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The WWExperience

Articles

Articles

The WWExperience

Catherine Sinow

When most of the Cipher staff and another guy went to a WWE match

 

Tre: An introduction

My grandfather and great uncle were the first wrestling fans that I knew, followed by my uncles and older cousins. My aunts and mother were also familiar with it. I watched pro-wrestling with a line of family experience in my peripheral vision. As I started to grow up, my pro wrestling world expanded beyond the WWE. With this I have seen many different approaches and complexities of this product. People ask me why I still like pro-wrestling. They ask me whether I know its “fake” and ridiculous. The funny thing is that my response does not quite matter. I could tell people what is actually going on but they still will not understand until they put the time in. I’m not your casual wrestling fan. I analyze the performance of wrestling like I do dance and theater. I also keep in mind the business aspect of it. I do not solely blame wrestling for perpetuating stereotypes and controlling images about marginalized people and neither do I solely blame them for the sexism and hypermasculinity that lies deep in its construct. I know that these problems permeate more in reality. When society’s thoughts alter, so will the WWE product. Pro wrestling, WWE specifically, is very complicated, because it captures the traits of competition in sports, drama, comedy, and fiction while simultaneously playing with realism, human perception, and illusion. Pro wrestling is like western philosophy mixed with the circus. Do we stop watching movies, because they are “fake”? How about a really good fictional book? Do we want it to be real? How much of what we see in our own life is real? Don’t we have our script and performance to follow?

 

Nathan

Almost nothing makes sense at the WWE. Look at the ring. Someone is being kicked in the face. Or karate chopped in the throat. Or smacked across the breast. Look at the jumbotron. Cut to an image of three wrestlers riding a unicorn. Cut to a graphic of a wrestler somersaulting through outer space. Look by the stands. Several of those shimmying inflatable stick figures (the kind you might see at a chintzy car dealership) are billowing—way too fast. When you squint the right way, you can almost make out traces of crushed Adderall caked beneath their non-existent noses. More than three times, you will be startled by poorly timed fireworks.

As I understand it, the WWE is the offspring of a marriage between a folk wrestler and a package of pop rocks. It accounts for 60 percent of the U.S. market for body oil. Maybe more. It is apparently a great place for fathers to take their sons and sons to take their fathers. Also for girlfriends to take their boyfriends, husbands to take their wives and elderly bachelors to take their wispy white beards.

In the absence of a father, girlfriend, wife or beard to take, I go with the Cipher editorial staff and sit next to Trey Newman, our now-official WWE Correspondent. He is so seasoned in the world of WWE, that he can often recite a wrestler’s monologues in tandem with the wrestlers himself. He predicts the sequence of events in a match seconds before they happen. “This is called a hot tag,” he says, as a downed wrestler frantically crawls away from his glowering opponent. “Basically, he’s going to crawl to the side and tag his partner. Then those two”—the partner and the opponent— “are going to go crazy and beat each other up.” On cue, those two go crazy and beat each other up.

Over the course of the night we get to watch something like ten matches—I don’t keep track. In fact I don’t keep track of anything. I can’t. Even the more unsettling moments—see: the recurring “USA! USA!” chants levelled at nominally middle eastern villain Jinder Mahall—are so quickly overridden by strobe lights and confetti cannons that you don’t get a moment to process their significance. The WWE is numbing in its overstimulation.

Still, enough of the night makes its way into my notebook that I can reconstruct what happened.

We begin with a handful of matches between minor characters. A lot of people are thrown on the floor or punched in the stomach or kicked in the face. A lot of people are kicked in the face. For example, a big production is made of bringing a wrestler named Sammy Zayn to the stage. After several minutes of promotional videos and extravagant light shows, Zayn walks into the ring, squares up to his opponent, waits for him to charge, kicks him in the face, watches him twist to the floor, and walks out of the ring. The audience is floored.

Their fights are followed by several matches with female wrestlers. “It’s gonna be a cat fight,” an older man behind me says to no one in particular. But, in an egalitarian twist, the female wrestlers end up fighting exactly the same way the male fighters do. I almost well up when Sasha Banks punches Charlotte Flair in the face. It’s 2016—equality is upon us.

(Though later in the fight, an enraged Flair manages to pin Banks’s head against the bottom rope of the ring such that she is lying belly-up with her feet on the mat and her neck on the ropes. She kind of resembles the hypotenuse of a right triangle. Having positioned her like this, Banks begins to stomp on Flair’s breasts with the heel of her foot. This ends the fight, which is immediately followed by a word from the WWE’s sponsor: The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.)

