Professional Wrestling Is Primed for Another Major Breakthrough

Dustin Waters
Dustin Waters is a writer from Macon, Ga, currently living in D.C. After years as a beat reporter in the Lowcountry, he now focuses his time on historical oddities, trashy movies, and the merits of professional wrestling.

Professional wrestling could very well be on the way to its biggest cultural breakthrough in years. All the pieces seem to be moving in the right places. Let me explain.

With the rise of All Elite Wrestling, World Wrestling Entertainment found its first true challenger since buying out its primary competition in 2001. This was followed by creative decisions in WWE being passed down to Paul Levesque, better known by his ring name, Triple H. With these seismic shifts and a growing independent scene came a rise in quality that has led to a resurgence of the wrestling business. But here’s how professional wrestling reaches that next level of mainstream popularity. 

I would like to preface this by stating the clear and present fact that professional wrestling has had a significant impact on modern culture. This is true in ways that are both good and bad. But it is true. Something can be dumb and brilliant at the same time. It can be more than one thing. 

But in a contemporary context, professional wrestling has always been its most culturally relevant when it was brought up alongside other aspects of popular culture in a way that treated the one true sport with respect. For example, the ’80s wrestling boom that saw the rise of Hulk Hogan is known as the “Rock ‘n Wrestling Era” because of the cross promotion between the WWE (then WWF) and MTV stars such as Cyndi Lauper. 

Flash forward to today and we have a lot of interesting things converging in the world of entertainment. The Iron Claw, a film detailing the harrowing tragedies that befell wrestling royalty the Von Erichs, is receiving critical praise. But more importantly, the film’s stars are treating professional wrestling with the thoughtfulness it deserves.

It’s also worth noting that The Iron Claw features AEW World Champion MJF in a prominent role. The performances in The Iron Claw have drawn praise from some of wrestling’s greats. Will Ospreay was quick to shout out Zac Efron’s in-ring work as featured in the film’s trailers. 

So as I mentioned before, this can all be both dumb and brilliant. We have our grim biopic receiving critical praise. Now we need that full-on carny shit, which could lead to one of the biggest matches in recent history. 

Just over a week ego, internet mega-celebrity Logan Paul defeated wrestling legend Rey Mysterio for the WWE United States Championship. Paul is, of course, a natural heel. Yet wrestling fans have no choice but to reluctantly applaud his in-ring abilities. 

And I’m not even talking about his impressive moveset. As true wrestling fans know, the most important thing in professional wrestling is keeping your opponent safe. And Paul showed that in the ring by catching Mysterio mid-air and averting what could have been a career-ending injury.

And Paul hasn’t been the only celebrity to prove themselves in the ring lately. Recording artist Bad Bunny has been putting in some incredible work. While Benito may not have shown the in-ring acumen that Paul has on display, Bunny has what would once be described as an aura, but what we now know as rizz. Bunny is rizzed up, over, and out. 

And in professional wrestling, that can be the most important thing. Hell, the Rock got over with a stalling running elbow drop. 

So it’s only natural that Logan Paul would open the door to a potential in-ring feud with Bunny upon winning his title. It’s basically a license to print money. 

And while you might think it’s as simple as throwing two mega-celebrities in the ring and letting them go, I don’t think that’s what will happen. Combined, Paul and Bunny have participated in fewer than a dozen televised matches. And those were with professionals who know how to get the best out of their opponents. But here’s what I think could happen. 

After defeating Rey Mysterio, Paul appeared with his new title belt at a UFC event. There he displayed a very special message to Mysterios’ son, Dominik.

Despite a rough main roster debut under his dad, Dominik has risen to become WWE’s top heel after turning on his father. It only makes sense that Paul and Dominik could potentially team up against Rey and Bad Bunny.

By opting for a tag team competition, you ensure that some more seasoned professionals are in the ring to carry the match, meanwhile you can give fans the big pop when Paul and Bunny are allowed to square off together. Also, either Dominik or Rey could eat the pin because there is no way that Bunny or Paul are going to allow themselves to lose to the other. As always, professional wrestling remains a political battlefield. 

Between the commercial and critical attention set to be placed on professional wrestling, I’m curious to see how this will all play out. With the risk of success comes the risk of exposure. But hopefully in the meantime, everybody can make some good money, and we get some good matches out of it. That’s the business. That’s the one true sport. 

Related Posts

So, What IS In #USWNT Superstar Rose Lavelle’s Bag?

I know what you’re thinking: I CANNOT even consider continuing to exist on this planet without knowing what kind of shit All-World goddess Rose Lavelle stuffs into her duffle bag. I know. I know. Me too. Well, wonder no longer. The thing about ridiculous promotional spots like this one from Chipotle, is that they’re GREAT for the players of the…
Read More