Wrestling with your conscience.
January 6, 2005 3:10 AM   Subscribe

Bringing the smackdown to church. Saving souls through simulated violence. Ultimate Christian Wrestling.
posted by biffa (32 comments total)
had a vision that I could combine two of my passions, Professional Wrestling and Evangelism.

Hoo, boy.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 3:15 AM on January 6, 2005

I realize this is just your good old fashioned, Portal of Evil style laugh-at-the-yokel post that doesn't need to be analyzed, but believe it or not, this is actually not only a common combination, but a successful one. Former big-time wrestler Ted Dibiase draws substantial crowds and raises serious money with his evangelical wrestling shows, in which the villains learn that fighting doesn't solve anything and everything ends with a sermon.
posted by Simon! at 4:45 AM on January 6, 2005


While I think your point is valid and well put, I still think it's a farce. Christians seem to be willing to package and market anything for capital the lord and the problem is, cynicism follows quickly.

I've said it before about the mainstream Christian Protestant religion (and I could probably be corrected here since I've not been totally exposed to what I referencing to):

there is no "Vacation Buddha School"
You never see "Koshertails"
There is no movie about a religious superhero saving the day starring an 80's actor called "Q'ran Man"

Yet Christians (mostly right wing fundies) seem to have to have all these gimmicks (VBS, Veggietales, Bible Man) to sell Christ. In my opinion ,It waters it down tremendously. I mean honestly, if one believes that Jesus was/is the Christ...then wouldn't one take it just a little more serious (than Christian wrasslin')?

Why not instead of "we need to reach the kids and we are gonna do it through Gangsta Christian Rap" or something ridiculous like that, try "reaching kids" by setting an example through Jesus teachings (if that's your bag). You know, those teachings like "Love one another," "love your enemies," "be meek," "be humble," "be a peacemaker," "love your enemies," "turn the other cheek."

In my opinion, Jesus does not need "Wrasslin' Paul" vs "Demon Man" WWF to send that point home. In fact, that's probably why Jesus is so made fun of now-a-days (I think the most harsh mockery I've seen yet is a penis in front of Jesus mouth and it says "Jesus loves teh cock").

I see so many Christians undergo a self-brought on "persecution" when they tell their pagan friends "you said a dirty word...and christ is gonna kill you" or the ever-so-popular "god hates fags" or even better, that S.O.B. that wouldn't take down the 10 Commandements in Montgomery, Al. <--how powerful of a ministry he had if he'd been humble enough to smash that big alter he made unto himself, sold it on ebay and then gave the money to starving/poverty stricken families in Montgomery. But instead, he had to keep pushing and pushing to show his point of how th' gov'mnt was infringing on his religious beliefs.

So instead of sweaty evangelical wrasslin' used as a vehicle to minister to the world why not have those people do something worthwhile with their money. You know like, give to the poor, support missions, give to Sri Lanka. Let the Christian Spandex Man go wrassle some folks in a bar...and possible lead an example of Christ there if he feels so behooved to do so.

Personally, I think it's better to be a Wrasslin Man who chooses to believe in a particular form of religion and follows it than to have a religious wrasslin' man.
posted by Hands of Manos at 5:44 AM on January 6, 2005

Didn't Jacob wrestle with an angel?

It's been a long while since Sunday school for me...
posted by bardic at 6:10 AM on January 6, 2005

Except that these people believe that introducing Jesus to the masses and witnessing are just as important and helpful as sending cash to Sri Lanka. If not more so. That's pretty much the definition of 'evangelical'. Hence all the wacky ways of trying to sneak a little Jesus into pop culture. These guys are cleaning up after every show and thinking to themselves, "I saved a soul from eternal torment today."

They're just trying to use their passion for being sweaty and spandex-clad to make the world a better place. I mean, you don't have to agree that they're succeeding in any way, but that's religion for you.


There is no movie about a religious superhero saving the day starring an 80's actor called "Q'ran Man"

You, my friend, need to be introduced to the magic that is Bollywood :D
posted by Simon! at 6:18 AM on January 6, 2005

Just to be a bit contrary here, what if some of these people simply believe that their faith has a place in every aspect of their lives. So if they watch a movie, they would prefer one that incorporates their faith; if they share a television program with their children, they would prefer one that incorporates their faith; and so on. Converts to other religions often do change the way they consume pop culture (for an extreme example, consider Cat Stephen's rejection of his own music at first).

