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.
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.
Introduction: Hamlet Doesn't Blade: Professional Wrestling, Theatre, and Performance Broderick Chow, Eero Laine, Claire Warden Audience Ch1 The dissipation of "heat": changing role(s) of audience in professional wrestling in the U.S. Jon Ezell Ch2 Pops and promos: speech and silence in professional wrestling Claire Warden Ch3 Playful engagements: Wrestling with the attendant masses Stephen Di Benedetto Circulation Ch4 Stadium Sized Theatre: WWE and the World of Professional Wrestling Eero Laine Ch5 Wrestling's Not Real, It's Hyperreal: Professional Wrestling Video Games Nick Ware Lucha Ch6 Don't Leave Us in the Hands of Criminals: The Contested Cultural Politics of Lucha Libre Heather Levi Ch7 Wrestling With Burlesque, Burlesquing Lucha Libre Nina Hoechtl Gender 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 Carrie Dunn Queerness Ch10 Grappling and Ga(y)zing: Gender, Sexuality and Performance in the WWE debuts of Goldust and Marlena Janine Bradbury Ch11 `King of the ring, and queen of it too': the exotic masculinity of Adrian Street Stephen Greer Ch12 "Gold-dust": Ricki Starr's Ironic Performances of the Queer Commodity in Popular Entertainment Laura Katz Rizzo Bodies Ch13 Muscle Memory: Re-enacting the fin-de-siecle Strongman in Pro Wrestling Broderick D.V. Chow Ch14 The Hard Sell; The Performance of Pain in Professional Wrestling Jamie Lewis Hadley Race Ch15 "Tell Them It's What Their Grandfathers Got": Racial Violence in Southern Professional Wrestling Charles Hughes Ch16 Grappling with the "New Racism:" Race, Ethnicity, and Post-Colonialism in British Wrestling during the 1970s and 1980s Nicholas Porter Ch17 Some Moments of Flag Desecration in Professional Wrestling Morgan Daniels Epilogue: The Game of Life Sharon Mazer Bibliography Index