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The Renaissance of Professional Wrestling

The WWE logo on a Black Background

With a combined attendance of 145,298 fans and over 660 million people watching over both nights, Wrestlemania XL showed that wrestling can be mainstream again and be successful at it by making it the most successful show in company history. Following a streak of sold-out weekly shows, WWE has shown that its renaissance in popularity seen over the last few months was not a “fluke” but instead a growing trend towards growth.

Let me start with the elephant in the room that people always need to talk about, yes wrestling is “fake” and the people who watch every week know it is. It’s the same as any other scripted media like films and theatre except in the world of Professional Wrestling the bad guy often wins, in fact, they usually win. This is what makes it more unpredictable and much more fun for people who can suspend that disbelief.

But like many others, I fell out of love with wrestling. For numerous reasons, the product had gotten stale, the booking was awful, and the storylines were drawn out and dull. Often set with no clear end goal in mind but a “we’ll figure it out later” approach of the previous leadership, Vince McMahon.

Two Professional Wrestlers squaring up against each other in the ring.

But that’s all changed within the past year or so, thanks in large part to Vince McMahon being removed from the company and therefore allowing Paul “Triple H” Levesque to take control of creative. Triple H took a different approach to creating a wrestling show and brand. He focussed on long-term storytelling, foreshadowing things to come in later plots, and most importantly to fans, not letting his ego get in the way and letting the talent pitch ideas to him to then implement whilst also not actively punishing people for getting popular with the fans when they weren’t supposed to.

With that, the overall quality of the shows started to noticeably increase. With WWE under Triple H’s creative control, the company started to see ratings and buys increase. An increase in social media presence on apps like TikTok and YouTube allowed a new audience to become aware of the stories and moments that only Professional Wrestling is capable of.

For example, the storyline involving The Bloodline is a multi-year story that has drawn on events from the past involving Roman Reigns and his family members. Or with Cody Rhodes and his return to WWE, with his struggle to win the one title that his father The American Dream Dusty Rhodes never got to hold. This was then all enhanced further when Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson decided to take a stake in WWE’s parent company and decided to get involved again with the wrestling scene. Even played a key role in the major storyline of Cody Rhodes vs The Bloodline at last weekend's show.

This all culminated in last weekend's big show, which has been the largest Wrestlemania to date breaking almost every single previously held company record for one event. This was my first Wrestlemania back watching the product and honestly, this was one of the best bits of television I’ve watched. Multiple multi-year storylines all culminated together into one bigger-than-reality event, wrestling’s Avengers: Endgame, which was enhanced further by returning legends that many would recognise such as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson but all this star power was matched with fantastic in-ring storytelling and highly skilled athletic manoeuvres. This event has been considered by many to be one of the greatest Professional Wrestling events of all time, only being rivalled by Wrestlemania X-7.

As the dust settles on Wrestlemania XL, it's clear that professional wrestling, under the innovative guidance of Paul "Triple H" Levesque, has entered a new golden age. This resurgence is not just about the record-breaking attendance or the millions glued to their screens; it's about a revitalised storytelling ethos that honours the legacy of wrestling while boldly steering it into the future. The success of WWE today, marked by intricate storylines and captivating characters, reflects a profound understanding of what fans crave: a blend of athletic prowess, narrative depth, and unexpected turns.

Wrestlemania XL wasn't just an event; it was a statement. A statement that professional wrestling has evolved beyond its perceived limitations, weaving the athleticism of sports and the drama of cinema into a unique experience that captivates audiences worldwide. As WWE continues to build on this momentum, the growth potential seems boundless. With a focus on long-term storytelling, embracing new media platforms, and fostering talent, the stage is set for an era where professional wrestling reclaims its spot not just as a niche entertainment form but as a mainstream spectacle.

In this renaissance, we are reminded that professional wrestling, at its core, is about the stories we see ourselves in – the struggles, the triumphs, and the unexpected twists of fate. As we look to the future, one thing is certain: the squared circle will continue to be a mirror to the human experience, reflecting our deepest desires for heroism, redemption, and the eternal battle between good and evil. The renaissance of professional wrestling is not just a revival; it's a reinvention, promising a future as bright and unpredictable as the storylines it weaves.


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