"I couldn’t be any more excited for the pandemic distraction which WrestleMania and it’s week of surrounding events will provide," says the author. Photo credit: Tanner Reil

This weekend I, among wrestling fans worldwide, will be tuning into “the showcase of the immortals,” WrestleMania 37.

I couldn’t be any more excited for the pandemic distraction which WrestleMania and it’s week of surrounding events will provide.

Saturday and Sunday’s event will be headlined by a triple threat Universal Championship match with Roman Reigns defending against Edge and Daniel Bryan, Bobby Lashley defending the WWE Championship against Drew McIntyre and Bianca Belair challenging Sasha Banks for the Smackdown Women’s Championship.

The two-night entertainment-extravaganza will be the first of it’s size since the pandemic with a live crowd in Tampa Bay.

Professional wrestling is everything to me – and I’ve heard every reason as to why I shouldn’t enjoy watching it so much. I’m reminded it’s fake, unrealistic for kids and not as good as it once was.

Wrestling is an art form combining athleticism and feats of strength with larger-than-life characters and storytelling. Since I was ten years old I’ve been enthralled with this art form, consuming as much as possible.

The WWE isn’t as mainstream as it was during the Monday night wars of the 1990s with World Championship Wrestling or the golden era of the 1980s.

However, the industry today has undergone an impressive transformation over the past decade.

Superstars have crossed over to Hollywood including Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson, John Cena, Batista and most recently Sasha Banks with her appearance as Koska Reeves in The Mandalorian.

The days of jacked big men dominating the industry has passed with smaller wrestlers like AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan rising to prominence.

Women’s wrestlers have risen beyond a lesser side-act or eye candy, to often outdoing their male counterparts in the ring thanks to the women’s revolution.

Alternatives to WWE’s more kid-oriented PG style of production have also risen in prominence, such as the 2019-launched All Elite Wrestling. AEW has become WWE’s biggest competition since buying out WCW.

WWE’s own developmental brand NXT has appealed to the more hardcore fans, providing an alternative to Raw and SmackDown.

Elsewhere, promotions including Impact Wrestling, New Japan Pro Wrestling, Ring Of Honor and the rekindled National Wrestling Alliance have surged in popularity.

Around the world, the independent wrestling scene thrives with local talent, such as Ottawa’s own Capital City Championship Combat.

In the past I’ve had the privilege of attending 2016’s WrestleMania 32 In Dallas, 2017’s WrestleMania 33 in Orlando, 2018’s WrestleMania 34 in New Orleans and 2019’s WrestleMania 35 in New York City.

Last year’s WrestleMania 36 was presented from WWE’s Performance Center training facility in Orlando without a crowd.

The event was headlined by Royal Rumble winner Drew McIntyre dethroning WWE Champion Brock Lesnar, Edge’s return from 2011 retirement due to a neck injury against Randy Orton and two cinematic style matches; featuring AJ Styles versus The Undertaker and John Cena taking on The Fiend Bray Wyatt.

So why not give wrestling a chance? It’s not real like the UFC, but fans like myself don’t claim it as such.

It’s an art form which I guarantee you will take something from.

I’ll give you three free matches to start with: Cody versus Darby Allin from AEW Fyter Fest 2019, Bayley challenging Sasha Banks for the NXT Women’s Championship at TakeOver Brooklyn 2015 and Kofi Kingston and Daniel Bryan’s WWE Championship clash at WrestleMania 35.