Dying to Entertain? Victimization of Professional Wrestlers USA

Dying to Entertain? The Victimization of Professional Wrestlers in the USA

Karen Corteen, Department of Social Studies and Counseling, University of Chester, United Kingdom

Ajay Corteen, Researcher and Fan of Professional Wrestling

Abstract

Professional wrestling in the USA, and elsewhere, is a profitable industry in which the commodification of professional wrestlers can be evidenced. Being neither a pure sport nor pure entertainment, professional wrestling occupies an ambiguous position, which arguably, at best, facilitates the mystification and neglect of the harm and victimization caused to professional wrestlers as part of their craft, or at worst, causes the victimization of professional wrestlers. In this article we discuss the victimization of professional wrestlers in the USA as a result of the demands of the industry. It is our contention that they constitute the “Victimological Other” and, focusing on the wrestling business in the USA, it documents their unnecessary victimization. We maintain that whilst professional wrestlers engage in performative violence, they pay a high price for such a performance and, as such, they are victims of their craft and of the industry in which it is located. The self-inflicted and occupational-related harm and victimization experienced by professional wrestlers as a result of the pressure of this industry is discussed and the issue of accountability is raised. We conclude that this area of victimization requires further academic investigation and discussion.

e-journal: Vol 7, No 1 / October 2012     •     See Terms and Conditions for educational use.

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