Andre the Giant [Critical Reflections on a Graphic Novel, part one]

Research in comics studies has gone a great distance toward defining comics as a medium, not a genre.  Within the American context, comics as a medium was, for decades, conflated with comics as a genre, typically the superhero genre.  In some ways, the scholar of wrestling studies might see such conflation as similar to the … Continue reading Andre the Giant [Critical Reflections on a Graphic Novel, part one]

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Pro-Wrestling Slash

When I first got into professional wrestling -- way back in 2014! -- my first favorite wrestler was The Miz. I was watching WWE Main Event, which aired Wednesday nights on our Ion TV channel. This was before the WWE Network was launched, and before I had any access to higher level cable channels like … Continue reading Pro-Wrestling Slash

Deconstructing the Distinction between Marks and Smarks

by David Beard and John Heppen Fans of pro wrestling are typically divided into two groups, “marks” and “smarks.”  The fiction is that a fan is either a smark or a mark.  It's a little like "Santa Claus" -- either you believe or you don't.  We propose a third path.  We propose that there are marks, … Continue reading Deconstructing the Distinction between Marks and Smarks

Differentiating Regional Professional Wrestling from National Pro Wrestling: Some Observations

by David Beard with John Heppen Wrestling is an athletic performing art where the winners of the matches are prearranged.  Wrestlers  require athletic skill and physical training: be very careful in telling a pro wrestler that what he or she does is "fake."  It would be like telling Sir Ian McKellan that what he does … Continue reading Differentiating Regional Professional Wrestling from National Pro Wrestling: Some Observations

Reflections on Regional Professional Wrestling:  Gender at FortuneBaynia

by David Beard, Associate Professor of Rhetoric, University of Minnesota Duluth There was one women’s match at FortuneBaynia, a regional professional wrestling show held in Tower, Minnesota, July 29, 2018, about three hours north of Minneapolis.  That match demonstrated some of the limitations of women’s professional wrestling when it settles down into the regional circuits. … Continue reading Reflections on Regional Professional Wrestling:  Gender at FortuneBaynia

Reflections on Regional Professional Wrestling:  Nostalgia Marketing at FortuneBaynia

by David Beard, Associate Professor of Rhetoric, University of Minnesota Duluth Nostalgia is a powerful dimension of brand management, and FortuneBaynia, a regional professional wrestling show held in Tower, Minnesota, July 29, 2018, about three hours north of Minneapolis and most of the way to the Canadian border, demonstrates this power. On the surface, the … Continue reading Reflections on Regional Professional Wrestling:  Nostalgia Marketing at FortuneBaynia

WrestleMania 34 Rhetorical Recap: Golden Spotlights, Crimson Masks, and the (Unconscious) Race Politics of Smarks

Throughout the year, the Professional Wrestling Studies Association has offered a range of event coverage for WWE Pay Per Views as well as a host of vintage and indie shows and performers. Our goal is to cultivate an exclusive space for creative and scholarly writing, from close readings and fan perspectives. WrestleMania 34 offers the … Continue reading WrestleMania 34 Rhetorical Recap: Golden Spotlights, Crimson Masks, and the (Unconscious) Race Politics of Smarks

CFP: Professional Wrestling: Politics and Populism

Professional Wrestling: Politics and Populism Call for book chapter proposals Deadline for abstracts (250 words): 15 March 2018 Contact: Sharon Mazer (smazer@aut.ac.nz) Provoked by the disruptive performances of Donald Trump as candidate and president, and mindful of his longstanding ties to the WWE, this edited book will look at the infusion of professional wrestling’s worldview … Continue reading CFP: Professional Wrestling: Politics and Populism

A League of One’s Own: South East Women Wrestlers

South East Women Wrestlers (hereafter SEWW) are an artist collective in Athens, GA consisting of female and female-identified performers who seek to subvert patriarchy and the male gaze through spectacle and role play. Started in Summer 2017, SEWW has produced performance events -- such as SumHERslam, Fall BRAwl, and HalloKWEENhavoc -- as well an exhibit at the … Continue reading A League of One’s Own: South East Women Wrestlers

Interacting with AAW Heels

In this blog post, I explore the question: How much of the heel's identity and success is dependent on the wrestler's performance, and how much on the audience's (re)actions? This question relates to the work I am doing on the co-constructon of kayfabe through the moment-to-moment interactions between wrestlers and fans. For this particular blog … Continue reading Interacting with AAW Heels