When Wrestling Is ‘Physical Theater,’ Fans See Skill In The Ring

When Wrestling Is ‘Physical Theater,’ Fans See Skill In The Ring

Enlarge this photo toggle caption Photo illustration by Claire Harbage/NPR and Paige Vickers for NPR Photo illustration by Claire Harbage/NPR and Paige Vickers for NPR

Jeff Melton can be an unabashed fan of professional wrestling.

Within Morning Edition’s exploration of how fandoms help form identity, our producers spent a nights amid the smoke cigarettes, strobes, spandex and screaming fans at a pro wrestling match with Melton, 40, and his friend Adrian Rohr, 42, who had traveled four time from Charlotte, N.C., to Atlanta.

For Melton, wrestling presents not only an escape from stress but also a way to connect – with other wrestling admirers like Rohr in addition to with the storylines in the ring. Right here, Melton, in his unique terms, shares how wrestling is a part of his existence since developing up as a Jehovah’s Witness.

This has been lightly edited for clarity.

Enlarge this photo toggle caption Claire Harbage/NPR Claire Harbage/NPR

I started watching as a kid about 6 years aged. The very first time I saw it on Television set, the first person who I remember is usually Chief Wahoo McDaniel, and he was a big, huge character who arrived with a huge Indian headdress, and that quickly caught my attention.

Enlarge this photo toggle caption Claire Harbage/NPR Claire Harbage/NPR

They were just losing their minds on the TV screen and that basically appealed to me.

Growing up seeing that a Jehovah’s Witness, that type of entertainment strictly wasn’t allowed. You head to school, you’re not permitted to partake in anything. I wasn’t in a position to do any sports activities, of lessons, they don’t have confidence in birthdays or holidays, so you always had to request to be excluded from the course when that products is going on.

I visited church four to five nights weekly, and also on a Sunday. But certainly if the parents needed to be out jogging errands or out paying expenses or something [and] you definitely had a chance to get to the TV, you definitely took a chance for it.

We grew up in an exceedingly blue-collar sort of family. It’s certainly escapism, whether you’re operating a crappy work or you are going to school and you’re having a bad trip to school. There’s certainly a lot of escapism into it.

If you’ve had a bad trip to work or a bad week at work you can get there and just have your entire stress out.

Folks are cheering and booing for everyone and saying points they probably wouldn’t state in front of their moms.

Enlarge this photo toggle caption Claire Harbage/NPR Claire Harbage/NPR

There’s lots of stories that go through pro wrestling but usually the favourite types that I had were not necessarily the good versus the evil but maybe the bossman versus the worker. Particularly when I were only available in to the workforce, if you are low- or medium-salary, you’re just frequently clocking in and clocking out – not necessarily ready to say what you need to say. There has been times I’ve wanted to punch my boss, however in real life you can’t do that. But if you see somebody carrying it out on Television set or in a live arena, that’s awesome if you ask me.

I have been pushed around a lot in life. Therefore that’s most likely why the storylines in wrestling appeal to me.

Vince Pearson is a maker at Morning Edition. Tyler Hill is usually a news assistant for Morning Edition.

Digital News maker Heidi Glenn adapted this storyline for the Web.

Read more on: http://www.npr.org