The audience gets a brief intermission. Dazed, we all walk over to the concession stand. Over a hot-dog, two of my fellow editors wonder aloud if Irish wrestler “Seamus” chose his name due to an affinity for the poetry of Seamus Heaney. I am convinced they are the only people within 1000 yards considering this.

We return to our seats. Several more fights blend together until, finally, the main event begins—the Universal World Championship between Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins, two large, unremarkably American wrestlers. Rollins is the favored-son underdog. Owens is the villain. (By way of illustration, Owens spots a kid holding a sign supporting Rollins as he walks into the rink. He pauses, snatches the sign out of the kid’s hands and rips it to pieces. He throws the shreds to the ground, but saves a small scrap and eats it.)

Unsurprisingly, this fight follows the template of every single other fight we have seen: the two are evenly matched in the beginning, then the villain takes the lead and, just when all hope is next to lost, the hero claws his or her way back to victory.

In this case, Owens pulls some sort of dirty trick to knock Rollins to the ground. The crowd erupts in fury. With Rollins curled in a ball behind him, Owens bellows back at us, “Colorado Springs, I’m in a good mood so I’m going to disregard the fact that this place is a complete and utter dump.” The roar of the crowd grows louder. How dare he.

Naturally, Rollins slowly rises out of the fetal position and, in a matter of no more than a minute, has Owens pinned to the mat, then heading for the doors. God bless him, our glistening, rippling redeemer.

He motions for us to quite down and, immediately, we fall silent.

“Colorado Springs,” he begins, out of breath. We all edge to the ends of our seats.

“Colorado Springs!” he roars in a hoarse voice, still stooping over to take one final, painstaking moment to steady himself. We are all essentially salivating. The Coup de Grace.

“Colorado Springs. You’re alright.”

Not quite the affirmation we were looking for, but the lights flash and the music blares so we freak out anyway. Briefly, at least. But before long we’re all shuffling down the stairs and through the halls and out the door and into our cars and back to our lives.

 

Andrew presents: a lens on us

I scurry my way to the $20 upper-echelon folding seat a couple minutes into “the show,” allowing me ample observation of the crowd already assembled. From our vantage point, separated from the 400 square-foot canvas ring by a couple hundred normal feet of void – where a rink or court would normally extend – surrounded by 15 rows of folding chairs obtained for an extra $150, the crowd has grown static. Neither physically nor mentally, emotionally, sexually or spiritually, I see no movement. The 30 or so surrounding me sit frozen in their stupor, cubs accompanying these aloof adults. Whether they drug their parents in tow or were drugged themselves, I’m unsure. It took a couple minutes longer for my fellow showgoers to unthaw from the throes of whatever had thrown them into such apathy. The masters of ceremony step into the bright lights of the resplendent Broadmoor World Arena, rousing my comrades from their slumber as sporadic “yeah!”s are tossed out of humble section 214. I hear the ring of a bell signifying that the fight is underway and the awakening around me is complete.

Being my virgin attendance at a WWE event, I must say, I couldn’t help but be entertained. The elaborately choreographed dance had these warrior-men emphatically diving between each others legs time and again, springing off the ring to land on each other, fueled by whatever substance(s) is coursing through their veins. The organization takes extreme measures to ensure that their stereotypes are as consistent as possible. Jinder Mahal enters the arena to a typified Indian melody of a sitar but sped up with the addition of a drum kit. Boos abound, as fans around me snuggle up into their consoling, xenophobic cloak, comforted by the fact that everyone else around them wore the cloak too.

“Kick ‘em when he’s down!” a woman behind me growls when Jinder hits the mat, saliva flying over my head from her muzzle and settling onto the comb-over of some unsuspecting nativist below me. As these burly boys continue to grope each other in the ring, I wonder if this not-so subtle homoeroticism was evident to my idle compatriots. A man donning an American flag tank-top under a sleek leather vest with lamb-chop sideburns three rows down pounds his chest enthusiastically as Jinder limps out of this modern Coliseum.

When I am fortunate enough to doze off in the moments after one fight reaches its end, I’m pulled back down to this depraved reality with the amplified scream of names like “Braun Strowman!” or “Roman Reigns!” or “Sheamus!” Momentarily, I come back to my senses to think I’ve been dozing on some porno set, as names like these could easily be exchangeable with the stars of the adult film world. The delicate foreplay of the fights, as each pin took four, five, six counts to two before the final blow was dealt, is also reminiscent of some sexual play, but I sensed that this did a injustice to intercourse as there were undoubtedly more drugs, hate, and flying penises at play in the Broadmoor tonight.

