Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Aisha Durham, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Aubrey Huber, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Chris McRae, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sara Green, Ph.D.


body, early death, injury, mark, precarity


This study centers and examines the laboring body of the professional wrestler as it moves and works through professional wrestling training. I put forth debility as a theoretical framework to naming and understanding the ways that long-term bodily wear and early death becomes an acceptable cost of doing business for the wrestling industry. Dreams of achieving wealth, fame, and stability while escaping precarity and obscurity draw fans toward joining the industry, and these dreams work to maintain a working culture that takes for granted the ways that the wrestler’s body is marked for disposability, wearing down, and early death. I connect my experiences and those of my fellow trainees and trainers to industry media texts to trace the individuating, driving discourse of the dream from the highest levels of the industry to the entry levels. I trace my interconnected relationships to professional wrestling as a fan, researcher, and trainee to feel and mine the experience through my own body, experiencing the tensions in training and doing research as a lifelong fan with a dream of my own.

Included in

Communication Commons