Hi. I’m Garrett. I edit Paste’s brand new wrestling section. It’s nice to meet you!
You might think professional wrestling is a weird fit for Paste, which started as an indie rock magazine near the dawn of the century. It actually makes more sense than anyone might believe. The independent wrestling scene is thriving around the world today, from long-running American promotions like Ring of Honor, Evolve and Pro Wrestling Guerilla, to an incredibly hot UK scene, to a global resurgence in interest in Japanese and Mexican wrestling, to narratively trendsetting anomalies like Chikara and Lucha Underground. Even WWE, for decades the dominant force in the modern era of wrestling, and a company so monolithic that it barely has any legitimate competition, has embraced many of the strengths of independent wrestling, regularly hiring the most talented performers from around the world for its developmental brand, and pushing the best of those to the top of its main roster. Despite the ever-watchful eye of WWE, the life of an indie wrestler today is not much different from that of somebody in an indie rock band. They travel the world, performing in town after town, hustling for fans and slinging their own merchandise, all in hopes of a life making the kind of art that they love. The wrestling landscape has changed greatly over the last few years, and this is the perfect time for Paste to start covering it regularly.
We know that wrestling is an acquired taste. We know that, if you didn’t grow up watching it, it’s incredibly hard to get into as an adult. But we also know that there are few things in all of the arts more beautiful and more brutal than the match AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura wrestled at the Tokyo Dome on January 4, 2016. We know that the gasp-inducing high flying moves of Ricochet, Will Ospreay, Neville and others can be as powerful and unforgettable as a favorite song. We know that the friendship between Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens has been one of our favorite plotlines of any TV show this year, and that, when told well, wrestling storylines can wring more pure emotion out of the audience than any scripted TV show. We know that wrestling is a true art, perhaps the truest art in its combination of timeless simplicity and decades of refined artificiality. We know that the professional wrestling we’re familiar with today, despite its European roots, is as authentically American and effortlessly entertaining as the other great American arts, and as important as jazz, comic books and rock and roll. We know that wrestling matters, and we hope to share that with you, whether you agree with us or not.
Our primary goal isn’t to celebrate wrestling done well or showcase the talents who make it possible. That’s part of it, of course, but we’ll always focus on what wrestling says about us, both the people who watch it and the people who make it. Our writers will analyze wrestling’s place within our culture, exploring how it interconnects with both society and, when necessary, politics. As Paste has done for years with music, movies, games, books and more, we’ll be digging past wrestling’s exterior to really understand how it relates to life in the 21st century.
Hopefully you’ll join me, assistant editor Paul DeBenedetto, and our guests and regular contributors as we chronicle the ever-exciting world of pro wrestling every day here at Paste.
Garrett Martin edits Paste’s games, comedy and wrestling sections. He’s on Twitter @grmartin.