The democratic stage? The relationship between the actor and the audience in professional wrestling
Using two major examples (2002 Wrestlemania XVII main event between The Rock and Hulk Hogan, and the 2004 Wrestlemania XX match up of Brock Lesnar and Bill Goldberg) this paper will argue that the wrestling arena is one of the most democratic and, indeed, potentially subversive forms of popular theatre. Both these events were directly and immediately influenced by their audiences, the performance narrative changing as the audience members interacted with the matches. Indeed, despite the obvious commodification of professional wrestling and its interpellation into capitalist economic systems, it presents an arena of exciting actor-audience interaction rarely seen on the theatrical stage. Concluding with a brief examination of the growth in theatrical-style starred rating from fans such as Dave Meltzer and Wade Keller, this paper will suggest that professional wrestling remains one of the most exciting twenty-first century examples of performance-based democracy.
Citation:Warden, C. (2014) The democratic stage? The relationship between the actor and the audience in professional wrestling. Revue de recherche en civilisation américaine, 4, 2013
Research Group:Performance Research Group
- School of Arts