I ruminate on what the childhoods of these superstars must have been like, the path most-traveled to becoming a WWE super-star. Likely, some of these fighters grew up watching the “sport,” judging by the amount of youngsters in the crowd today. What do they see here? What types of morals are formed when you grow up knowing the brown guys to be evil and violence to conquer all else? Ah, life, liberty, exceptionalism! Perhaps we do need to Make America Great Again. The excitement that that exceptionalism stokes is easily maintained, as each fight-night there is at least two universal (not national, or even global) championships on the line.

The brawls are not gender-restrictive and scantily-clad sequined-adorned women take the ring nearly as often as their male counterparts do. Sasha Banks enters to uproarious applause, sporting a golden bedazzled “BOSS” on her rear-end. She clashes with “Charlotte,” a similar fight to those preceding but marginally more dexterous.

Time and again a fighter would have their opponent by the hair, trapped in the corner of the ring, and start mock-socking the person as the crowd gleefully screamed a count of the punches landed. I turn around during one of these instances and realize that this is the real show of the evening. Enthusiasts swinging along with their favorite, shrieking out “One!” “Two!” “Three!” “Four!” “Five!” Lips curling into anger, popcorn spilled on their children, children cajoled into mimicry because their popcorn is spilled, hatred, fury, delusion. Teenagers snickering, grandparents chortling, all absorbed by the faux violence unfolding before them. Because this is funny.

Once again I turn back around to the show to see the fight is over and our zealous MC’s are announcing the upcoming “hell in a cell” event. “Lana,”—whose mother offered her “Catherine Joy Perry” but was spurned in favor of a hackneyed Russian character—enters the arena to a mixture of passionate cries and boos. She goes on a tirade outlining her trip from Moscow to Colorado Springs, which she laments is “such a pathetic little village.” At this, the crowd goes fucking bonkers. How dare this Russian swindler insult my village! Moreover, how dare she insult the US of A!!!!

“Fuck off, Lana!” a mother of two tosses towards the stage. Tightening the grip of nationalism around their shoulders, the crowd dives into an obvious response. “USA!” “USA!” USA!”

I can’t help but feel that the spectacle is a superbly masturbatory endeavor. Clear crowd-pleasers take the stage to be brought within seconds of a loss, only to heroically recover and force their “other” to submission and shameful departure from the mat. But hey, I hear it’s the future of sport in the land of the free!

 

- A jaded boy.

October, 2016

 

Anna Cain: on Bringing the pain

When I was seven, I stopped believing in the Tooth Fairy.

When I was eight, I stopped believing in the Easter Bunny.

When I was nine, I stopped believing in Santa Claus.

When I was ten, I stopped believing in God.

When I was eleven, I stopped believing in the WWE.

I’ll admit it. My brother and I shared a brief but intense WWE wrestling phase when we were kids. The two things I remember about that time: being unreasonably excited about a special pay-per-view match where the wrestlers get to hit each other with tables, and my brother re-enacting a favorite move by jumping out of a tree to knock his best friend off a trampoline, which got dangerous fast. Eventually the brother and I figured out that WWE fights were scripted, and that was the end of our interest. This was our mistake. Although the audience had plenty of kids in the 7-12 age range, there were far more adults than I’d expected. The WWE being scripted is not the end of the conversation, but where the conversation starts.

During the fights, I wondered whether WWE wrestling is a valid story-telling medium. In defense of the wrestling maniacs, I know the characters in my favorite book aren’t real, and I know my favorite TV drama is scripted, but that doesn’t diminish my enjoyment. Similarly, knowing that the WWE is “fake” doesn’t stop its fans from turning out. In fact, compared to other forms of fiction, the WWE creates a much stronger illusion of reality. If your favorite fictional character is in a book, the closest you can get to them is your own imagination. If your favorite fictional character is a WWE wrestler, they’ll take a selfie with you and autograph your t-shirt at a live show.

From my novice’s vantage point, it seemed that the wrestling matches were telling three stories. The first was so obvious even the Cipher staff could follow it: the choreography of each individual fight. This isn’t a disorganized flurry of fists. Each fight seems to follow a rough outline, with separate acts, plot twists and reversals. There was usually a point in the second act where the eventual victor lies broken on the floor of the ring, with the referee counting “1-2-3” to knockout. But right before the referee can end the match, the downed wrestler struggles to their feet, goes on the offensive again with dwindling reserves of strength and pulls out an unlikely victory. Everyone likes a comeback.

