Performance and Professional Wrestling is the first edited volume to consider professional wrestling explicitly from the vantage point of theatre and performance studies. Moving beyond simply noting its performative qualities or reading it via other performance genres, this collection of essays offers a complete critical reassessment of the popular sport.
Topics such as the suspension of disbelief, simulation, silence and speech, physical culture, and the performance of pain within the squared circle are explored in relation to professional wrestling, with work by both scholars and practitioners grouped into seven short sections:
A significant re-reading of wrestling as a performing art, Performance and Professional Wrestling makes essential reading for scholars and students intrigued by this uniquely theatrical sport.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Hamlet Doesn’t Blade: Professional Wrestling, Theatre, and Performance
Broderick Chow, Eero Laine, Claire Warden
Ch1 The dissipation of "heat": changing role(s) of audience in professional wrestling in the U.S.
Ch2 Pops and promos: speech and silence in professional wrestling
Ch3 Playful engagements: Wrestling with the attendant masses
Stephen Di Benedetto
Ch4 Stadium Sized Theatre: WWE and the World of Professional Wrestling
Ch5 Wrestling’s Not Real, It’s Hyperreal: Professional Wrestling Video Games
Ch6 Don't Leave Us in the Hands of Criminals: The Contested Cultural Politics of Lucha Libre
Ch7 Wrestling With Burlesque, Burlesquing Lucha Libre
Ch8 The Impact of Women’s Pro Wrestling Performances on the Transformation of Gender
Keiko AIBA (Translated by Minata HARA）
Ch9 "Most women train with mostly men, so why not wrestle them?" The performance and experience of intergender professional wrestling in Britain
Ch10 Grappling and Ga(y)zing: Gender, Sexuality and Performance in the WWE debuts of Goldust and Marlena
Ch11 ‘King of the ring, and queen of it too’: the exotic masculinity of Adrian Street
Ch12 "Gold-dust": Ricki Starr’s Ironic Performances of the Queer Commodity in Popular Entertainment
Laura Katz Rizzo
Ch13 Muscle Memory: Re-enacting the fin-de-siècle Strongman in Pro Wrestling
Broderick D.V. Chow
Ch14 The Hard Sell; The Performance of Pain in Professional Wrestling
Jamie Lewis Hadley
Ch15 "Tell Them It’s What Their Grandfathers Got": Racial Violence in Southern Professional Wrestling
Ch16 Grappling with the "New Racism:" Race, Ethnicity, and Post-Colonialism in British Wrestling during the 1970s and 1980s
Ch17 Some Moments of Flag Desecration in Professional Wrestling
Epilogue: The Game of Life
Broderick Chow is a Lecturer in Theatre at Brunel University London, and an active performance practitioner.
Eero Laine is Visiting Assistant Professor of Theatre at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York.
Claire Warden is a Senior Lecturer in Drama at De Montfort University.