Oh there definitely is a difference I’m afraid. Of course WWE likes to state that its ‘Superstars’ are in fact ‘Sports Entertainers,’ the company wanting to distance itself from what to them is the archaic verbiage for what its employees do day in and day out and have been doing for decades.
Of course the company’s locker room was and is still full of epic talents in the ring as far as technical mat wrestling is concerned, but the overall delivery of its products does have the polished look of a top Hollywood major network television show, which ultimately it undoubtedly is.
For professional wrestling at its truest sense, for decades, fans have had the plethora of promotions that are out there on the indie circuit and on a larger scale they had Ring Of Honor and the International Wrestling Syndicate out of Montréal, Quebec, which has produced some epic talent over the years…some of which went on to become ‘Sports Entertainers’ in WWE.
Impact Wrestling was a decent go-to as well, although they tend to go in the same gimmicky direction that WWE has gone in the past and still goes to, as their weekly product would suggest.
But the term, ‘Sports Entertainer’ rubbed a lot of fans the wrong way…true blue wrestling fans that loved technical wrestling at its core…the very definition of a sport and not at all a sort of athletic theater, if you will.
This was why the Jericho Appreciation Society started to rub people the wrong way since its inception. They could take Jericho and Hager labeling themselves that, but the fact that you have Matt Menard, Angelo Parker and Daniel Garcia—men that honed their skills on the indie circuit and at the aforementioned IWS—this is what perhaps rubbed people the wrong way. Menard and Parker were apparently fired from WWE for being too ‘pro wrestling,’ reports have stated in the past.
But regardless, Daniel Garcia had a few things to say on the matter, ultimately stating that he fits the bill if you want to describe him using either label, really pushing the validity of a ‘Sports Entertainer.’ He made the following statements on the What Culture Wrestling Podcast:
“There’s a big difference between pro wrestlers and sports entertainers, I think I just fit the mold of a sports entertainer perfectly…I am charismatic, I think I am pretty handsome, I am a good-looking guy, I think I fit the role of a sports entertainer perfectly. I feel like I am one of the only sports entertainers on the AEW roster…
Same thing with Chris Jericho, I think he’s really taken me under his wing. He is teaching me how to excel at being a sports entertainer, because that’s where you make money. That’s where you become rich, that’s where you become one of the greatest of all time. Chris Jericho is going to teach me how to do that…
You can be a legit wrestler, and still be a sports entertainer…Any style can be sports entertaining. Eddie Guerrero, incredible in-ring wrestler, greats sports entertainer. I feel like that is the mold that is the blueprint of being what a great professional wrestler is, and a great sports entertainer…The Bryan Danielson thing was cool. In every interview I saw with him he talked about how he wanted to be in a group with me. How he wanted to take me under his wing…
But then the Jericho thing came about, and I wanted to learn how to be a sports entertainer. I didn’t want to learn how to be a good wrestler, because I am already a good wrestler…now I need to become a great sports entertainer. That’s what Chris Jericho is going to teach me how to do.”via Daniel Garcia on What Culture Wrestling Podcast /Wrestling Inc. (Transcription)
Evidently Chris Jericho is also teaching the epic young talent a thing or two about keeping a gimmick going even when doing interviews. Jericho is of course one of the kings of that, as we’ve learned from his over three decades in the industry.
Regardless, Garcia is doing quite well and will prove that he can be considered both an epic ‘Sports Entertainer’ and ‘pro Wrestler,’ which is nothing but a good thing for his career moving forward. Excited to see where all this goes, as I’m sure you are as well, dear readers.