Billy Zahn Essay

Portfolio for a Student/What Does Everybody Want

By Billy Zahn-English 306-Spring 1999

First Draft

What Does Everybody Want?

Many people believe watching professional wrestling is detrimental to society. The wrestlers themselves are hardly professional, creating an attitude among our youth that violence and fighting are not only acceptable, but these behaviors are expected. On the other hand, many people, such as myself, believe that professional wrestling is in every way a normal form of entertainment and those wrestlers are very professional, both in and out of the ring. I have a great amount of respect for the effort the wrestlers put forth, because I know that I could never physically or mentally come close to doing what they do. Having this great respect for wrestlers, my brother and I were thrilled when we were able to meet and have our picture taken with Al Snow, one of the more popular wrestlers in the business today.

From just looking at the picture, it is easy to see how many people would not even consider Al Snow to be a role model. Here is a grown man, with long dyed hair, wearing a fanny pack that has two young men in headlocks (not to mention the psychotic grin he has on his face). However, if one looks deeper into the picture, they would recognize that it was taken at an airport.

Wrestlers do an extensive amount of traveling; sometimes not even taking breaks to recover from injuries. In a documentary done on Bret Hart, entitled Hitman Heart: Wrestling with Shadows, Bret Hart stated after he cracking his sternum, he was back in the ring the next week, because he "needed the money." Wrestlers travel all year long doing two television shows and at least one house show (non-televised events), all in one week, usually in three different cities. It takes a lot of discipline and dedication to keep out of trouble while doing this much traveling.

Al Snow's "THINK IT'S SAFE? THINK AGAIN," tee shirt reflects an on-going debate between wrestling supporters and wrestling bashers. Many people believe wrestling is totally safe because the matches are predetermined. This statement is very far from the truth. Wrestling is probably one of the most dangerous sports in the world today. All one needs to do are talk to a man like Charles Austin, who is now paralyzed after breaking his neck in wrestling matches. If one is not convinced of the dangers of wrestling after talking with Austin, he could always interview Ted Dibiase, whose father, Iron Mike Dibiase, was killed in the ring during one of his matches. Yes, wrestling matches are determined before the matches take place, but this does not guarantee the wrestlers will be able to walk out of the ring without injury, or walk out of the ring at all.

Another sign of a good role model is being able to handle one's fame with class. Al Snow definitely did this when my brother and I met him. He was on his way to his hotel room and had a car waiting for him outside, but took time to have a conversation with us and then take a picture. Many "professional" athletes, such as basketball players, do not even take time to sign autographs for their fans. With the recent lockout, we were able to see what everything was about for basketball players and the owners, money. Neither side seemed to consider how the lockout would affect the fans of the sport, nor did they seem to care how they would be affected. Al Snow, however, realizes that without wrestling fans, there would not be a professional wrestling. Many people believe that professional basketball players are good role models, even though they do not care about other people. Yet Al Snow is not a good role model even if he treats his fans with respect, because he is a wrestler.

Whether or not people want to believe if wrestling is real or fake is an argument that will go on as long as wrestling is around. However, even if a person views wrestling as being fake, they must realize that this does not make wrestling detrimental to society, nor does it make professional wrestlers any less capable of being a role model. Many of the things we watch today are unreal. How many of us today, after seeing a Shakespearean play, come out of the theatre, disappointed because it was not real.