Current Issue: Volume 2, Issue 1 (2021)

Front Matter

"Front Matter." Professional Wrestling Studies Journal, vol. 2, no. 1, 2021, pp. i-vi.

Front cover and front matter: editorial board, table of contents, editor's note

"Samoan Submission Machines: Grappling with Representations of Samoan Identity in Professional Wrestling" by Theo Plothe

Plothe, Theo. "Samoan Submission Machines: Grappling with Representations of Samoan Identity in Professional Wrestling." Professional Wrestling Studies Journal, vol. 2, no. 1, 2021, pp. 1-24. 

Amongst the myriad of characters to step foot in the squared circle, perhaps no ethnic group has been as celebrated or marginalized as the Samoans who have made their names in professional wrestling. The discussion of Samoan identity in the context of sport has examined Maori identity and masculinity in New Zealand, among other topics, but there has yet to be work which considers Samoans within professional wrestling. This research investigates Samoan identity through a content analysis of televised wrestling matches. This research identifies six primary stereotypes under which Samoan identity is portrayed. These portrayals of Samoan characters, I argue, flatten the representation of this ethnic group within wrestling and culture at large.

Keywords: Samoans, identity, representation, gimmicks

"Facing the Heels: Fannish Producers Constructing an Alternative 'Shoot' History of Professional Wrestling through New Media" by S.M. Walus and Connor D. Wilcox

Walus, S.M., and Connor D. Wilcox. "Facing the Heels: Fannish Producers Constructing an Alternative 'Shoot' History of Professional Wrestling through New Media." Professional Wrestling Studies Journal, vol. 2, no. 1, 2021, pp. 25-46. 

Few phenomena have the enduring cultural reach and economic durability of professional wrestling. One company, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), effectively controls the majority of its recorded history owning the tape libraries of nearly every North American wrestling organization from before the year 2000. Through this ownership, it provides a flattering corporate history in an Orwellian manner. However, through new media content, fans have constructed an “alternative history” (Dawson and Holmes) of the hegemonic “worked” history provided by WWE. To investigate this, we conducted in-depth interviews with seven of the best-known producers of dirt sheets, podcasts/vodcasts, and shoot interviews in the industry. Their content is seen in over 200 countries by an audience of millions. Their “fannish productions” (Jenkins; Watson) focus on the “shoot,” or factual elements of the industry and demonstrates the power of fannish producers to disrupt hegemonic messages.

Keywords: professional wrestling, producer studies, new media, fandom, fan media, alternative history

"AEW and WWE’s Wednesday Night Wars: An Early Analysis" by Vincent Smith

Smith, Vincent. "AEW and WWE’s Wednesday Night Wars: An Early Analysis." Professional Wrestling Studies Journal, vol. 2, no. 1, 2021, pp. 47-60. 

All Elite Wrestling (AEW) and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) are two of the biggest names in the sports entertainment industry. Currently, AEW’s Dynamite and WWE’s NXT both debut at the same time slot on cable television and are in direct competition. AEW’s Dynamite has been on the air for over a year now; predictive analytics are used to see if AEW’s Dynamite can continue to produce needed viewership numbers and ratings. A t-test found a significant difference in AEW Dynamite and WWE’s NXT viewership and ratings. A regression analysis of AEW’s Dynamite’s viewership numbers and ratings found a significant result as well. Details of these results are thoroughly discussed. Limitations of this analysis are considered including the impact of COVID-19 on the sports entertainment industry.

Keywords: All Elite Wrestling, AEW, World Wrestling Entertainment, WWE, Sports, Television, Dynamite, NXT, company, business, comparison

"Legdropping the Iron Sheikh: An AutoEthnographic Performance Selection from Burnt City: A Dystopian Bilingual One-Persian Show" by Josh Hamzehee

Hamzehee, Josh. "Legdropping the Iron Sheikh: An AutoEthnographic Performance Selection from Burnt City: A Dystopian Bilingual One-Persian Show." Professional Wrestling Studies Journal, vol. 2, no. 1, 2021, pp. 61-74. 

Legdropping the Iron Sheikh is an autoethnographic performance selection from Burnt City: A Dystopian Bilingual One-Persian Show. Burnt City (or شهر سوخته) is a solo performance about United States-Iran relations. This performance uses poetry, humor, video, and the Farsi language to excavate how domestic abuse at home is congruous to violence inflicted by governments on citizens. In Legdropping the Iron Sheikh, the fifth scene from the production, Hamzehee juxtaposes parallels between his father’s U.S. arrival during the 1979 Iranian Revolution with the Iron Sheik’s 1980s’ battles with the All-American Hulk Hogan. This autoethnographic performance is backgrounded by an edited and x-ray’d video of the January 23, 1984 Madison Square Garden telecast of Hogan-Sheik’s WWF World Championship title match. This creative essay, script, and performance provides insight into this match as a critique of 1980’s U.S.-Iran relations, as well as Hamzehee’s relationship with his Persian father, arguing that the impacts of domestic abuse felt at home have parallels to those inflicted by homelands. A video of the performance is included as a hyperlink.

Keywords: Iron Sheik, Wrestling, Autoethnography, Performance, Iran

Reviews

"Reviews." Professional Wrestling Studies Journal, vol. 2, no. 1, 2021, pp. 75-79. 

Book reviews by Kristopher G. Phillips and Rebecca Steiner

End Matter
Professional Wrestling Studies Journal, vol. 2, no.1 (2021)