The great sport-spectacle. The transformations of television wrestling: France and the USA (1958–2018)

By Christophe Lamoureux


Wrestling is a sport and a spectacle, hybrid and comical. The staging is used to suggest excess, the rituals act as a mediator of transgression, the body is shown as a repository of suffering, dispute is used as a moral operative, and stereotype works as a cultural integrator. This article points out how, both in the past and the present, and in both France and the USA, television has taken hold of the simulated violence of wrestling to appeal to an audience made up of fans who are receptive to the rhetoric of the show and its edifying tales. As such, “the business of American wrestling” has standardized a model of fabrication that shapes an aesthetic view of combat and emphasizes its commercial logic. This has resulted in an entire generation’s appetite for a stage culture that is broadcasted around the world.


  • Wrestling
  • Television Show
  • Fans
  • Pop Culture
  • Entertainment
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