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LaBar: It's not fake, and it's no longer the WWF

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Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Sunday, Sept. 1, 2013, 8:36 p.m.
 

On this Labor Day holiday, it's likely you'll end up in conversation about interests and personal preferences ― which could mean you have to defend and answer questions about professional wrestling.

Allow me to offer some preparation with questions or statements you might encounter and how to educate or fire back at someone.

You still watching that WWF stuff?

It's WWE now. Been that way since 2002. And, yes, I still watch it.

You know it's fake, right?

It's got more reality in it than “Breaking Bad,” “True Blood” or anything you probably watch that labels itself a reality show.

Well, no, but they aren't really hurting each other?

It isn't as real as it can be, and it ain't as fake as it could be. They are trying to make it look as violent as possible while protecting each other. It's live theater with stunts. It's a soap opera that has a wrestling ring for a backdrop.

Wrestling is a for bunch of nerds who have never gotten a girl.

Yeah, and you getting together with 11 other dudes staring at a computer screaming out NFL players names for a draft that's called “fantasy” doesn't give a nerd or lonely vibe at all.

How old Is Hulk Hogan? He's gotta be 80 by now?

He's 60. It seems like he's older because he's looked 60 his entire career with the balding and color of his hair.

How many guys have played the Ultimate Warrior?

Just one crazy guy named Warrior.

Do they all do steroids?

WWE has a company wellness policy with the intent to keep the wrestlers clean. Is it perfect, probably not, but it's probably cleaner than baseball.

You don't think they're athletes do you? The outcome is predetermined.

You try getting in a wrestling ring for one day and see how you feel.

And, then of course, you might have someone who starts to want to talk wrestling because either you brought it up, or they want to make conversation, and you'll get...

Awe, you watch that stuff, too? Cool. Yeah, we love going to the Buffalo Wild Wings on Saturday nights to watch the pay-per-views.

Shake your head, take another drink and just be happy you're off work for Labor Day.

Trib Total Media staffer Justin LaBar's pro wrestling column runs Monday and Friday.

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