The second story is one crafted for the dedicated fans, one I could only catch scattered threads of. If the first story is the battle, the second story is the war. How does this individual fight fit into the larger story of this year’s narrative or this wrestler’s career? One fight might deepen an old rivalry, or fit into the arc of a disgraced wrestler’s comeback. I only caught onto this during the final fight, between Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins. The match ended controversially when one wrestler illegally hit the other with the announcer’s microphone. (I say “one wrestler” because I wasn’t actually sure which wrestler resorted to the illegal move, and I was too embarrassed to ask for clarification on such a basic plot point.) In the microcosm of the individual fight, this was the end of the match, but in the macrocosm of the larger story, this deepens the bad blood between Owens and Rollins and creates tension for the next time they meet. After Owens left the ring, Rollins delivered a Braveheart-esque battle speech, promising to settle the score with Owens during the no-rules, no-restrictions (and conveniently pay-per-view) upcoming “Hell in a Cell” event.

The final, third story is the deepest one. Over the course of the evening, I started to see the wrestling as a type of right-wing performance art acting out anxieties about diminishing American dominance. The WWE ranks were filled with numerous “foreign” wrestlers, from a Mexican luchador, to an Italian duo, to my personal favorite, Rusev, the evil Bulgarian. Rusev was accompanied by his ambiguously Eastern European manager, Lana, who was nearly crucified by the crowd after calling Colorado Springs “a pathetic little village.” It goes without say that the portrayals of different nationalities are one-dimensional and culturally insensitive, with stereotyped costumes.

Moral ambiguity was never much of an issue in the WWE. The evil or non-American wrestlers would announce their inherent badness by insulting Colorado Springs. In matches between two American wrestlers, the outcome isn’t assured, and the “good” player isn’t automatically going to win. Sometimes the fan favorite is defeated and the antagonist claims the belt. But if the match is between an American and “foreign” wrestler, the non-American is always defeated. Always. Even if the foreigner in question is merely Canadian, his defeat is assured. Sometimes the all-American wrestler is the victim of cheating and is brought close to defeat, but they always recover in time for a comeback.

The message isn’t exactly subtle. A muscle-bound, steroid-addled symbol of America uniformly crushes all other nationalities. As if there was any doubt as to which political platform this plays to, one wrestling duo even promised to “Make the WWE Great Again.” For the particular brand of poor, white anger Donald Trump appeals to, this larger story must have been appealing. America will sometimes struggle when foreign foes don’t fight fair, but America will always rise in the end and return to greatness.

For me, the most intriguing WWE stories will never be seen. In a book, fictional characters can’t resist the whims of the author, but in the WWE, the fictional characters have wills and egos of their own. What happens behind the scenes? How do Enzo Amore and Big Cass react when their producer tells them they will lose the Fatal 4-Way? Do the villains ever lust for the applause and push the writers for a redemption arc? What I find myself wondering about the most is whether the performers can fight the script. Rusev the Evil Bulgarian is fated to lose every match to the all-American champion, but he’s still 304 pounds of muscle. What happens when the performers turn against the writers and fight for an unscripted, unexpected victory? What happens when in the WWE, the fight turns real?      

 

Ethan Cutler: A Cynic Cheers

The lights dim. The crowd hollers as a video montage plays on a four-sided screen above a distant wrestling ring. The montage is mostly eagles flying over white people skipping through fields. Your author and his Cipher co-editors are seated toward the top of the stadium in the far left corner, spending money from the Colorado College Student Activities Fund to watch WWE live at the Broadmoor Arena.

I have no idea what to expect, but I expect something ridiculous. The starting song is some sort of mariachi, and I suspect I won’t be let down. A Mexican flag waves on the screen and a burly, glistening man walks out of a gap in three huge screens on the opposite side of the stadium. He pumps up the crowd for a while but the crowd isn’t really into it. Then, while vaguely Arabic music blasts, “Jinder Mahal” is introduced. An equally jacked and glistening but slightly darker guy walks through the screens. He’s wearing a black turban, undies, and little else. He’s immediately booed, which I assume was the intended response to an offensive stereotype. Your author is very serious at this point in the night. He’s planning to write an article about WWE as a base manifestation of misogyny and nationalism. Within five minutes, a few other characters have entered the ring and the first fight has begun.

