Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Christian Wrestling?

Some of you probably remember my old joke about Christian music, "What do you call Christian music that's good? Music." Can the same be said for professional wrestling? As part of their quest to create their own inferior-but-less-tainted version of every regular consumer product and form of entertainment, evangelical Christians now have their own professional wrestling league. And according to this article from Salon, it's just as weird as you might expect.

Christian wrestling’s mission is to reach kids who don’t go to church but enjoy professional wrestling, so they will come to matches and meet Christ. Typically, at every wrestling show, 10% of the crowd will make a move to give their life to Christ.

Sounds like a game of holy-roller smoke-and-mirrors, delivered with a mighty piledriver, where fans can take in their vision of a lovable Jesus opening a big can of whoop-ass.

Checking out Christian wrestling videos on YouTube, it’s the ultimate battle of good vs. evil (in terms of the ongoing clash with Satan). Southern wrestling alone is weird. Throwing in the element of Jesus brings it to a whole new surreal level.

A girthy wrestler flies off the ropes and delivers a crushing Hangman’s Neckbreaker to his unfortunate opponent. THUD! Like a plague of locusts, or a fatal kiss from Judas, the champ then falls victim to the best finishing move in wrestling—the Guillotine. Adding insult to injury, the hero is handcuffed to the ropes by a pair of rogue thugs then stomped, chocked, and kicked. Clearly, this wrestler is getting crucified. Moments later it gets gravely serious.

“Hold on, we got a little more,” says announcer.

The hero points to the handcuff still locked around his wrist; “As I’m looking at this chain wrapped around my wrist, handcuffed, as I was handcuffed to this, I’m reminded of a message I want to share with you: the only purpose we are here is to serve God!”

Given the simplistic good-versus-evil storylines of regular professional wrestling, a Christian version isn't that much of a stretch. But the ham-handedness here is typical of many "Christian" products. Instead of making it clear that, say, one wrestler represents the side of Jesus and the other the side of the Devil (although the Archangel Michael and Lucifer might be more authentic) and then just having them wrestle, they can't keep themselves from engaging in superfluous evangelizing.

This is a problem with Christian music, too. It's not enough to write a song about dealing with some aspect of life from a Christian perspective; you have to make sure that every single song is about nothing but how cool and awesome Jesus is, full stop. In fact, one of the differences between the good Christian music that just gets called "music" is that it does address other aspects of life while remaining grounded in Christian principles.

Maybe the limited dramatic format of professional wrestling doesn't make its Christian principles very clear without a lot of earnest exposition, but it still seems pretty strange to me. It's kind of like a bait-and-switch - you show up for a wrestling match, but have to sit through a sermon.

Technorati Digg This Stumble Stumble

No comments: