It is well known to most people that professional wrestling, as in the WWE and other such companies, is nothing more than a staged production for the viewing pleasure of the public, and that in reality the mortal enemies that we see fighting each other are actually a group of actors who probably get along very well. But is it that simple? Not according to researcher Ron Tamborini and associates. After carying out a study focused on the effect of "smack talk" on preadolescents and adolescents, the conclusion was reached that there is in fact a high corellation between the viewing of professional wrestling and the use of aggressive language amongst peers in that age group. Whats more shocking is this direct quote from Tamborini's findings "By far the most frequent reason for engaging in verbal aggression was amusement...", which, inconjunction with the finding that the most common type of language used was cursing and vulgarity, should send chills down every parent's spine.
Not only should we be worried that our own children watch this, but also that their pees watch too. It is not a stretch to say that these children may watch wrestling programs and not only emulate the speech that hear, but also the violent actions they observe. What if one child decides that he wants to "tombstone" or "pile-drive" your son or daughter one day? Scary thought huh? Sadly, this had happened before, in the case of Lionel Tate, who at twelve years old killed a six year old girl while immitating the wrestling moves he saw on TV. Now Tate's life is ruined, as he was sentenced to life in jail at the age of fourteen. Who's fault is this? A young boy's who just wanted to be like the "heroes" he saw on TV?
Wrestling used to be a wholesome sport in which rough housing was OK, but no one would cross the line into hateful violence. How can we allow our children to be exposed to such violent speech knowing that they will, most likely, go out into the world talking to others as though they were enemies? How can we risk the possibility that our children may turn into violent heathens as a result of the sometimes psychotic television programs that we allow them to watch? How can we sit another day as the findings of Tamborini and associates go ignored and the World Wrestling Entertainment continues to polute the minds of our children?
Tamborini, Ron, Rebecca M. Chory, Ken Lachlan, David Westerman, and Paul Skalski. "Talking smack: verbal aggression in professional wrestling.(Report)." Communication Studies 59.3 (July-Sept 2008): 242(17). Academic OneFile. Gale. University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.