In the first move that looked anything like violence, one guy flipped another over his own arm—the flippee actually just flings himself onto his back. But when he hits the ground, a metallic rattle resounds. The crowd releases a collective sympathetic groan. I’m surrounded by idiots, I think. But against all reason, I also groan under my breath. A counter move lands a fighter crumpled on the ground. A little voice in my head whispers from a faraway place: yeah, fuckin’ nail him. I look to my smirking co-editors. The voice fades.

The fighter on the ground is doing a poor job of pretending to be asleep while his opponent nails him to the floor and grins maniacally. The crowd begins to count up to ten. Oh god, don’t tell me he gets up at 9, I say to a co-editor. He gets up at 8. My heart is pounding, but I try to remain coolly detached. The winning move of the first fight is especially ridiculous, so I laugh and shake my head at the absurdity of it all. But the other voice, the cheering voice, is getting louder:

Whoa. This next guy has a rat tail. His highlight reel is nuts! Those eyes…they seem to say, “YOU’RE NEXT.”

95% chance someone fake-yanks on that guy’s stupid rat tail.

Oh man, I can’t believe Sin Gard grabbed that guy’s rat tail. That’s just dirty fighting. Oh, he’s climbing on the ropes of the ring. What is he doing—oh my god he’s gonna jump. Sin Gard is gonna front flip over Braun Strowman!

Oh, look everyone, a not-at-all orchestrated front flip. Yep. He never saw it coming.

Who’s this woman? Her name is Lana, and she has a beautiful eastern European accent. Bulgarian, maybe? Interesting. Oh wait, she’s not fighting. She’s just here to introduce “The Bulgarian.” No one seems to like him, so I don’t either. His opponent is American-seeming. His name is Roman Reigns. The crowd is cheering for Roman, who doesn’t seem Roman at all. Now the Bulgarian is demolishing Roman. Roman is going to have to make a Karate-Kid level comeback. Oh, look at that cocky snarl on the Bulgarian’s face. Screw the Bulgarian. Actually, screw the entire population of Bulgaria.

            What a pathetically transparent stage for American nationalism. What are we, children? This guy doesn’t even look Bulgarian. And the freakin woman’s attempt at a foreign accent was just sad and weird. I’m sure this Bulgarian guy will lose in the end. Yep—there he goes. Why’d they have to pick on Bulgaria? Have the Bulgarian people not suffered enough? What have they even done to America to earn our ire?

            Oh, a woman is coming on! It looks like they fight too. Cool. Holy shit, Sasha Banks is absolutely ripped. She has legit diamond-studded bedazzled rings on her fingers that spell LEGIT. Her opponent is Charlotte, who seems to be hated but revered. OK, here they go. Whoa—that is just as brutal as the dudes.

            I would whine about how scantily clad the women are, but almost all the men are in barely concealing underwear too.

            I think Charlotte might be able to crush my skull between her boobs. I’m terrified. And aroused.

            This feels like a low-budget action movie funded by the US military. The kicking and punching is like a glitchy video game in which the character motion is always a bit off. Kicks never quite land. One person punches the other and they’re both sent flying backwards. Eye-roll worthy, really.

            Wait, wait, no way. Charlotte just yanked on Sasha Banks’ waist-length purple hair. If only Sasha had put her hair in a bun! What was she thinking? Sasha Banks now lets out a howl I can hear from all the way over here. The crowd sympathizes and chants, “WE WANT SASHA. WE WANT SASHA.”

            This might actually be a distant cousin of Yoko Ono’s performance pieces in the Museum of Modern Art: Lots of screaming, I have no idea what’s going on, and, unbelievably, everyone seems to be enjoying themselves.

            OH MY GOD Sasha just jumped off the corner of the ring and slammed Charlotte to the ground while in mid-air. The crowd screams “Blank Statement!” and I scream, “OHHHH!”

            OK, so everyone shouted the name of the move before it even happened. That means people know it’s all staged. They know. What the hell is going on here?

            Oh I see, the crowd is in on some kind of complicated, decade-long WWE plot. They know the characters so well that they can predict their special moves. Pretty cool.

The plots of these WWE fights might actually be worse than porn plots. But I guess no one is watching either thing for the plot.

You know what, cynical voice, you’re nothing but a cold, dead computer. I’ve had enough of you. Why don’t you try actually believing in something for a change?

You’re an idiot, naïve voice. I’m not just going to convince myself of something I know is false.

Oh come on, cynical voice, you can suspend disbelief during a movie but you can’t do it for this? You think you’re better than this? You’re not. You still love superheroes but you can’t admit it because you think you’re supposed grow up and be dead inside. Well guess what—I’d destroy you in the ring.

