The Ring Entrance
& the Soul of Professional Wrestling
Winter 2013

Favorite Part: Watching and re-watching dozens of ring entrances to develop a ring entrance archetype framework.

Biggest Challenge: Separating the wrestling character from his or her ring entrances. Some “good guys” have “bad guy” entrances!

Next Steps: Exploring wrestling as improvised dance. Charting the rise and fall of certain maneuvers over time. Wrestling promos as oral storytelling tradition.

I devoted a few months to exploring the meaning and tradition of ring entrances in professional wrestling. From the essay:

“Professional wrestling is the art of telling elemental, human stories through staged fighting. It is a folk tradition that has grown, like an untended rose bush, into a pyrotechnics-fueled stage show, featuring heavily muscled performers under colored lights. Its organic evolution has resulted in a rich, many-layered tradition. To appreciate professional wrestling is to peel back its layers and discover what this unique form reveals about storytelling and human nature.

Though professional wrestling’s primary expressive tool is physical conflict, this is merely the medium for fulfilling its true purpose: storytelling. At the core of these stories, whose scripts span the breadth of the human experience, are characters. The characters are what captivate and thrill the audience, drawing them in to the spectacle, making the performance more than just two men dancing. Each characters’ essence is captured in a single moment, their critical introduction: the ring entrance. This ritual also illuminates the priorities, traditions, and tools of this art form from beneath its many physical and conceptual layers. Just as one appreciates the complexity of anatomy by dissecting its structure, so too can the pivotal role of the ring entrance be revealed by a trip through the elements of the wrestling performance.”

What It Means To Me

Professional wrestling is an overlooked art form. Exploring this folk tradition through the lens of other disciplines’ history, vocabulary, and ideology is endlessly rewarding. As interesting as it to share these explorations with other wrestling fans, I love sharing them with people who have never considered wrestling’s finer points. Half the fun of watching wrestling is having a raw, visceral reaction; the other half is setting emotions aside to examine the finely tuned mechanisms that make the spectacle work.

Click here to download the PDF.

Images Copyright Pro Wrestling Illustrated, WWE, and AI Wrestling.

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