Would you do <insert wrestling move that asker doesn’t like here> in a real fight?

This is something I’ve been asked a lot. Either by grumpy old wrestlevets who love wrestling so much that they want to protect it from itself, or by guys and gals that are a decade younger than me that want, so badly, to be good, little, pat-worthy wrestleboys and wrestlegirls for their grumpy ol’ father figures.

Like most questions it has (at the very least) two answers.

The first answer is usually obvious - to the point that the question could be noted as rhetorical and left unanswered.

Answer 1.) No. Depending on the movement in question, I, most likely, wouldn’t do it in a real fight.

No, I probably wouldn’t turn my back in a real fight.

No, I most certainly wouldn’t clap my hands together to get support started from the onlookers in a real fight.

No, I absolutely wouldn’t stop in the middle of a real fight that had gotten so intense that I tried to gouge the other guys eyes out and offer a handshake.

...But… You’re wrestlegods damn right, I would do any and all of those things in a professional wrestling match!

Answer 1.a) No, but…

No, but…I wouldn’t grab a guy by his neck and bicep, while he grabbed me by mine, to start a real fight, either.

No, but...I wouldn’t grab a guy by his left wrist and push him in the back to sling him sixteen-to-twenty feet away in a real fight, either.

No, but…I wouldn’t put on a spandex costume before a real fight, either.

Answer 2.) Since the original question can reasonably be read as rhetorical, you’ll have to forgive me for answering a question with a question…

Who the f*** said we were supposed to be “real fight”-ing?

I didn’t sign up for real fight training. I signed up for professional wrestling training. I’ve been advertised on posters across the world with “Professional Wrestling” (or the local-language equivalent) written in big, bold letters across the top. Never, not once, ever, have I been on a flyer for Real Fight-ing (If I was: please, let me know. I would like to sue for being falsely advertised.).

Professional wrestling: it’s what’s on the marquee, kids.

I don’t know that I have the brain power or writing skill to accurately describe exactly what professional wrestling is, but I am as confident as a guy with a crazy friend who is standing by with a gun in a real fight of what professional wrestling isn’t: it isn’t real fight.

No promoter ever packed 93,173 people into a Detroit-adjacent domed stadium for RealFightMania 3.

So, why should I - a professional wrestler - give a soft on both ends, sodium rich in the middle, Fight Club Sandwich-F*** about what I - or anyone else - would do in a real fight?

Real fighing is a brotherf***ing loaf of lamewack soggy-stale gnarlic bread dipped in firepube sauce.

So, you think the UFC is lamewack?

Nah, bruh, nah, the UFC isn’t “real fighting” either. It’s mixed martial arts, which I have both respect and admiration for.

Real real-fights don’t have rules. You know, rules like: both combatants should consent to being in a fight, or an unspoken agreement not to attempt to permanently injury, or don’t bring a f***ing chainsaw, or whatever.

Way more people die participating in real real-fights than will ever die in a professional wrestling ring or MMA cage. More people have to go get relocated into a cage that you can’t climb over to win or straddle to celebrate on, as well, because of participating in real real-fights.

You cannot, under any circumstance, sling someone into some tight-ass ropes, jump up into the air wrap your legs around their head, do a backflip to make them do a front flip, and kip-up like you didn’t just land face-first on the ground in a real fight.

That complete and utter lack of Frankensteiners, as well as the other reasons I just listed, is just the preface to my never-not-growing list of why Real Fight-ing is Nickelback as f***.

So, wrestling doesn’t have to follow any real-world logic, then?

Nah, bruh, nah, it really doesn’t, but…

Answer 2.a) Wrestling isn’t Real Fight-ing, but it can and should have it’s own logical laws governing it’s Universe, but…

Answer 2.a.b) Professional wrestling is also a diverse and fluid enough artform, like most fictional media, to allow for the creation of unique Universes that have their own governing laws.

Outside Of Wrestling Example: The Walking Dead and Dragon Ball both have their own uniquely real-world defying logic and laws governing their respective universes. In the real world dead things stay dead and living organisms have to drink plenty of water to remain living organisms. Also, in the real world there aren’t - to my knowledge - humanoid space aliens that test their mettle against one another in martial arts tournaments (If there are, let me know, if the tourney-tickets aren’t too pricey I’ll take my wife.).

So, these two fictional universes have their own laws that make them otherworldly interesting, but if Goku existed in The Walking Dead universe, it would change the nature of the story. They wouldn’t be looking for a place to survive and thrive. They would be looking for a safe place to chill until Goku finally showed up and Kamehameha'd the zombies straight to a blood pond bath in Home For Infinite Losers. Good luck getting 9 seasons out of that, even DBZ doesn’t drawl the wait for Goku out that long.

Conversely, the real-life-like, human relationship melodrama of the Walking Dead has no weight to it in the 300x gravity-training world of Vegeta and Bulma. “There’s no time for a tearful examination of the root causes of a kinda-affair with Yamcha - when you weren’t exactly sure that the Dragon Balls wouldn’t be able to bring me back to life - woman, I have a cloned army of Kakarot's to kill!”

Inside Of Wrestling Example: In Memphis and Mexico the piledriver was (and in certain promotion-universes still is) an illegal and overly dangerous maneuver that meant that the piledrivee would likely be taken out on a stretcher. In New York (WWF) and Japan the piledriver was sometimes just a cool move that you might kick out of and keep going.

Standing immediately up and showing no signs of injury to a Martinete (piledriver) in Mexico in the 1980s would be a major black hole in the plot of that universe, meanwhile, across the USA, the Road Warriors could do it, no problem, with the plausible-to-that-universe excuse: well, they’re like the most badass of badasses, though.

In “Is Ingender Wrestling Bad” I wrote about how in wrestling we tell stories that are greater than reality. I might even be pushed to say more real than reality.

I reached out to many people on the subject of intergender wrestling. I got a few replies after the article was already submitted. Here’s a little excerpt of what Mike Bailey had to say:

“An important part of Pro-Wrestling is storytelling, and part of being a good Pro-Wrestler is being able to tell a captivating, and logical story, in any given situation. In an artform where things like handicap matches, overwhelming size discrepancies between the performers, and farfetched match stipulations are the norm, it feels pretty ludicrous to me that the gender of an opponent would be where the line is drawn. On the contrary, setting such boundaries only hurts Pro-Wrestling as a whole by limiting what should be an infinite amount of opportunities to make art.”

Beautiful.

Bailey had a lot of other great points that pertain specifically to that article and although I didn’t get to use them I am glad I was able to bring a bit of his WrestleWisdom to this related subject.

Frequently, I get a version of this question that is posed as a statement of fact: in a real fight they’d be dead by now.

Maybe, but, if so: that’s yet another reason that real fights - and real fighters - are f***ing crusty bum sauce and incomparable to pro wrestling - and pro wrestlers!

We, as pro wrestlers, are f***ing superheroes and superheroines! Mythical, archetypal figures that tell more gangster than life stories where dudes named Hawk keep standing the f*** back up after getting dropped on their head and the hero, a just king, keeps on fighting him anyway! We got the ovaries to stand toe-to-toe with dudes that outweigh us by 100 pounds and make them respect our fighting spirit! We got the huevos to quebrada off of a balcony onto piles of people. We have the strength to slam giants, to raise from the dead, to drop our unjust bosses on that stack of dimes they call a neck, to fight off gangsters with a baseball bat without even having to talk to the police, to summon sea demons, to be a consistently-defending champion for seven years, eight months, and one day, to be World Champion athletes in our 50’s, and…

And that’s why we are professional wrestlers and not moist bowelette ass Real Fight-ers!

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