the DX Invasion tour in November 2009. More face paint.

It's DX! Shawn Michaels and Triple H in the flesh.

It’s DX! Shawn Michaels and Triple H in the flesh.

John Cena vs Chris Jericho

John Cena vs Chris Jericho

It’s not just me!

WWE programming reaches nearly 15 million viewers in the U.S. alone each week. That doesn’t include the ‘thousands in attendance and millions of people watching at home’ from outside America (that’s an official quote from official wrestlers). The age distribution may surprise you if you associate WWE with adolescent boys, as I did when my brother was eight and spent his Saturday mornings watching Smackdown on Sky One.

◦ 19 % of their audience is under 18 years old
◦ 23 % of their audience is 18-34 years old
◦ 21 % of their audience is 35-49 years old
◦ 37 % of their audience is 50+ years old

In case you’re wondering, 35 % of their viewers are female.

It's only Wrestlemania XVI! Pheonix, March 2010.

It’s only Wrestlemania XVI! Pheonix, March 2010.

Triple H's entrance

Triple H’s entrance

At the end of Wrestlemania, in my Shawn Michaels t-shirt

At the end of Wrestlemania, in my Shawn Michaels t-shirt

Wrestlemania XXX

Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely not claiming to be a die hard fan, though I appreciate the pictures on this post may suggest otherwise. I often go months without watching a single episode and am mildly disillusioned by the new youngsters on the ‘scene’. I have however maintained a basic enough level of interest to be really looking forward to Wrestlemania XXX. I can’t wait for the fireworks, the entrances, the atmosphere, the music and the potential to see Hulk Hogan live in the flesh. And there’ll be a lot of flesh. So next time you think about asking me why I like WWE, you already know.

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About MarmitetoMaple

I'm originally from the UK and have been working and living the dream in Vancouver, BC, since January 2011. I am a firm believer in travel, good cheese, volunteering and community engagement.

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