Kim Kardashian is a professional wrestler.
I know what you're thinking – she has never stepped foot in a wrestling ring. And that's true. But have you watched the WWE lately? Okay, judging by the fact the WWE's stock has plummeted 50% in the past year, you probably haven't. But if you did subject yourself to it, you'd see that pro wrestling, well, pro wrestling ain't what it used to be. To begin with, it's not even “pro wrestling” anymore, it's “sports entertainment.” It's basically two hours of bad acting, lame skits and 3rd grade humor. The wrestling, more so than in the past, is an afterthought. Vince McMahon, in his infinite wisdom, has barred his commentators from using words like “wrestling” and “wrestler” because, oh I have no idea why. If you want to see a good, old-school professional wrestler in action...you have to watch Keeping Up With The Kardashians?
The beauty of pro wrestling, since the beginning of time, laid in a simple notion known as “living the gimmick.” There was never really a question as to whether the matches were scripted, or “fake” as the mainstream media likes to point out, but whether the wrestlers were really like that out of the ring. Sure, “Macho Man” Randy Savage could head to the ring knowing he was going to lie down for Hulk Hogan after 20 minutes, but was he really like that? Did he always twirl around in a magnificent robe and shout “Oh Yeah!” during his daily routine? That, in short, was the beautiful allure of pro wrestling.
No matter where you saw Hulk Hogan or Randy Savage – and later, guys like “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and The Rock – they were always themselves. Whether you saw Hogan on Saturday Night's Main Event, the Arsenio Hall show or doing a cameo on Nickelodeon, he was always Hulk Hogan. If you saw Steve Austin talking with Regis in 1998, he may have toned down his act a bit but he was still the same guy you saw on Monday Night Raw. In today's WWE, that's all changed. When John Cena or Randy Orton do a mainstream interview, they talk about their “characters” as if John Cena the wrestler is different than John Cena the person. The WWE is trying so hard to become part of mainstream entertainment that its stars give interviews like Jennifer Aniston talking about what desperate character she's playing in her latest flop. By doing so, they've missed the point.
Kim Kardashian, on the other hand, is decidedly not missing the point.
Kim Kardashian is not a real person, just like Hulk Hogan wasn't a real person. Hulk Hogan was a larger than life superstar. There is no one in the real world that goes around in public like Hulk Hogan did, does and will. Likewise, there's no such thing as Kim Kardashian in the real world. Think about it – she has become famous for being famous, one of the most incredible pop culture coups in recent memory. The only actual talent she has shown is the ability to lay back and look bored while a middling R&B singer has sex with her. That's it. Now, yes, she was very good at that judging by the sales of her porn DVD. But there are a lot of porn stars out there – many who look far more enthusiastic – who don't have one-millionth the success that Kim Kardashian does.
In short, Kardashian has mastered the art of professional wrestling better than any pro wrestler in the past decade. In wrestling, your goal is to get people to pay to see you, whether it's buying a ticket or buying their merchandise. Kardashian makes people buy stuff. Magazines fall over each other seemingly on a weekly basis to get Kim in the sexiest, most revealing outfits possible to move issues. The weekly rumor rags toss money at her in obscene amounts to get the latest scoop on her love life and career. It seems the general attitude toward this for most is “Who cares?” – not shockingly, that's usually the general attitude toward pro wrestling when it's successful.
Kardashian's reality shows are also basically ripoffs of what pro wrestling used to be. In pro wrestling, wrestlers would spend years trying to reach the mountain top and become world champion, something that has gone by the wayside in this era of sports entertainment. For Kim, the goal was marriage. For years, we've heard or read about every little tiny detail in Kim's love life as if her getting married would be the equivalent of The Rock finally becoming champion. To add to the intrigue, her sister Kourtney got knocked up and had a baby. Then her sister Khloe, seemingly ripping a page out of Kim's playbook, shacked up with a pro athlete and got married. It gave Kim ample opportunity to moan to the press and gripe about her lot in life – would Kim Kardashian ever find love?
It is here that we are met with another crucial likeness to pro wrestling. In pro wrestling, why did we as fans care so much about guys winning titles in a fake sport? There was no answer, we just did. So why did so many people care if Kim Kardashian – a woman most had never met – found love? It's not like she earned our collective sympathy, like when Angelia Jolie stole Brad Pitt from Jennifer Aniston. In fact, there's almost nothing likable about Kim Kardashian. She has no discernible talent, she is incredibly vapid and she has little to no sense of what's going on in the world around her.
Yet, the world can't seem to turn away. In pro wrestling, they call it charisma. You can't explain why but the public gravitates toward some people. In the late 1990s, there were hundreds upon hundreds of guys doing the extreme wrestling thing – getting tossed from balconies, smashed through tables, bashed with steel chairs – but through the mess, only Mick Foley became a New York Times best-selling author. Why? No idea, people just liked Mick. For Kim Kardashian, she has the certain undefinable quality that makes people pay attention. You can insert a joke about her butt here but you can use Google and find about a million pictures of asses that look just like Kim Kardashian's. But those random butts aren't on the cover of People Magazine on a weekly basis. There's a reason Khloe & Lamar was seen as a joke and why shows with Kim Kardashian average something like 4+ million viewers each week. She's a draw.
For the longest time, I chalked up Kim Kardashian as an anomaly of a society reeking of desperation when it came to entertainment. The music sucks, the television sucks, the movie sucks....what else is on? Oh, here's Kim Kardashian, I'll pay attention to this. But as news of her engagement to Kris Humphries broke, I realized that someone – Kim, her mother, her agent, E! producers, somebody – was playing the country like a fiddle.
Kris Humphries makes $3.2 million per year. That's before taxes. That's before he spends a cent. No doubt, the dude is making a pretty nice living for himself as a thoroughly average basketball player. Yet somehow, he was able to ply Kim with a $2 million engagement ring? It reminded me of old-school professional wrestling when they would have a 20-man battle royal and proclaim that the winner would win a $1 million. As they would say in pro wrestling, it was a work. But people bought it. Kris Humphries didn't buy Kim a $2 million engagement ring. But people bought it.
The fun continued when I enjoyed a good giggle listening to an entertainment show go off about the registry for the Kardashian wedding. It included things like a $20,000 ladle. These weren't meant to be real. No one needs any of the stuff presented on the registry. It was another work to continue the illusion of Kim Kardashian and her extravagant lifestyle. I'm starting to think at this point that Kris Humphries* was cast in this role – the Kardashian clan needed another pro athlete, but not an actually famous one like Reggie Bush that wouldn't deal with the BS.
*Isn't it just a little too coincidental than Kim Kardashian would find love with a man who has the exact same first name as her mother?
As any fan of pro wrestling knows, winning a title is only the first step. You have to try to keep the title. Then eventually, you will lose the title. And that just sets up our hero to set out to reclaim it. If you can't figure out how the next three years of Kim Kardashian's “life” is going to go, you've never been a fan of pro wrestling. She will have her big, televised wedding. They will have their own series about wedding bliss, the first season of which will be happy, the second season of which will be sad, troubled and lead to divorce. We will then be confronted with about six million Kim Kardashian “broken heart” stories. Then Kim will wipe away those tears, declare herself a strong, single woman and began anew her search for love...on cable television for everyone to see.
The worst part about all of this? It's going to work. Hulk Hogan has been playing his character for 30 years now and the public is still infatuated with him. There were points when he was less popular than others, but he never left.
For those of you rooting against Kim Kardashian, it's not worth it. She's going to be around for the long haul. And frankly, I'm looking forward to “Kim Knows Best” in 2025.
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