“In wrestling, nothing exists unless it exists totally”*…
As Jesse Ventura once explained, professional wrestling is “ballet with violence.” Reuters photographer Thomas Peter spent time recently exploring the world of Japanese women’s pro wrestling. He reports that “professional women’s wrestling in Japan means body slams, sweat, and garish costumes. But Japanese rules on hierarchy also come into play, with a culture of deference to veteran fighters. The brutal reality of the ring is masked by a strong fantasy element that feeds its popularity with fans, most [but certainly not all] of them men.”
* “In wrestling, nothing exists unless it exists totally, there is no symbol, no allusion, everything is given exhaustively; leaving nothing in shadow, the gesture severs every parasitical meaning and ceremonially presents the public with a pure and full signification, three dimensional, like Nature. Such emphasis is nothing but the popular and ancestral image of the perfect intelligibility of reality. What is enacted by wrestling, then, is an ideal intelligence of things, a euphoria of humanity, raised for a while out of the constitutive ambiguity of everyday situations and installed in a panoramic vision of a univocal Nature, in which signs finally correspond to causes without obstacle, without evasion, and without contradiction.”
– Roland Barthes,
As we slam the mat, we might recall that it was on this date in 1994 that the first Induction Ceremony was held for the WWE Hall of Fame. The Hall had in fact been created the prior year; it’s inaugural inductee, (the recently-deceased) Andre the Giant. But that honor had simply been announced during an episode of Monday Night Raw. The class of 1994 included Arnold Skaaland, Bobo Brazil, Buddy Rogers, Chief Jay Strongbow, Freddie Blassie, Gorilla Monsoon, and James Dudley.