WWE at Garrett Coliseum

By on 15 January, 2016 in Fun, Kate and Stephen with 0 Comments

I know it’s not the greatest photograph, but let me just say that it’s hard to adjust a phone camera’s light levels, zoom and focus when the WWE heavyweight champion is brandishing the glinting title belt before a match. The important thing is that there’s a gigantic man (in this case, Roman Reigns) holding a symbol of excellence above his head, as another giant man (Sheamus) prepares to try to pin him to the floor of a ring erected in our city’s Garrett Coliseum.

Another significant fact is this: These globally-recognized superstars of sports entertainment really do criss-cross the country on a relentless tour with no off-season. The only thing that stops them is injury or unpopularity. They film several live television shows a week, and are part of a free-flowing scripted soap opera that involves absurd (and sometimes moving) characters and genuinely astonishing feats of athleticism.

Even if the outcomes of the matches may be predetermined, there are some basic rules, and the human cost of entertaining us is too often depressingly real. The bodies of the wrestlers are tremendous works of art, but are also almost always pushed beyond the limits of human capacity — in size, flexibility and endurance. Even the worst matches, with the thinnest motivations, are a well-rehearsed ballet of simulated violence. And when the WWE comes to Montgomery, these matches are performed by the best talent in their particular (admittedly somewhat strange) profession.

WWE champion Roman Reigns at Garrett Coliseum

WWE champion Roman Reigns at Garrett Coliseum

The best book I’ve ever read about pro wrestling is David Shoemaker’s 2013 masterpiece, which dives deeply into the various ways that our part of the United States had a unique imprint on the pro wrestling landscape. Legends in small local companies toured the American Southeast, performing in high school gyms and civic auditoriums, inspiring and infuriating our communities. Wrestling has evolved with every form of media, splashing across radios and television sets and phones and social media. But there’s still something special about seeing it live.

All of which is to say that we are lucky to have Garrett Coliseum here in Montgomery, a place capable of hosting top shelf pro wrestling (along with monster truck rallies, rodeos, and concerts). We wrote about Garrett Coliseum back in 2012 when we interviewed then-state Representative Joe Hubbard about the Alabama National Fair. If you haven’t read that interview, you should click the link and check it out. It contains some great information about the history of the building, some facts that most people don’t know about efforts to maintain it and continue to draw entertainment to our city.

We had a great time at pro wrestling, and the parking situation, restrooms and professional staff seem to suggest that it’s a place that would be excellent for other touring acts. Our city experiences economic benefits when people come in from other areas to see these acts. They spend money. They spend the night. And the leave our city with good memories.

Kate and Stephen are Midtown residents with two cats, a dog, ten fish, a garden, an old house and a sense of adventure. They write about life in Midtown here and about life in Montgomery at their blog Lost in Montgomery.

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