Posted 25 February 2013 - 06:30 AM
Well JQ, I think a Marxist critique of wrestling would be very easy to do. It would take the form of your standard Althusserian ideology critique -- the ideologies and values being promoted and perpetuated are embodied in the faces, those against which they define themselves are embodied in the heels.
The only complication comes in the Attitude era, especially with Austin and those sections of the fans who cheered for the NWO. For that, I'd switch to a Foucauldian analysis of power relations and rearticulate the standard line on power-containment, i.e. the dominant power actively fosters dissidence only to contain that dissidence. In the Austin case, the WWF were actively fostering a dissident perspective in Austin, but in fact the net result of what they were doing reinforced the status quo (i.e. everyone gives their money to the The Man aka Vince). The narrative of dissidence is entirely contained in the product -- the same fans who cheer wildly for Austin and boo Mr. McMahon, are the same fans giving their money to the real Mr. McMahon for tickets, Austin t-shirts and so on. It's not real dissidence but the illusion of dissidence.
Wrestling lends itself almost too readily to this sort of analysis, to the point where actually making it feels a little trite (because the conclusions feel so obvious).