Due to the negative associations garnered from pro-wrestling, the purity of wrestling as a sport has been compromised. Although some people acknowledge the legitimacy of wrestling – in its Greco-Roman and Olympic variants- most people think about Hulk Hogan and The Rock when they hear wrestling. That’s not to diminish the grueling schedules and physical punishment that professional wrestlers endure, but pro-wrestling’s propensity toward theatrics and pageantry limits the appeal of the formerly popular sport.
It’s hard to believe now, but the top pro-wrestlers used to earn more than most professional sports stars in the era before the “sport” embraced its predetermined nature. The pay speaks to how much respect the average joe used to have for wrestling. Similar to the depreciation of popularity in the West, wrestling underwent a similar transition in India. In the video linked above, Business Insider’s YouTube channel explains how sliding sensibilities have shifted Indian wrestling away from its traditional mud-based roots to a more mat-oriented style. The video also focuses on the men determined to preserve the tradition and the toll it places on their bodies and spirits.