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Entertainment & Arts

Having a Moment: Pop culture can’t get enough pro wrestling

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Betty Gilpin, left, and Alison Brie star in Netflix’s new series “GLOW.”
(Erica Parise / Netflix)

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Two guys wearing flamboyant costumes and makeup attempt to tear each other to shreds in an attempt to win a fancy accessory.

No, it’s not “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” It’s that other high melodrama that’s all the rage these days: professional wrestling.

What’s that, you say? Professional wrestling isn’t real? Well, neither is the news if you believe certain people, so why not give the pop-culture pariah its moment in the sun?

President Trump’s recent tweet featuring an appearance at Wrestlemania 23 remade into a brutal attack on CNN has pro wrestling back in the headlines, but that’s only the most recent example of the sport’s comeback.

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Take the adventures of the family Ball last month, when LaVar, Lonzo and LaMelo dropped by “Monday Night Raw” at the Staples Center and participated in a skit that quickly went off the rails.

LaVar ran around the ring while new Laker Lonzo expressed how happy he was to be there and young LaMelo hyped his dad while dropping racial epithets. It was magical.

And then of course there’s Netflix’s new hit show, “GLOW,” a dramedy series about the creation of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling league in 1985.

But why now? With ratings for the WWE’s flagship Monday night show falling precipitously, why does the concept of professional wrestling resonate more than ever?

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Simple: It’s as fake as the news people love to hate.

Both fans and skeptics agree that pro wrestling is phony, but in a world where (crowd) size matters and tweeting is so covfefe, doesn’t it make sense that the pastime America can’t stop talking about is the one that’s completely made up?

A big part of what makes pro wrestling so appealing is that it’s clear who the good guys are and who the bad guys are, which is precisely why it’s so strange that President Trump has sparked this new appreciation of wrestling.

Is Trump the hero of this story, fighting back against that meanie known as “journalism,” or is he the villain? In the end, it probably doesn’t matter. As long as there are body-slams, viewers will remain on the edge of their seats, ready to cheer on their own hero.

See the most-read stories in Entertainment this hour »

libby.hill@latimes.com

@midwestspitfire

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