The Spectacle of Excess Posts

April 17, 2014 /

I know exactly when professional wrestling evolved into text for me. It was a late summer evening in the mid-nineties at a WWF house show in Indianapolis with one of my college professors, who was prepping a pop culture course called “Good and Evil in Professional Wrestling.” He saw wrestling for its literary goodness – a stadium spectacle rich in metaphor and conflict allegory, a coming together of archetypes rooted in the deeper traditions of…

April 14, 2014 /

Jeff Hardy’s T-shirt captured our attention over the past few weeks.  It was old, well laundered, sleeves cut off, with a picture of himself from his early days as a wrestler.  Why invoke the past, we wondered, as brother Matt Hardy surges forward in his new gimmick: “Matt Hardy Version One: Mattitute!”  Meanwhile Jeff sinks deeper into his body-painted, black-lit alternative gimmick, descending, as Mr. Devin Andrews noted, into an almost aboriginal aesthetic.  (Who knew…

April 14, 2014 /

The Daniel Bryan of 2014 is among the more nuanced characters in wrestling’s Stephanie era, an era in which so many winding threads of complexity have morphed the WWE’s metaphoric narrative from sideshow gladiator sport into finely tuned, formidable cable drama. In much of this wrestler’s early career he sported well-tended short hair and often a clean shave, but this current Daniel Bryan look is sloppy, with a scruffy beard and a mop of overgrown…