Category: Audience Theory

September 14, 2017 /

The ancient Greeks used a specific word–kairos– to mean roughly “the ability to choose the perfect moment to act.” They used it, for example, to describe the gift of knowing exactly when to loose an arrow in order to hit the target perfectly. Wrestling is a constant struggle to achieve kairos, because any wrestling promotion is basically an intricate ecosystem of interconnected parts: feuds and wrestlers and venues and dates. It’s like finding the right moment to…

August 30, 2017 /

It’s early summer, 2015, and WWE is coming to Japan in a couple of months. We have tickets for one of the two shows, and to my delight, Kevin Owens, NXT champion and newly arrived on the main roster, is on the card. In preparation, I have gone to the stationary store and bought nice paper, the kind with gold threads woven into it, and a new pen. I sit down and I put the…

August 2, 2017 /

Some of the very best moments in wrestling are about redemption. Redemption is Miss Elizabeth throwing herself into Randy Savage’s arms; it’s Shawn Michaels saying “I’m sorry, I love you” to Ric Flair; it’s Daniel Bryan holding those two titles aloft in New Orleans. It’s those fleeting moments where something is lifted out of doubt and darkness and held up as worthy, as valued, as clean and bright and true. Wrestling fans, we love a…

July 5, 2017 /

[Warning that there are gifs in here of Sami’s match with John Cena, which he fought with a legit injury.] My father was known for approaching life with teasing irony.  Nothing was as it seemed on the surface.  “Oh, these cupcakes are terrible, let me save you from them,” he would say while pretending to steal them away, to be thwarted by giggling shrieks of protest.  “Santa got lost this year, so there are no…

June 7, 2017 /

I am hating Kevin Owens. I know the grammar sounds wonky there, but believe me, it’s accurate.  It’s early 2015, I am in the passenger seat of a rental car driving down the Florida coast, and I am consciously, deliberately, and actively hating Kevin Owens. From the driver’s seat, Dan listens patiently as I list once more the new NXT champ’s offenses:  assault, title-stealing, repeated powerbombing, gloating, and generalized friendship failure are only the beginning…

May 10, 2017 /

I’m watching wrestling while hiding under the sheets so my parents won’t catch me. Clarification: I am a grown-ass human being of full adulthood, and I’m watching wrestling while hiding under the sheets so my parents won’t catch me. This is because I still haven’t figured out a way to explain to my parents that it’s terribly important I watch Sami Zayn defend his NXT title against Kevin Owens; that I have in fact flown…

April 13, 2017 /

“Everyone is looking at us.”   There are two thousand people settling into their seats in the Gifu gymnasium, nestled deep in the Japanese Alps.  Only two of them are not Japanese. “Everyone is not looking at us,” Dan says firmly as we try to find our seats.  It’s late 2015; this is only the fourth wrestling show we’ve ever attended, and all the others were WWE shows.  But we’ve decided to try a New…