Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Ted Friedman - Chair

Second Advisor

Angelo Restivo

Third Advisor

Kathy Fuller-Seeley


This analysis of the professional wrestling genre attempts to understand the complex reading practices employed by wrestling’s fan community. I argue that wrestling fans consume these texts in the context of both the official narratives of media producers and the meta-narratives that exist independently of the official texts. In addition, I argue that wrestling fans display characteristics normally reserved for traditional media producers, collaborating with those producers over the direction of the official narratives. This process of collaboration is indicative of the blurring of the boundaries between textual producers and consumers and necessitates a theoretical conception of the audience that accounts for these unique fan practices. I have called this audience conception the productive audience model.