A Symbiotic Relationship

“You give what you give ’cause they make you.”

Here’s a chicken and the egg question: Which comes first, the energy from the crowd to the wrestler or the energy from the wrestler to the crowd?

Just about every wrestler has talked about the adrenaline they feel doing the live shows. How the crowd gives them energy and makes them want to perform to please them. Anyone in the wrestling business would tell you the fans make the business. This is true. But…who really makes who?

You have your wrestlers who seem to feed off the crowd’s energy. Edge, CM Punk, Chris Jericho. And you have your wrestlers who seem to be able to hold the crowds in the palm of their hands The Rock and The Undertaker, for example.

There’s this relationship between the fan and the wrestler that may be unique to any other sport or any other form of entertainment. Comedians or musicians are on stage with lights in their faces. They can’t see the crowd. And from what I’ve heard from athletes, they get into a zone while performing where everything around them becomes a dull roar…their focus so intense they don’t see or hear anything else.

When professional wrestlers are interviewed, they talk about needing, wanting to hear the crowd. The crowd is their gauge for how they’re doing as a performer.  Wrestlers get to interact with the fans in a very intense way from the moment they step down the ramp until they go back through the curtain.

Yet this relationship is vulnerable, if not personal, in some ways. We fans are giving all of our energy to a performer, or a performance…and in turn we are getting back a broken body, sometimes a shattered self-image because of humiliation (J.R…). Our wrestlers give us a part of themselves, and a very important part of themselves…their bodies…sometimes even their relationships with their own families…their love of themselves, even their life…to entertain us.

I don’t think that’s something many forms of entertainment can boast.  This symbiotic relationship is what makes wrestling so unique. “You give what you give ’cause they make you” are lyrics from the song “When You’re Young” by 3 Doors Down.  It was used in Edge’s retirement tribute and even though the song is edited, I feel it really gives one of the best descriptions of this relationship.

♪ You give what you give ’cause they make you. They want you to be what they make you. ♪

In this context it means the fans make the wrestler give all of themselves, and that we make the stars. Which we all know this is true. But, it’s also the energy and persona of these wrestlers that make us cheer, scream, mark out, and become emotionally invested in them as characters, their careers, their matches. We feed off of each other, and sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint what causes the other to give everything. Sometimes it’s a case of mutual causation.

A symbiotic relationship is a relationship between two entities which is mutually beneficial for the participants of the relationship.

We can’t live without each other. In order for one to exist the other as to be. It’s important to notice what’s not included in that.

Fuck gimmicks.

Fuck promotions.

Fuck backstage politics.

Fuck egos.

Wrestler. Fan. If you’re not doing it for this…you don’t belong here.

Wrestler. Fan.

At the end of the day, this is all that matters.

Not me. But this is all that matters.


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