Every piece of popular entertainment has its own cultural bias and message. Is it so wrong for someone to want their cultural bias reflected in the media they choose to support?
posted by Karmakaze at 6:38 AM on January 6, 2005

Hands of Manos is on to something big. A lot of evangelical Christians treat Jesus like a product to be moved, and adopt marketing styles similar to products-- wrestling sponsored by Jesus instead of wrestling sponsored by, say, Kellogg's.

Then they get mad when no one has any more respect for Jesus than they do for cornflakes or the Garden Weasel.
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:56 AM on January 6, 2005

When I was in high school, The Power Team gave a performance at an assembly. It was, um, well, you can see.
posted by genevieve at 6:56 AM on January 6, 2005

I had this image of a giant Garden Weasel, nailed up above an altar while a priest led the invocation...

Seriously, how well does this reinforce the "turn the other cheek" philosophy of the New Testament?
posted by FormlessOne at 7:10 AM on January 6, 2005

Amen, Hands of Manos.
posted by caddis at 7:26 AM on January 6, 2005

One good charade deserves another.
posted by fungible at 7:38 AM on January 6, 2005

Hands of Manos, I like you. Not that that should mean anything to anybody, except to me, and maybe to you (a little).

On topic, if Christianity and culture are interesting topics to people reading this, Andy Crouch has some great commentary. Not about wrestling, though.

Spell Check, by the way, wants you to be "Hands of Mangos"
posted by Alt F4 at 7:38 AM on January 6, 2005

Mostly, it's commerce disguised as Christianity. Ever since Jesus threw the moneychangers out the Temple, Christians have been trying to sell God in the marketplace, it just gets more and more crass. It's probably time for another divine intervention as the minions have lost their way again.
posted by psmealey at 7:49 AM on January 6, 2005

Ever since Jesus threw the moneychangers out the Temple, Christians have been trying to sell God in the marketplace, it just gets more and more crass.

Well, they weren't really Christians.
posted by Alt F4 at 7:52 AM on January 6, 2005

didn't say they were.
posted by psmealey at 8:08 AM on January 6, 2005

i can't believe nobody's said this already:

pro wrestling makes the baby Jesus cry.
posted by mcstayinskool at 8:24 AM on January 6, 2005

I suppose you don't even like Pentecostal Ska?!

genevieve: I have actually seen THE POWER TEAM also. Had they been 90lbs. guys breaking/bending assorted objects, then I would have converted right then and there. As it was, I just assumed God wanted me to do steroids.
posted by theFlyingSquirrel at 8:30 AM on January 6, 2005

There is no movie about a religious superhero saving the day starring an 80's actor called "Q'ran Man"

No, but there is a series of comic books called SHALOMAN.

Volume three features such titles as "The Matzoh Chronicles" and "Shofar, So Good."
posted by mothershock at 9:09 AM on January 6, 2005

bardic, Jacob did do some wrasslin' with a demon in a river. Consequently, his name was changed to Israel, a name that translates to "Strugglers with God", which I guess could also mean "Wrasslers with God."
posted by manicroom at 9:53 AM on January 6, 2005

When I was in middle school The Power Team was called Strike Force.

It, um, changed my life.
posted by squidlarkin at 10:00 AM on January 6, 2005

The Power Team? Holy shit. I totally forgot about those guys. We used to drop acid and watch them. They were the shit!
posted by fungible at 10:18 AM on January 6, 2005

As someone who is friends with a great many Christians, I think Karmakaze is closest to the truth when saying:

Just to be a bit contrary here, what if some of these people simply believe that their faith has a place in every aspect of their lives. So if they watch a movie, they would prefer one that incorporates their faith

I know one dear lady who doesn't stop praying all day long. She doesn't make a big deal about it, but as soon she opens her eyes in the morning, she begins her prayer (in her head-- she never disturbs anybody) and doesn't end her prayer until she goes to sleep. Everything in her life is related to God and Jesus. If she was the sort who watched wrestling, I am sure she would be tickled to have Christian Wrestling. It would seem natural and righteous to her.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 11:04 AM on January 6, 2005

There's a new Mike Judge movie coming out this year, in August, I think. It's about some future society where everyone is even stupider than they are now or something. I worked as an extra on the set one day, and they were filming a "church" scene, where Jesus was having a wrestling match with Satan. Just sayin'.
posted by majcher at 11:26 AM on January 6, 2005

Yes, yes, yes, Simon, that's exactly what this reminds me of.

