Professional wrestling is a violent form of entertainment, in which entertainers appear to be having an athletic contest. In actuality, they are performing a script, and the bout nearly always reaches an agreed-upon outcome. It is not a real contest in the manner of sports such as boxing or amateur wrestling, but many bouts take a gruelling toll on the participants' bodies nonetheless.
For most of the twentieth century, professional wrestling was portrayed to the viewing public as 'real', often despite featuring laughably outlandish characters and obvious fakery; in this form it could be seen as deceitful and thus inconsistent with Christian values. However, in the present day the overwhelming majority of fans are 'in' on the secret, but still watch in appreciation of the entertainment value, athletic prowess and sometimes humor on display.
Professional wrestling got its start on the county fair circuits, where collegiate wrestlers used to put on fights for paying audiences. Eventually, the trade began to develop into a profitable business. With stars now worth millions of dollars, the violence and danger was slowly replaced with theatrical combat, allowing wrestlers to appear multiple times a day and perform several times a week without suffering serious injury.
In the 21st century, the sport divided into traditional wrestling, which imposed certain rules regarding the use of closed fists and elbows and, mixed martial arts (MMA), which was a form of "no holds barred" wrestling combined with boxing and kick boxing. Both forms are regulated by the same state commissions. However, the public assumes that MMA matches are not fake. MMA is broadcast on the Fox Network while professional wrestling is broadcast on NBC and ION Television. The largest professional wrestling promotion has been the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). WWE has sought respectibility since 2003 by sponsoring an annual "Tribute to the Troop" performance at a military base which is also broadcast on televison. Mainstream media figures, such as Katie Couric, the Muppets, and President Obama made cameo appearances on the 2012 show to lend credibility to what would otherwise appear to be fake performances. Conservative Governor Robert McDonnell also appeared on the program but distanced himself by telling the troops "to laugh with the WWE."
- UFC on FOX 5 ratings: Overnight numbers show 3.41 million viewers (December 9, 2012). Retrieved on December 29, 2012.