This match is scheduled for one fall.
November 5, 2009 11:57 AM   Subscribe

Spencer Baum's self-published first novel One Fall explores the world of professional wrestling through the eyes of an up-and-coming star, a taken-for-granted women's division wrestler, a head booker with no authority, and an internet fanboy, all trying to navigate the line between fiction and nonfiction. Baum is now releasing the novel one chapter at a time as a Creative Commons audiobook. The book closely parallels the Monday Night Wars, with sly references to infamous reality-blurring events like the Montreal Screwjob (the subject of an excellent National Film Board documentary you can now watch online) and Bash at the Beach 2000. (mild spoiler inside)

The last couple chapters of the book are a sort of recipe for fixing wrestling, with storylines that help develop young wrestlers into champions rather than letting keeping the old champions at the top, a work culture that eliminates backstage drama rather than rewarding it, and a women's division that's about more than breasts. At their best, independent promotions like Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, Chikara, and Ring of Honor are using those ideas to keep the sport alive.
posted by roll truck roll (3 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Not sure how this stayed under my radar; thanks for pointing it out. Great post.
posted by makabampow at 12:53 PM on November 5, 2009

As someone who took pains to insure that the linked Wikipedia article capitalized both words in "Montreal Screwjob", I hope I'm safe from accusations of snobbery when I take issue with the word "sport". Not because it offends the dignity of true sport, but because it fails to recognize the esthetic component of what Baum more accurately calls a "dramatic art".

For all practical purposes, it's ballet. People telling simplistic stories with their highly trained (and punishingly abused) bodies. Now you may personally derive more pleasure from an arabesque penchée than from a huracanrana. But one is just as much a performing art as the other.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:07 AM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

I wondered if my use of that word would raise eyebrows. Of course it's both a sport and art, and which word is used says more about the agenda of the person talking than about wrestling itself. I use the word "sport," because I sort of think wrestling is at its best when the athleticism is front-and-center. The comparison to ballet makes sense to me, but so do comparisons to figure skating and gymnastics.

My wife just looked over my shoulder and told me that ballet is a sport, so there.
posted by roll truck roll at 7:43 AM on November 6, 2009 [2 favorites]

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