I'm sure someone, at one time or another, has queried Paul O'Brien's dual critiques of both (primarily superhero) comics and his incisive commentaries on pro wrestling. The implication seems to be that one is more or less valid than the other and the concept that one could like both is, apparently, quite unusual.
Only--and yes, I am aware that anecdotal evidence is poor justification for one's opinions--I know a lot of people who are fans of both wrestling and comics. And when you get right down to it, it's not hard to see why that is.
Superhero comics feature colourful characters, usually with muscled physiques and other quirks, usually solving their problems through violence in stories in which good, inevitably, triumphs over evil in what is, ultimately, a kind of catharsis for the reader.
Pro wrestling is a type of performance art featuring colourful characters with muscled physiques and other strange quirks, solving their problems with violence in pre-planned storylines wherein good inevitably triumphs over evil, and what is ultimately a kind of catharsis for the viewer.
In short--they're not that different. Even moreso when you look at recent trends in both.
To wit: After years of more or less adhering to the basic model with a bit of individual variation here and there and a sort of gradual evolution of the form happening in a slow but steady fashion, a variety of factors converged to alter the basic dynamic. Characters became more complex, the overall tone became darker, and the old black/white good/evil model was largely set aside for characters that worked more in shades of gray. While this worked at first and revitalised the entire genre to a large extent, as time went on, it became the very norm it was a reaction against in the first place and now, as the amount of stories possible under this paradigm cycle lower and lower until a new alternative is needed to refresh things. Unfortunately, none is immediately apparent.
Depending on what you're a fan of, here I'm speaking of either the 1980's in comics (wherein stuff like Watchmen changed the game significantly and became the primary blueprint for the future course of the genre) or I'm speaking about the 1990's in pro wrestling (wherein the rise of ECW broke storytelling out of a very stagnant place and because the primary blueprint for at least the next ten years)
That's not the only thing they have in common. If you'll allow me to use an example I use a lot. In wrestling, a storyline usually breaks down like this: Your good guy (the "babyface" or "face") is chased by, or chases the bad guy the "heel.") The reasons can be anything you like, but ultimately it comes down to good guy vs bad guy--everything else is window dressing.
The key element in crafting a wrestling storyline (and it is a craft, in its way) is knowing how long to draw it out. Too short, and it seems a bit rushed and not as fulfilling as it might be. Too long and you run the risk of losing the audience's attention before the end of the storyline.
It's all about precisely playing on the audience's expectations toward the ultimate catharsis. Too long and too many defeats of your good guy and whatever the result, it's not credible whatever the end result. Too many bad finishes and the whole audience deserts the product and everything collapses in on itself.
It's not hard, I think, to see the carryover when you hold both up to the light and compare them. There are finer differences, of course, but there are more similarities I didn't cover in this go-round. Maybe if I have an additional thought on the subject, I'll do a write-up on how the different comics companies' approach mirrors the distinct ideology of the old territory system in wrestling--don't worry if you don't don't get what I'm talking about, I'm not sure I do. However, I thought it was worth writing it up before the thought floated out of my head.