(It’s WrestleWeek on POP GOD! In celebration of WrestleMania 32 this Sunday we’ll be looking at the intersection of faith and wrestling. You don’t have to be a fan to hop in the ring on this journey. Read on to see how this fake sport provides real lessons for anyone who’s ever grappled with God.)
One of the most underrated and important aspects of what makes pro wrestling so great is the announce team.
From my personal favorites of the early 90s Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan to the Attitude Era staples Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler, the best pro wrestling commentators truly take the in-ring spectacle to another level.
I once dreamed of being a pro wrestling announcer (ok I still do). I had my own toy headset that I would wear and call the action on my old WWF videos and with my action figures.
But being a great pro wrestling announcer isn’t as easy as simply calling the action in the ring. The best commentators share a few common traits:
- They play it straight, never letting on that the in-ring action is fake and conveying the high-stakes implication of each match
- They build up the strengths of their performers, never putting down or making fun of a wrestler’s weaknesses or mistakes
- They tell the story of the match, not just calling moves but explaining their significance as well as the backstory of each opponent so that fans have a deeper understanding and connection.
- The best pro wrestling announce teams tell both sides of the action as well with one announcer biased toward the “babyface” (good guy) and the other toward the “heel” (bad guy)
When we talk about our faith we’re basically acting as God’s announce team to the world. It’s important then that we think about not just the words that we use but how we use them to announce His action to the world.
Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. (1 Peter 3:15-16)
In some ways I believe when we talk about what we believe we ought to talk about it with the confident faith of a pro wrestling announcer. We should be bold, brave and proud of our faith even if we don’t fully understand it.
We should also be prepared to explain the full story of what we believe. Instead of just shooting off at the hip on social media that God may be for or against a certain politician or legislative action, we should be careful to the reasons why and to do so in a loving fashion.
On the other hand I think we should be careful to avoid some trappings of a wrestling announcer when talking about God. I believe we should let the audience in and be honest in our doubts. We should talk about the things we don’t understand, the times when we doubt and struggle. Our God is big enough that He can withstand our doubts and we need to let the world know this.
We should also recognize that unlike pro wrestling there aren’t defined good guys and bad guys in our world. There are just human beings – human beings that God created and loves dearly despite their actions. When we talk about our faith we must be careful to not point fingers at our personal enemies. Instead we should speak and act out of God’s love in order to draw them to Him.
A pro wrestling match without a commentary track could still be enjoyed. But it’s just not the same. The announce team plays an important role in convincing the audience that a wrestling match is a story worth investing in.
God’s glory is big enough to draw people in on it’s own power. Still, as believers we have been challenged with, as Jim Ross would say, a real slobberknocker of a task.
We serve as God’s announce team, proclaiming His greatness to the channel-flipping audience of the world in order to draw them in.
Be sure to subscribe to Pop God to follow along as WrestleWeek continues!