chapter  4
13 Pages

Wrestling with characters

Viewer engagement in contemporary television wrestling
WithOliver Kroener

Viewer engagement with wrestling characters aligns with viewer engagement with characters from various television genres. The author argues that viewer engagement with wrestling characters is defined by an emotional intensity typical of how viewers react to sports programs, engage with characters from scripted-reality television programs, and experience long-term engagement with soap opera characters. To illustrate this argument, the author investigates two case studies in detail: Mick Foley and The Undertaker. More than simply being intertextual, the creation of the professional wrestler relies on the convergence of character traits and identities from different genres.