Sunday, May 8, 2011

Stuff Arabs Like #13: Professional Wrestling

Pictured above: John Cena, who I'm pretty sure is famous for wrestling in jorts...

They love it. And all of the guys here do. I have seen grown men wearing the logos of specific wrestlers and the occasional WWE tshirt. It's big business here. It's on prime time the way that Monday Night Football is. Recently, WWE Raw came to Qatar for what I understand to be the first time in wrestling history. My kids went. Seriously, like half of my 7th graders (and probably a few of the older kids too) went to Qatar which is like a flight or a 5 hour drive away for the weekend to see this big match thing.

I remember when I lived in Kuwait in 7th grade these two Kuwaiti kids came up to me at a water park and were like, "Shawn Michaels! Shawn Michaels!" I literally had no idea what they were talking about and since that was basically the extent of their English I was left to wonder. Later I found out that he was a WWF wrestler...and that this (along with McDonald's) were pretty much their only exposure to American culture.

Pictured: Shawn Michaels. Yes, you may laugh.

The internet has changed that of course. Facebook and Google have made it possible for American culture to be exported everywhere. Now my kids love Glee and my 10th graders have this really weird fondness for Oprah. But amazingly, their love of wrestling has remained. I've tried to think about what could possibly be the thing that is so attractive to them. It must be the same thing that Americans love about it...unbridled violence, overwhelming testosterone, and ridiculous storylines before and after the usually very short matches.

One of my kids told me the other day that The Rock (now known as Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson in his movies nowadays) was coming back to WWE Raw (he was on back-in-the-day). The kid was really excited about it. I told him that I used to see him when I was about his age and even offered up his famous catch phrase to give myself some street cred. I gained approximately a billion cool points in a matter of about 5 seconds. My favorite thing about that experience was realizing that these kids were watching something at the same time I was all the way around the other side of the world. And that was just wrestling. Think about how crazy it's going to be as high schoolers here are watching the same shows at the same time as kids on the other half of the planet! Suddenly this place seems a whole lot smaller than it did before.

Vicariously yours,

1 comment:

  1. I can see how someone would confuse you for shawn michaels...its the outfits.