The WWE meets the Grand Guignol.Le Théâtre du Grand-Guignol or “The Theater of the Big Puppet” – AKA “Grand Guignol” – was a French theatrical genre that performed from 1897 to 1962, specializing in what was called “naturalistic horror” performances. The theatre specialized in staged performances of “simulated” violence. The focus was on the acts of depravity itself, evildoers were rarely punished or defeated or made accountable for their crimes. Violence was the point.
After World War II., audiences waned and the Grand Guignol finally closed in 1962. According to the management, the “faux horrors” of the Grand Guignol could not compete with the reality: “We could never equal Buchenwald”.
Not to worry. Modern films have taken take the place of the Grand Guignol. Simulated depravity and violence is a still a money-making venture, even in the era of 9/11, serial killers and school massacres. Now, even sport has taken a page from the Grand Guignol’s “scripted violence”.
Wrestling, once just a High School, College and Olympic event, is now a venue for staged violence by “professional wrestlers” of “World Wrestling Entertainment Inc.” aka WWE. The only real difference between the “Professional Wrestlers” of the WWE and a Grand Guignol performance is plot and costuming.
“Simulated violence” is still violence, even if the “victims” can walk away after the performance. Staged violence is comfortable. It’s “managed” violence, where we can watch but not be involved, affected or responsible for the ending.
Sport is often equated to warfare, but where all participants use the same rules and, win or lose, everyone goes home when it’s over. In “Staged Sports”, the “professional wrestlers” of the WWE, are actors playing a role and the ending is predetermined: the good guys and the bad guys are well defined, and we know who will win in the end.