A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this professional wrestling show features extreme violence, which -- even though it's mostly fake -- looks very real. In addition to the usual body slams, headlocks, kicks, punches, and dramatic tosses out of the ring, the show includes hazards like live electrical wires, piles of sharp tacks, and other potentially bloody or even deadly elements. Pro wrestling thrives on personality conflicts, and one of the show's featured rivalries is between an African-American fighter and a so-called "redneck." Some questionable sexual dynamics are on display when one male wrestler is accompanied to the ring by his fawning girlfriend who the commentators later accuse of having a "wandering eye."
What's the story?
The fighting personas in WRESTLING SOCIETY X range from a white break dancer to a Mexican vampire. Each episode begins with a brief performance by a featured band, such as Black Label Society and Good Charlotte; band members then join commentators Kris Kloss and Bret Ernst as they discuss the matches in action. A one-on-one match up gets things warmed up, followed by a group fight or tag-team matches, which are particularly no-holds-barred. In addition to the typical body-slamming and headlocking, a few more perilous elements are tossed in outside the ring -- like a pit of electrical lines. Ultimately, the wrestlers in each episode are competing for one of the two contracts that are suspended above the ring, and once all 10 participating fighters have entered the ring, any one of them can (try to) lift a ladder and climb up to grab one of the contracts.
Is it any good?
Designed to be the "next generation" of professional wrestling, Wrestling Society X is a little rougher around the edges than the traditional WWF format. The stage and performers seem less polished and fit with a more street-oriented, extreme-sport style. Fans of professional wrestling will probably get a kick out of this new, violent take on the genre, though it doesn't deviate too sharply from what's been seen in the past. But non-fans likely won't become converts. Though a warning crawls along the bottom of the screen at the beginning of the show advising viewers not to try the stunts themselves, the tone is hardly serious, urging fans to "enjoy the mayhem."
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about real vs. fake fighting. Are shows like this one entertaining even when you know the violence is staged? Why? Teens, do have a favorite character? If so, what makes him/her a standout? What cultural/social/political elements come into play in professional wrestling? How do women fit into the scene? What about race? Though professional wrestling supposedly has rules of engagement, they're often ignored. What lessons can viewers take from that idea?