Professional Wrestling in the Digital Age
Edited by Dru Jeffries
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 12/01/2019
Format: Hardback 2 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-04490-7
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The millions of fans who watch World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) programs each year are well aware of their role in building the narrative of the sport. #WWE: Professional Wrestling in the Digital Age explores the intersections between media, technology, and fandom in WWE's contemporary programming and business practices. In the Reality Era of WWE (2011 to the present), wrestling narratives have increasingly drawn on real-life personalities and events that stretch beyond the story-world created and maintained by WWE. At the same time, the internet and fandom have a greater influence on the company than ever before. By examining various sites of struggle and negotiation between WWE executives and in-ring performers, between the product and its fans, and between the company and the rest of the wrestling industry, the contributors to this volume highlight the role of various media platforms in shaping and disseminating WWE narratives. Treating the company and its product not merely as sports entertainment, but also as a brand, an employer, a company, a content producer, and an object of fandom, #WWE conceptualizes the evolution of professional wrestling's most successful company in the digital era.

Author Bio

Dru Jeffries teaches in the Cultural Studies department at Wilfrid Laurier University. He is author of Comic Book Film Style: Cinema at 24 Panels Per Second.



Like a great pro wrestler has a signature move for taking down a rival, every student and scholar of sports media and professional wrestling should have a book like this to help them pin down the importance of the WWE on sports and culture.


 (Adam Earnheardt, editor (with Paul Haridakis and Barbara Hugenberg) of Sports Fans, Identity, and Socialization: Exploring the Fandemonium)

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Storyworld, Wrestling, Entertainment / Dru Jeffries

Part I: Corporate Kayfabe: WWE as Media Empire

1. World Building in the WWE Universe / Eero Laine

2. The Work of Wrestling: Struggles for Creative and Industrial Power in WWE Labor / Andrew Zolides

3. Mapping the WWE Universe: Territory, Media, Capitalism / Dru Jeffries and Andrew Kannegiesser

4. Narrative Smarts: Negotiations of Creative Authority in Wrestling's Reality Era / Christian Norman

Part II: Marks and Smarts: WWE's Unruly Fandoms

5. Sport vs. Spectacle: Fan Discontent and the Rise of Sports Entertainment / Shane Toepfer

6. The Marks Have Gone Off-Script: Rogue Actors in WWE's Stands / Sam Ford

7. Botchamania and the Acoustics of Professional Wrestling / Christian B. Long

Part III: Then, Now, Forever: Wresting with WWE's Past and Transmedia Future

8. "Tout It Out": WWE's Experimentation and Failure with Social TV / Cory Barker

9. "We're Not Just Cheerleaders": Reading the Postfeminist Polysemy of Total Divas / Anna F. Peppard

10. Daniel's Specter: Daniel Bryan, Chris Benoit, and the Work of Mourning / Sean Desilets