I went to my first WWE event on Saturday night in Cedar Rapids. The WWE Live Holiday Tour was in town. I'm very familiar with the product of course. I mean I grew up during the heyday of professional wrestling. Hulk Hogan. Andre the Giant. Randy the Macho Man Savage. The names of iconic wrestlers go on and on. I also understood that the product was, for the most part, staged. The winners already determined. Many of the moves, well for lack of a better word, fake. But what I took for granted was just how truly entertaining the WWE product really is.

I sat nearly ringside for Saturday night's events. I got an up-close view of many of the combatants. The first thing that was confirmed to me was while these wrestlers may be performers, they certainly are still athletes. They ran a complete range of sizes. From nearly seven feet tall to the diminutive five footers. But they were all agile in their own way, even the big guys. You could really tell who the true pros were. Their boot kicks were super close to the face. Their body slaps were convincing and loud. They really sold their performances.

Ryan Brainard
Ryan Brainard

The crowd was totally into each match. They cheered for the heroes and booed the villains. It was a formula that has worked for decades.

While I have no problem with the entertainment value of the WWE, I worry that many people may still think that what is happening in the ring is really wrestling. There were several people sitting near me that were concerned that Roman Reigns wasn't going to pull out his match in the end. Really? You really think he's going to lose? We live in the state of Iowa, where we know and understand what true wrestling greatness is all about.

So cheer on your favorite WWE stars all you want. It's great entertainment. Just don't call it a sport.

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