            A whirlwind of fights carries me through the night. I lose track of the fighters’ names and I stop taking notes, lost in reverie and disbelief. The final battle is between Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens. I haven’t heard of either of them, though the crowd cheers them like they’re gods. They sling insults, eat fans’ signs, fight outside the ring, and even make attempts at dramatic monologues. I hardly blink through it all. Seth Rollins makes his last judgment of our city: “Colorado Springs…you’re alright.” In that moment, there is only one voice in my head, and it’s saying, “Holy shit. Seth Rollins just acknowledged that my city is alright. Seth freakin Rollins!”

 

Maddie: I Hate the WWE

Before watching the live WWE show at the Colorado Springs Broadmoor World Arena last week, I knew next to nothing about the organization. In my head, the WWE was a bunch of greased up, performative wrestlers that people with trucks covered in TRUMP PENCE 2016 stickers enjoyed. I was excited to go and watch, but also not really. I tried to get out of going, I had woken up with a fever and a cough and a hangover. Mostly a hangover. But the tickets had already been bought, and so I found myself sitting in the quarter-full World Arena Stadium at 7pm on a Sunday. It smelled, overwhelmingly, like hot dogs. In front of me, a man was eating two. He looked like a death-metal version of Uncle Sam (tall hat, Lincoln facial hair, tattoos and piercings). Next to me, was a father and son. This seemed to be some kind of theme—7-12-year-old boys and their father/uncle/step-father/grandfather/some kind of male figure who was overweight or tattooed or drove the aforementioned truck. The audience was almost as much of a show as the WWE performance.

 The crowd quieted as loud, awful music filled the arena. On the jumbotron screen flashed the WWE logo and then some of the wrestlers. The wrestlers also seemed to be (terrible) dancers, exotic and/or otherwise, and some could maybe be qualified as gymnasts. The first wrestler to come out to the ring was “Neville,” who was “famous” for doing intricate flips. His grand entrance consisted of bouncing around the ring and jumping on the ropes to address all sides of the arena. His opponent was “Jinder Mahal.” This is where things started to get, to use one of CC’s favorite words, “problematic.” Mahal was an Afghani “character,” and his outfit, appearance and theme music made this very, very clear. Right away, the crowd started loudly booing for Mahal. In the WWE, the non-American wrestler is always the bad guy. The crowd went from booing to screaming a USA chant, that would fade in and out for the rest of the show. Neville won the match against Mahal, who writhed on the floor as Neville paraded around the arena in celebration. After a couple minutes of Neville’s theme music, an interactive rock/rap song that required the audience to shout “Whatsup!?”, Mahal dragged himself off the floor and grabbed mic from the Ref, announcing that he was still the best wrestler and wanted another chance to fight. “Sammi Zlain” came out, the crowd cheered, and Zlain beat Mahal in approximately five seconds. Que USA chant.

The wrestlers increase in size as the show goes on. “Brown Strovman” is seven feet tall and over three hundred pounds—imagine a greasier Action Bronson. His opponent, Sincara, is not as large, but is wearing something reminiscent of Nacho Libre. The women’s wrestling championship consisted of two girls marching out to girly, Avril-Lavigne-esque music in blinged-out bikinis and high boots. Sasha Boss is the obvious crowd favorite. She wore her magenta hair loose and down to her hips. Her bikini featured the word “BOSS” on the ass. She bitch-slapped her opponent charlotte, and after some borderline-erotic wrestling, wins the match.

The only redeeming part of the night that I stayed around to watch was the brief interlude that focused on Breast Cancer awareness. The announcer singled out Emily Williams, a woman who had beaten Breast Cancer and was attending the show. It was her first WWE match, too. But, the moment was short, and soon “Lana,” marched out on stage with a microphone. She was blond, and in business “casual” attire—short red skirt, black bra and stilettos. She had a Russian accent and immediately earned boos from the crowd by saying “I wish I could say I was excited to see you [Colorado Springs] but you’re such a pathetic village.” I was disappointed in myself for agreeing with Lana. She announced the next fight, which was between Rusev (the Russian villain) and Roman Reigns, who received the USA chant and cheers.

I left after Roman Reigns beat Rusev and Lana stomped dramatically backstage. I leave behind the two overweight men in front of me who have yet to say a word to each other but undoubtedly know each other, who have been holding up their phones and videotaping the entire show. I have the unsettling realization that I do not know if they were videotaping it for themselves or planning on posting it on the internet. It really could go either way.