Has anyone seen the televised Ramayana from the eighties, or, for that matter, the infinite spinoffs that came from it afterwars or, for that matter, the big lighting-Ravan-on-fire deal every Divali?

I suppose this is just religious sensibility growing "strong" enough to encompass, well, wrestling.

Also, this made me think my head would explode for a second.
posted by goodglovin77 at 11:48 AM on January 6, 2005

What Hands of Manos said. It's kind of sad that Christ is basically a marketing tool now-a-days. What's religion without churches with gift shop, official jubilee 2000 shot glasses (I own one), mega movies grossing 300+ million and now smack downs for Christ? I used to asked why more of the "faithful" where not outraged. I'm convinced that the "faithful" are not in fact faithful at all. They seem more concerned with branding their religion like soda and building their numbers the than living by the tenants of Christ. To most Christians on the right-wing it's like their faith is a campaign slogan, and that's it.

UCW is carrying out the Great Commission of our Lord

WWJD? I'd say an off the ropes slam of the wicked.
posted by Bag Man at 12:06 PM on January 6, 2005

There was an article on NPR not too long ago where a Lutheran pastor was talking about how America has become much more evangelical and much less religious.

I tend to agree with that.
posted by Hands of Manos at 12:23 PM on January 6, 2005

Jesus has left the ring. He looks disgusted. But what's this? He's found the park bench. He's picking it up and climbing back into the ring. Satan's too busy making time with Mistress Stephanie - he can't see it coming. OWW! Man, that's gotta hurt. He's down quicker that Shaloman's short shorts after a bad kebab.
posted by Sparx at 12:53 PM on January 6, 2005

I hate sounding shallow when y'all are having insightful conversations about the nature of faith and commercialism and what not but only two things came to mind ...

1) A wrestling league where every link on their menu is prefixed with "Ultimate" really needs to get Jim Hellwig on board.
2) DAMN! A wrestler called Rob Adonis should not look like that. Unless he's related to Adrian, of course.
posted by kaemaril at 12:57 PM on January 6, 2005

"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth."
- someone
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 6:19 PM on January 6, 2005

Semi-on topic (as far as the commercialization of Christianity goes, that is): there's a great weblog called They Will Know Us By Our T-Shirts that addresses much of the silliness inherent in Christian retail.

A couple brief quotes:
A woman recently asked me if we had any “Christian knock-offs” of the Lance Armstrong Live Strong bracelets. When I informed her we did not, she said, “That’s funny, we [Christians] usually have some cheap knock-off on the streets in a matter of weeks. I wonder what’s taking so long?
Nothing says “Christmas cheer” quite like stuffed snowmen…. My favorite is the one with “Jesus Warms My Heart” tattooed on its bell. […] Stop to think about that from the perspective of a snowman. If Jesus truly warms your heart, then any decision of faith turns into a matter of life or death. The warming of a snowman’s heart brings about his inevitable melting. Accepting Jesus will kill him. This is worse than Frosty the Snowman having to go into the greenhouse.
FYI: Jesus has a new album. I’m kidding, but our computer database does list the artist for this album as “Jesus.” […] On a whim, I decided to take our computer database at face value. What if Jesus really had recorded an album? Here is an excerpt from an interview that would have appeared in [insert your favorite music publication]….
Quite a bit of good stuff in there. The author's just left his retail job, but I expect there's still more choice tidbits coming down the pipe.
posted by djwudi at 8:13 PM on January 6, 2005

Spell Check, by the way, wants you to be "Hands of Mangos"

He's gonna be a genius anyway.
posted by kindall at 8:35 PM on January 6, 2005

djwudi - that phrase, "They Will Know Us By Our T-Shirts" is itself a knockoff of a Justin McRoberts (an independent Christian musician) t-shirt, which reads "They will know we are Christians by our t-shirts" - which is closer to the original Bible passage, and which I think is slightly wittier / more punchy. Not a critique of your post (or the blog you linked to) at all. I just wanted to note that, like that blog, some Christian artists artists that are Christian are aware of the issues, and have no problem poking fun at the Christian subculture.

Thanks for that link, though. I'll be visiting that one.
posted by Alt F4 at 7:45 AM on January 7, 2005

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