When I was a kid, I was a huge fan of professional wrestling. Don’t judge me – you were a fan, too. It had everything that a kid going through puberty could hope for in television programming: the shows were fast paced, the characters were over the top, the violence was extreme, and there was just enough sex and innuendo to keep a 13 year old entertained without being pornographic.
My mother hated every minute of it.
Flash-forward to 2019, and the landscape of WWE has evolved completely. In fact, WWE has lead the way in cleaning up their brand image and ensuring that their programming is family friendly without sacrificing the entertainment value. All WWE broadcasts are now TV-PG, the sex and innuendo is almost non existent, and you almost never see blood.
So we were curious. Are WWE Live Events an appropriate outing for children? To find out the answer, we attended a live taping of WWE’s Monday Night Raw. We’ll break it down into three sections.
- The show.
As noted above, WWE Programming is now TV-PG, so unlike the WWE Attitude Era we grew up in, the show is surprisingly clean. Expletives are minimal and minor (the occasional ‘ get to the damn ring’ or ‘I’m going to kick his ass’ at the most), and the storylines are family friendly. During commercial breaks, an in-ring announcer plays trivia games with contestants from the audience, and it was almost always kids who were chosen to play. Fights were entertaining, but there was nothing grotesque or extreme, and we never once saw blood. It can happen – but WWE tries to keep the gore to a minimum. Remember, wrestling looks fake on TV, and it looks even more exaggerated in person.
The biggest problem for parents of young fans (under 9) is that WWE events can go late. Live tapings usually start at 6:30pm and don’t end until just after 10:00pm. If your kid doesn’t handle later bedtime’s well, just know the schedule ahead of time and plan accordingly. For example, I love taking my 7-year old nephew to see WWE Live, but I knew that this would be entirely too late for him on a school night, so I didn’t even approach his parents.
- The venue.
Unlike the low-lit, dirty high school gymnasium productions that can be found at your local pro-wrestling organization events, WWE is almost always held in the best venue your city has. In Oklahoma City, it’s hosted at the Chesapeake Energy Arena, so you can be sure that security is tight, the venue is clean, and the production isn’t something that will put you in harms way. It’s just like going to the circus, only less makeup.
- The crowd.
This is the only area of question, and to be honest, it’s because it’s a complete roll of the dice. WWE fans are some of the friendliest people in the world, but you will come across the occasional fan who just doesn’t know how to handle themselves in public (similarly to attending NBA games). As noted before, security at a WWE event is top notch, so you can be sure that anyone who becomes intoxicated to the point of distraction will be removed from the venue – but that doesn’t mean that the guy behind you might not get angry at the ‘heel’ in the ring and shout the occasional ‘eff-you’ towards the superstar. However, I would say that for the most part, the crowd is self controlled, and I have no problem taking kids to the arena any time that a WWE production comes to town.
Overall, if your kid is showing interest in WWE, or if you’re looking for something new to do with your kids and you think that WWE live events might be something they would find entertaining, don’t hesitate to buy a ticket and check it out for yourself.