OK. I’ve done it. I’ve been to the dark side…and come back to tell the story.
I went where I swear I would never have gone, and had no desire to go, in my whole life – if I didn’t have two sons in it.
A real-life WWE cage match.
This is just the latest thing I banned from my kids’ lives and they insisted on having, so eventually I caved. Just like how I said there’d never be war toys in my house and now we have an arsenal – literally. There are so many guns and swords that they had to be moved into their own room (you know, the office/guest room/armory).
BUT, as I learned with the guns, the toys you play with don’t make you who you are. It’s how you treat other people. And teaching my boys how to treat other people has nothing to do with toy guns. So I do my usual daily work of guiding and teaching, and I let the WWE seep in. Or come crashing in, literally and figuratively, as it did for my boys. And we continue to talk about how you don’t resolve your problems by throwing someone through a wall.
Older Son was angry when I told him how I felt about professional wrestling. Here he’d found this awesome, intensely cool thing that spoke to him on a level I can’t understand, and all I could do was say how bad it was. I told him I can’t stand to see people beating on each other.
He put his hand on my arm, looked in my eyes, and in a tone of real concern asked me, “You do know it’s fake, right?”
I had to admit it – he’s a pretty smart kid. So I let it play. In a matter of months they’ve obtained toy wrestling rings, a collection of action figures, and a soundtrack that must be cranked whenever we’re in the car. So Santa decided it would be fun to take them to a real match (against my will). I decided to look at it as a sociological experiment (which I guess is pretty much how I see most of my life these days).
I figured the crowd would be entertaining and boy was I right. There were a few who were really downright scary – you could see the security guards keeping an eye on them (and in real life they’re probably the sweetest people but put them in the right situation and they look terrifying). The 65-year-old lady and her 35-year-old son gesturing wildly to each other when the announcer said the next live match would be in March. The (again, adult) lady behind us yelling and screaming and making the most hilarious comments – to people who don’t take the WWE seriously enough (“Oh yea, he’s dirty like always!” “Look out behind you!! The chair!!! HE’S GOT THE CHAIR!!!”). Full-grown men wearing WWE championship belts.
And I loved how the wrestlers had security guards escorting them down the aisle to the exit. You, John Cena, man of muscle, who just lifted a 275-pound 7-foot tall man on your back and slammed him to the ground AND won the match, need this scrawny dude to protect you from the weaklings in the seats?
The wrestling actually looks more fake in real life than it does on TV (sorry everyone who believes it’s real – and there are SO MANY of you out there). But even I gasped and covered my eyes several times when people were being body slammed or worse. And of course there were moments that got the teacher and protector-of-children in me going, like when they showed the video montage of the WWE’s anti-bullying program.
Really? A sport that is based solely on bullying, and they’re sending the stars out there to tell kids not to do it to each other? They actually had the nerve to say “It’s all about respect.” Because when you kick someone in the face, that’s respect!
And the fact that they kept making a big deal out of their shows being “PG.” What’s PG about people slamming other people’s faces into walls or smashing chairs into their bodies? Michelle told me, “The G is for Guidance, and as a Parent, that’s WHAT YOU DO.”
I told her to shut it.
And then we got in a divas cage match right there in the car on the way home from the show.