Indie Wrestler Sparks Debate Over Pro Wrestling as “Performance Art”, Josh Barnett & Davey Richard Sound Off

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Indie wrestler Jordynne Grace, who you may know from Beyond Wrestling, Women’s Wrestling Revolution or SHINE, started a lively debate on Twitter this weekend arguing in favor of professional wrestling being referred to as a “performance art” rather than a legitimate “sport”.

Grace went back and forth with numerous fans on Saturday. Part of her argument is that “the insistence upon calling it a sport has really brainwashed some wrestlers into believing they are really in competition with one another while in the ring,”  later stating that not all wrestlers can be considered athletes because, “some people I’ve wrestled are the laziest, clumsiest people in the world.”

One of the more interesting ideas that was brought up in the discussion was implementing other forms of entertainment alongside the actual in-ring product at live wrestling shows. Obviously we’ve seen a small version of this with musical performances at major WWE events, and at the Lucha Underground live tapings. You could also make the case that the entire wrestling industry was built around a sideshow act that travelled with carnivals and circuses.

The debate over “art” vs. “sport” picked up so much steam that former UFC Heavyweight Champion and long-time wrestler Josh Barnett joined the discussion. Josh argued that “without sport you have zero framework for wrestling”, and claimed that people want to consider it an art form because “there are barely any legitimate wrestlers” left in the business, “and barely any legitimate wrestles training people.”

So what do you think? Should pro wrestling be considered a legitimate sport, or is it healthier for the industry overall to rebrand itself as true performance art? Sound off in the comments section below or hit us up on Twitter @PW_DotCom.