10:00-10:25: Very Nice, Very Vlogs: A study in how vlogging aids in developing wrestling characters and narratives

Gareth Davies

Since the mid to late 2010s, in-ring performances in wrestling have seen an increase in critical acclaim and quality. With so many talented bell-to-bell performers, the continued growth of social media platforms has enabled wrestlers to utilise avenues such as vlogs to distinguish themselves, by creating and building characters and driving narratives that feed into their physical performances. In this presentation, I will demonstrate how this is achieved by highlighting the cases of Zach Ryder and “Z! True Long Island Story”, The Dark Order and their appearances on “Being The Elite”, and Danhausen’s “Love That Danhausen”.

I argue that the use of social media can lead to new and interesting creative opportunities for professional wrestlers. This can also lead to increased exposure and popularity, and has already made an impact on the overall landscape of professional wrestling both positively and negatively. In the current climate, especially given the Covid-19 pandemic, it offers wrestlers an avenue to express themselves and build and develop characters that may not otherwise be available to them. However, as its use grows, so does the risk of oversaturation. And, in the case of individual performers, whether such a route is suitable for their career and character is debatable. There is, possibly, a broader argument to be made on whether these instances are an evolution of wrestling itself, and this presentation is a contribution to this debate.

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