Defining The It Factor of Pro Wrestling Submitted by LoneLee on 10/03/2018 at 04:05 PM
How many times in your past have you heard a fan or big name from the past describe someone popular as just having ďIt?Ē Some indescribable aura about them that gravitates and magnetizes fans their way. A compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others. That, my readers, is the definition of charisma. It is something that canít be defined specifically because in all honesty, it takes many, many forms. Iíll try my best to break it down to a few.
The original idea for this topic stemmed from a recent episode of WHW with Tony Schiavone. Co-host Conrad Thompson brought up a valid point. To paraphrase, ďa lot of times you hear the case Ďa guy couldnít get over because he couldnít talk.í Although in direct contrast to that, itís ĎOh he got over without talking.í It canít be both ways, but it is!Ē It is without a doubt, the most contradicting realization in the business. It isnít a product created from of hours of scripted promos or tireless word-for-word rehearsals, rather it can be identified as a natural gift accentuated by the talent and recognized by fans.
Letís look at some of the greatest speakers first. There have been tons of great talkers in wrestling, without a doubt. What it boils down to is the uniqueness of subject matter that makes it stand above all else. The Rock wasnít a trained actor when he entered the world of wrestling but eventually came to be one of the highest paid men in Hollywood due to his legitimate ability to captivate on the stick. While The Rock spoke as a holier than thou figure, Dusty Rhodes appeared just as flamboyant but spoke to the common blue-collared man. Jake Roberts delivered his motives in a soft, guileless tone during a time full of screamers. The gift to rope in an audience and hang them onto every word. Side note* I see most of these same qualities today in Elias. He knows how to trigger a crowd, lets the moment soak in, quick witted on the fly, and doesnít feel forced in anything he does.
On the other side of the spectrum you have those that are best left without the need of a word. Just as an eccentric speaker, there are many variations to the silent superstars. It could be a high-octane entrance of a Goldberg or Warrior or a completely mute and stoic crow Sting. Less is more. Now weíre delving into the aura of mystery or mystique. The curiosity of the unknown leaves the fans clamoring for any tidbit of information. What happens when the mystique is gone? The character must evolve in order to maintain that charisma or else the fans stol wondering. Perhaps the shortest shelf life of all forms of charisma.
Letís not forget what can simply be described as having a swagger. Examples like Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, and Shinsuke Nakamura have all walked and behaved in a very confident or arrogant way but none which carry themselves similarly in the least bit. They have mannerisms, facials, and motions that make them unique. Thereís that word again.
Does that mean the key to charisma in wrestling being unique? The short answer is no. Undertaker recently sat down for an out of character interview and spoke about todayís generation of wrestlers. The foundation of charisma can be broken down by one quote from the dead man: "If you canít bring emotion out of your audience then youíre not going to have them for long.Ē Itís the interest of a secretive character that creates that enigma. Hanging on the every word of a fellow with a golden tongue like a passionate dictator. Or just as simply put as, itís seeing someone cooler than I and thinking ďhey, I want to be like him.Ē
Connection! Fans refused to turn against Becky Lynch and Daniel Bryan because we identify with the underdog. Only in wrestling can there be such a wide variety of appealing characters that connect with us on so many levels and evoke every emotion. Charisma can be what we identify with, or what we aspire to be. Itís what we want to see, who we want to boo. Itís the unknown. The intrigue created from mystery. Bottom line, our emotional connection and investment is what gives a character "It."
Who is the best example of having "It" in this day and age?