THS: Between ageism and believability Submitted by The High Spot on 10/02/2018 at 09:56 AM
The average age of participants in Saturday's Super-Show Down featured match, (A name so unoriginal, they might as well have called it Wrestlemania...oh wait...) -- is 51.5 years old.
Triple H, Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker, and the Mayor of Knoxville, Tenn. will be involved in one of many matches "down under" in Australia this Saturday. These four are legends in this industry, and few would deny that, but what I want to discuss in this piece is the idea of ageism and believability in the WWE.
I never want to carry the thought of a performer being "too old" -- and in fact, Goldberg proved this idea wrong in 2016, not only looking in top physical condition at the age of 49, but winning PWI's Comeback Wrestler of the Year. Hell, Chris Jericho, at the age of 47, wrestled a physical match with one of the best wrestlers in the world in Kenny Omega earlier this year.
However, when does it become too much to believe?
Am I to believe that guys like The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels, wrestlers in their 50s, truly belong in a wrestling ring? As great as he is, we've seen The Undertaker become slower and slower throughout the years -- and who can blame him? He's in his 50s, and there's only so much you can do at that age. We've often seen wrestlers run past their ring expiration date: Ric Flair, Terry Funk, Jimmy Snuka and Mil Mascaras are all examples of industry legends that continued to wrestle into their 60s and 70s, when they probably shouldn't have.
What does it say for talents in their prime like Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, Rusev, and Kevin Owens when they're being booked below talents 20 years older than them?
Doesn't this do the exact opposite of suspend belief?
We all sort of subconsciously know that these four have no place in a ring at their age, but here they are...so it creates this fine line between ageism and believability that we haven't yet figured out how to tread. This sounds terrible, but a part of me will finish watching what should be a great match between Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair, or even The Miz versus Daniel Bryan, and as soon as I hear "Ohhh, Shawn -- I think I'm cute, I know I'm sexy" (As if this was still 1992) I'm going to immediately know that it's Grandpa's time to shine, and to not take what happens after what will likely be 20 minutes worth of entrances terribly seriously.
Perhaps these four will prove me wrong and I will eat my own words, but I can't help but wonder if in the age of global superstars like Kenny Omega, Cody Rhodes, and Austin Aries, that featuring four wrestlers well past their prime is truly best for business, both not just for believability, but also for their physical health, as well.