Many have tried to make sense of it, but from a hedonistic perspective, beauty cannot be limited, and in wrestling, it is part of its appeal. People who mark the stereotype, magnified to the height of gods and who must deal with value judgments from thousands of followers. Added to their own insecurities in a physical and physical industry, sometimes the fan looks too much at the divinity and forgets that deep down, they are just as human as they are.
Beauty is a subjective quality. What is beautiful for some may not be so for others. The Greeks tried to define and standardize it under the Phidias golden ratio, but none were convincing due to the various factors affecting it. In wrestling, it is part of his hedonistic appeal, as he is the magnet that brings strangers to the big top along with spectacular movements, and has been the basis for hiring talent in companies with television agreements. The muscle in men and the sensuality in women have been and continue to be essential to mark that powerful look, of gods, of characters larger than life inherited from the circus era.
No one will believe at first glance that a beefy six-foot-tall man is not a threat to be reckoned with or that he is up against the strongest man in the world if he has a slim body. That’s why André The Giant is André The Giant, and Rey Mysterio is Rey Mysterio. The foreign public, which is not educated in these arts, appreciates it, understands it and passes in disbelief before. There will be time to internalize the rest of the concepts or to break the limits.
However, marking the canons of beauty or entering them is not without consequences. The Spanish fighter Carlos Romo already denounced it in the Playz report by Noah Benanal:
«If I fight with someone in better physical shape than me or I look very skinny, I say, ‘fuck, what a shitty body I have.’ I go to a wrestling locker room, and I suffer because I see others, and I punish myself. I think that I should be like this, that I don’t rest enough, that I don’t eat enough….”
Carlos Romo for the Playz’ Carlos Romo report: “I’m tired of seeing wrestlers die and fear for my future.”
The physical aspect of wrestling has changed, just like in society. They no longer look for those moles created based on protein and steroids or, in the case of women, models taken from adult magazines -as Johnny Ace did- and without fighting knowledge, but the bodies worked in the gym, and the faces beautiful continue to the order of the day. Steps forward have been made, such as the acceptance from the Western perspective of ‘curvy’ physicists Nikkita Lyons, Nia Jax or Willow Nightingale, although there is still a long way to go. This breeding ground creates complexes that can be difficult to believe when those who get into the ring are not afraid of the pain inflicted by their rival, are used to public rejection and are top-level athletes.
The industry places on an altar so many, more and more, who must deal with success and exposure to an audience that is currently very close to their idols. They unlock their mobile and know where they are and what they think; they can message or comment on their latest actions in the ring. Or out of it. Sometimes it is difficult to separate the negativity, however minimal, from all the good that fans give. If you add to each one’s demons, everything is magnified.
We have seen it countless times, and we have even been part of it: the physical condition of a fighter like Chris Jericho is pointed out, or the need for a woman to get implants is questioned. All this without knowing what happens in the head of that star. Some even encourage a fighter, more or less, depending on how beautiful they are. Look more closely at what they look like than what they offer in their fights.
That is why, in essence, we can speak of gods with human problems. Alexa Bliss, nicknamed ‘The Goddess’ for the facet of her more than her, was close to losing her life because her health worsened due to an eating disorder when she was a teenager. Her heart was beating 28 beats per minute when doctors attended to her. During the previous six weeks, she had lost 30 pounds (13-14 kilos) in a body of about 95. That moment changed her life, made her accept herself as she is, and she began to compete in bodybuilding contests. Even though at first glance she seems to be a person who is sure of her body, that she sees in the mirror the same fighter that we see on the screen, the reality can be very different. Even though she’s probably over it, it’s a constant battle; Insecurities don’t go away with fame.
Of course, the most harmed in this regard are women, glorified by their appearance or singled out for decisions in their private lives that are not the concern of the fan, to such an extent that harassment has become something sadly to be expected. We must not forget the attempted kidnapping of Sonya Deville two years ago, the most recent for the current generation. And the list goes on if we look at some Twitter profiles.
Gone are the stories about someone’s physique (Piggy James) and the Divas’ bikini photo sessions when SummerSlam or some Christmas or Halloween-type holiday arrived. Of course, within the AEW / WWE duopoly, since outside, in smaller television companies or the indies, they are the ones who sell suggestive images that have little to do with the work they do between the ropes as it is a fast monetization route.
In Japan, Stardom uses its fighters – also idols – to sell photobooks that cause tremendous discomfort, only suitable for the most disturbed fans. The most picturesque includes snapshots taken by a sneaky couple that captures her beloved in an act as daily as brushing her teeth. Damian Abraham already observed in his docuseries ‘The Wrestlers’ that deification of women, even in a 14-year-old AZM, in a cast meeting with fans (men) carrying gifts for them. In return, they receive a commission, are more popular and secure their position in the organizational chart and future opportunities. A vicious circle that is not easy to break.
“Watching Azumi (…) receive gifts from middle-aged men and sell them photos of her in suggestive outfits, it’s hard not to feel weird. But in Stardom, it’s business as usual.»
Damian Abraham in the third episode of the docuseries The Wrestlers’