Friday, April 1, 2011

What Can We Learn About Passion From Wrestlemania & The WWE?

This weekend is Wrestlemania XXVII. Growing up, I use to sneak in some quality time on Saturdays in front of the television watching World Wrestling.  I say "sneak" because that was definitely a no-no in my parents' house, but of course, they weren't always around.

While I don't watch wrestling anymore, back then, to a young and impressionable kid, these entertainers were athletes like no other.  I remember being in awe of some of their moves, and the punishment they would take as they battled each other.  Eventually I learned (SPOILER ALERT) that most of the matches, while dangerous, are prearranged.  But watching Ricky The Dragon Steamboat flying off the top rope, or -my personal favorite- The Undertaker tombstoning his latest victim was so exciting to me.

The other day I watched a documentary about Wrestlemania, detailing the history of some of the main events from back in the day.  Wrestlemania is to WWE as the Super Bowl is to the NFL.  One of the most striking characters in this movie was Vince McMahon, the man who, after purchasing the company from his retiring father, organized and united multiple local wrestling companies across the nation under one centralized umbrella, thereby exploding the wrestling phenomenom.

So great story. But what can we as Christians learn about passion from The WWE, and specifically from Vince McMahon?

  • Vince is an unrelenting promoter of all things WWE.  His passion brims over throughout the story, at times bringing tears to his eyes as he speaks about the early days.  Initially he was responsible for bringing celebrities to wrestling's super bowl, just to drum up extra interest and excitement.  He was relentless in spreading news of his wrestling show.  How relentless are we in sharing Jesus with others?  
  • He was always totally vested in his company, even with his own money.  At the time of Wrestlemania I, there was no pay-per-view venues like there are nowadays.  They decided to broadcast the event live across the nation in various theaters, a relatively risky financial venture at the time. It was a make or break moment for the young company. But Vince understood people needed to see this spectacular adventure live.  He knew (or at least hoped) that once people experienced Wrestlemania, they would be hooked. And they were.  What's your investment level in spreading the Gospel - in your personal life, in your church, among others?
  • It is always a team effort.  More than just a team effort, it's a family effort.  Vince involves his wife Linda, his son Shane, and his daughter Stephanie in various story lines.  He also includes some of his employees too.  And all of these people seem to genuinely enjoy being a part of the wrestling experience.  In this documentary, current WW Superstars were shown enjoying professional wrestling as youngsters, and each of these guys became emotional when they shared about how being a Superstar was a lifelong dream for them. Who else is involved with your efforts in evangelizing and discipling, and do each of you show excitement?
  • Wrestling events are absolutely exciting to watch!  They are exciting because the WWE focuses on the end user's experience.  Early on, the list of celebrities showing up at main events was staggering.  They were recruited, and paid, to show up and even participate.  Nowadays when a Wrestlemania shows up in a city (who seek out and even bid to become a host city for the WWE), it's a week-long adventure that puts the fans face-to-face with the wrestlers.  Are we passionate and excited about our Savior and His love story, not just for ourselves, but for a world dying to meet Him?   

Is church to be a spectacle, and entertaining?  No.  But can we learn from something as spectacular like Wrestlemania that is?  Absolutely.  Our passion and love for what we believe should be a shining light for all to see (or maybe a body slam...).

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