I used to be on the highest of high horses when I saw that people would stay up all night to watch the Super Bowl. “Why would you spent your entire night watching a stop-start event where nothing really much happens?” I would smugly chuckle to myself.
“We’re British, why would we watch something so… American? Also, what’s the point of dressing up in jerseys and paint if you’re not going to the event anyway?” Ladies and gentleman, the irony is literally pouring out of me.
Yep, I was the biggest hypocrite in the entire multiverse as this time last year, I watched the entirety of WrestleMania 33, which started at around 10pm/11pm (British time) and ended at about 6am. I had become the person I had previously so nonchalantly mocked.
This year, WrestleMania 34 will be an estimated seven hours long, also including a two-hour pre-show. That is a long, long, time for a sporting event.
And by god, do you feel all of those seven hours.
Unless you’re naturally nocturnal, you’ve slept during the day, or want to experience the sensation of your losing sanity due to sleep deprivation, then it feels like a marathon to get through, which shouldn’t be the case when you want to enjoy a show.
We, as a fandom, are a strange bunch. We would actively plonk ourselves on a seat for several hours watching people beat each other up. Yet within these hours, sometimes we don’t even pay full attention to the spectacle of people risking their lives for our enjoyment.
Some matches we deem not fit enough to watch, so instead we get some snacks, get a drink, or relieve ourselves of bodily fluids.
This is not a knock on the wrestling culture itself, but rather that the Granddaddy of Shows, is beginning to actually feel like an old grandad. You love him dearly, but you feel like he can ramble on a tad too long and only sneaky glimpses down at your phone between his incoherent sentences can get you through.
Is this something we want from the most important show of the year? Do we want to feel sleepy during the middle of it, or feel like it is dragging way too long?
Often as an enjoyer of professional kind of wrestling, I feel like I am not up to bar if I can’t survive straight hours of wrestling, and that I am not a true fan if I don’t sit and watch all of it attentively.
At the same time, I feel extremely guilty for not “living in the moment” when watching wrestling live and not taking in the fact that, like everyone else, I am seeing this for the very first time and that we, as wrestling fans, are collectively invested in what’s happening.
These performers and athletes are putting their bodies on the line, their actions and performances deserve to be watched and enjoyed.
It’s easier to go to leave for the bathroom when Pitbull is singing “Greenlight” for the umpteenth time, but when you go during a match, you may feel like you are missing out on something good.
But there is so much staying up a body can take, crashing onto the mat via a top-rope hurricanrana may not be the same as being really tired at 3am, but sleep deprivation isn’t exactly pleasant experience either.
So does WrestleMania need to be cut down? I think so, no sporting event should ever be seven hours long. Will it? Nooooooooo.
There’s so much money, and investment, and sexy sponsorship deals with WrestleMania now that the suits may think that reducing the length means reducing the profit. Tis’ the capitalist times we live in.
On one hand it is good to for loads of guys to get a ‘WrestleMania moment’, but is it really worth it if it lasts several seconds in an already humongous card.
So to any fans of the Super Bowl, I am very sorry that I besmirched your event. I do not respect the fact it is called football and not something like throwball or American rugby, but I respect the fact that, like us wrestling fans, you stay up to the earliest hours to watch something you enjoy.
And to all the European wrestling fans out there, let’s all bunker down for another evening, night, and early morning romp of professional wrestling.
And enjoy work on Monday.