WRESTLING ISN’T JUST ON TELEVISION

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Joe Males | Courtesy Photo of AML Post 53

Most people outside significant metropolis communities think of wrestling as something in high school sports or on the tube. Funny thing is, that’s something the San Jacinto Valley doesn’t have to depend on. Not too long ago, Adam Ginsberg brought his West Coast Wrestling Company extravaganza to The Wheelhouse in Hemet. This happened during the pandemic and there was limited seating. Now he brings it back, this time in the big skating arena where more fans will be accommodated.

On Sunday, July 25, starting at 3:30 p.m. “A West Coast Summer” comes to the largest arena in the Valley. Ginsberg promises a bigger and more exciting exhibition of wrestling that is catching attention throughout the country. On the road to their 13th year of first-class wrestling in September, he has gathered a crew of first-class wrestlers. He says, “I am very proud to present a sport-based product that our audience can emotionally invest in.”

At their last event in June, they crowned a new champion in Ric Ellis. However, Ginsberg emphatically states that, “he didn’t win fair and square. His opponent, Brandon Gatson seeks revenge and plans to have it on July 25. To find out what happens, be there. It is not a televised event.

Why is wrestling so intriguing? It is considered one of the most emotion-packed forms of entertainment. How did it become the industry that it is? Those of us old enough to remember Gorgeous George know that it became a spectacle in the United States because of his antics in the ring more than just wrestling. George, like P. T. Barnum, was a showman. He entered the ring with curly hair, spraying perfume and doing other outlandish things which caused many to forget that he was wrestling. They came in droves and were more interested in his antics than his prowess as a wrestler.

There is still the spectacle of entertainment. Wrestling is probably the only activity in the world that is considered a sport and at the same time, a form of showmanship. It has been written and said that wrestling is a form of mass culture entertainment. It is geared toward a sizeable predictable audience.

Thousand of fans follow it as religiously as a Sunday afternoon at the ballpark. It exists for the showmanship, but its mass following pushes it as a sport.

There are two kinds of wrestling. Amateur and professional. They are as different as night and day. Most amateur wrestling starts in high school as a form of exercise and graduates into what is known as “professional wrestling,” which shows that hordes of fans pay to watch. It can draw a crowd of fans that equal a Las Vegas show.

I recently spoke to a retired wrestling promoter. He described the fans as armchair exercisers. I’m not sure I got the connection, but the enthusiasm is the same as at a live event. It encompasses a part of American culture whose attraction has never been explained in so many words, but it is part and parcel of the sports acumen. Sumo wrestling is probably the closest version to a sport, and yet that, too, is as much a part of show business as a Broadway production.

It is something that has attracted public interest as far back as the Ancient Egyptians and beyond. It is seen in non-human Great Apes. Cave paintings dating back to the Neolithic age of 7000 B.C. show naked men grappling in the presence of enormous crowds. Is it sport, theater, or spectacle? To those who dig deep, it is a science. When you attend the matches on July 25, perhaps you will have your own ideas about it. Just sayin’

rustystrait@gmail.com

DATE: July 25, 2021

TIME: 3:30 p.m.

PLACE: The Wheelhouse Skate Arena

ADDRESS: 2860 W. Florida Avenue, Hemet CA

Rusty Strait • Senior Reporter

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