Why professional wrestling is the prefect replacement for your Game of Thrones obsession
And there it goes. The second to last Game of Thrones season has been completed and now you’re stuck wondering what to do till it comes back in 2018. How unfortunate that no other show can match GoT’s frenetic pace of rotating characters, story lines and genres. Where can a Game of Thrones fan go to experience the same type of complex storytelling that this wonderful series provides?
Well…I have a suggestion for you. It’s going to sound weird at first but hear me out. Until it comes back, you should replace your Game of Throne obsession with… wrestling.
Now I know what you’re thinking so let me just get some frequently asked questions out the way.
Q1: Wrestling as in what Hulk Hogan and Dwayne Johnson used to do?
Yes. Wrestling as in sports entertainment.
Q2: Isn’t is fake?
I prefer the term scripted. Wrestling is a scripted television show using actors that portray ridiculous characters with anger management issues. You know what other TV shows follow that model? Game of Thrones. Breaking Bad. Arrested Development. It’s called good TV.
Q3: Aren’t you too old to be watching a show like that? I stopped watching wrestling when I was a kid.
No. I’m not too old to watch engaging TV with complex storytelling.
Q4: I thought only rednecks watched wrestling?
Yes they do and they found a way to get WWE Hall of Famer Donald Trump elected President of the United States. Maybe you could learn something by examining how the other half of America lives.
Now that you’ve asked all of you patronizing questions let’s talk about what makes both Game of Throne and professional wrestling great TV.
The top 3 TV shows of all time, according to Rolling Stone, are the Sopranos, The Wire and Breaking Bad. Each of these shows aren’t intriguing just because they just tell the story of a flawed, main character. They also work because of the engaging worlds they build around those main characters. These are shows that give you an intimate, all-encompassing looking into the rarely explored worlds of the New Jersey mafia, the Crystal Meth drug trade and the City of Baltimore, respectively. Within these worlds are dozens of characters for our protagonist to interact with; all with their own clear motivations and personalities.
Having a deep ensemble cast of unique characters is what makes TV enjoyable. Great TV shows literally build self-contained worlds where characters are constantly interacting and evolving with dozens of other characters that can lead to an infinite combination of story lines. Half the fun of TV shows today is guessing how these multiple story lines and characters are going to intersect and affect each other. The Simpsons have cranked out nearly 30 seasons of 20+ episodes because Springfield is now a town with over 100 uniquely defined characters that any one of the five main characters can interact with to tell a full story.
That’s what makes dramatic television. Creating a sandbox where characters are just a bunch of toys for the writers to mix, match and play with.
But the stories need to be engaging as well, and not many shows tell stories better than Game of Thrones and WWE. If you’re reading this, then you already know how much of a sandbox GoT is, but the same goes for WWE. Each and every week, the story lines of dozens of characters build on what happened the week before. All of the tropes that are key to good storytelling can be found in wrestling.
If you like the underdog story where the undersized fighter rises to the top by defying the odds and defeating a system that was set against him, look up the story of Daniel Bryant and the “Yes Movement.” What about the unstoppable team that suddenly disbanded when one of the members saw an opportunity for personal gain? Look up Seth Rollins betraying the other two members of the Shield in order to use the Authority to help him eventually win the WWE championship. Do you enjoy seeing two bitter enemies reluctantly join forces and end up becoming a greater force together? Experience the utter hilarity that came from Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Mick “Mankind” Foley teaming up to become the Rock and Sock Connection, one of the greatest tag teams of all time.
Lets go back to the characters again. You should also watch wrestling because you have characters in Game of Thrones that mimic current and former WWE wrestlers. On Game of Thrones, you have the Lannisters. They are super rich family that runs Westeros consisting of a megalomaniac father and his three children. This family has: a daughter that is just as ruthless as the father, an egotistical son, another son that’s a little person and a wife that no one ever talks about. This is in the exact same mold as the McMahon family, owners of WWE. Vince McMahon is the power hungry father, his daughter Stephanie basically runs the company’s operations, his son Shane’s entrance music is entitled “Here Comes the Money”, there’s a forgettable story about a character named Hornswoggle, a little person, who is Vince’s illegitimate son and finally Vince’s wife Linda, known by most of you as the head of the Trump Administration’s Small Business Association, is never mentioned on camera even though we all know she’s there behind the scenes.
In addition to the McMahons, here are some other Game of Thrones characters that are similar to WWE wrestlers:
Kal Drogo and Roman Reigns – They might literally be the same person. I’ve never seen them in the same room at the same time.
Daenerys Targaryen and Charlotte Flair – Both are blondes that have an unearned sense of entitlement because of their fathers (Aerys Targaryn and “The “Nature Boy” Ric Flair, respectively) but who can legit kick some ass when they need to.
Melisandre and The Undertaker – Both are mystical/magical red heads that are obsessed with death and fire. Also both are old as hell.
Wrestling and Reality
The final thing I want to cover is the WWE’s writer’s relationship with the audience. Each episode of WWE programming is the next round in an eternal game of cat-and-mouse with the WWE audience. They try to tell new, unique and compelling stories that the adult wrestling audience, like me, has never seen before. If we, the audience, like the stories, we’ll respond positively with audience cheers and chants like “This is awesome.” If it’s bad, we’ll respond with boos and chants like, “Bor-ing”. And let’s not get started on Twitter reactions and wrestling fan websites. Unlike other TV shows that are pre-taped or only run for a limited time, wrestling is as interactive with its audience as any show can be.
At the end of the day what sets the wrestling apart from any other TV show is its strange relationship with reality. Unlike Game of Thrones, WWE has to tell an engaging story 52 weeks a year while also dealing with any number of things that are going on in real life. How do you adjust the script when a performer gets injured or needs to leave to shoot a movie? What happens when the audience is booing a character they are supposed to be cheering? That’s what puts WWE over almost every other scripted show. Similar to Saturday Night Live, we know that each show represents and comments on what has happened in the previous week. And that’s why I’m an adult wrestling fan, because I’m as intrigued by the decisions behind the storytelling as much as I am the story itself.
People love Game of Thrones because of the complex storytelling and engaging characters that inhabit the world. Unfortunately, Games of Thrones won’t be back until next year and after that, it will be gone forever. Might as well replace it with a TV show that does everything you love about GoT and a bit more. Maybe we should start calling Game of Thrones, Westeros World Entertainment.