What Scholars are Fans of Professional Wrestling? Towards a “Canonical” List

Many of my regular readers will no doubt be aware that one of my idiosyncracies is that I am a big professional fan.  Indeed, I have been for the past 20 years.  I have always been a bit of an anomaly to many given I am a student, now scholar, of the biblical text who watches professional wrestling . . . no pun intended . . . religiously.  But in the past few years it has been brought to my attention that there exists a small quorum of scholars who are indeed professional wrestling fans.  Thus far I have compiled a quite modest sized list.  Myself.  Patrick Miller had been rumored for a while, and Carol Newsom of Emory recently corroborated this point.  Similarly, I had heard that Walter Brueggemann was a fan; I can now confirm that is not the case.  He has told me he has watched but does not consider himself a fan.

I also faintly recall from an earlier post on Bryan Bibb’s blog (I think) that a great many Princeton folk are wrestling fans.  Perhaps Bryan can weigh-in . . . I don’t recall if Bryan himself is a fan, but I do recall Rolf Jacobsen of Luther Seminary’s name coming up. 

I will continue to update this list as more names come up . . . stories, anecdotes, and other germane matters are welcome:

Biblical Scholars who are Pro Wrestling Fans

John E. Anderson – Baylor University (fan since Jan 19, 1990)
          *All-time favorite wrestler: Hulk Hogan
          *Current favorite wrestler: Shawn Michaels

Patrick Miller – Princeton Theological Seminary

Rolf Jacobson – Luther Seminary (former fan)
          *Favorite wrestlers: Baron Von Raschke, Mad Dog Vachon, Road Warriors

James Crossley – University of Sheffield


14 thoughts on “What Scholars are Fans of Professional Wrestling? Towards a “Canonical” List

  1. Rolf Jacobson says:

    I will own that I used to watch wrestling, back when it was good. My all-time favorite wrestler is Baron Von Raschke. Mad Dog Vachon and the Road Warriors come in as a close second.

    I couldn’t even name one current wrestler.

  2. John Anderson says:

    Thanks, Rolf. I have made the sad adjustment to noting you as a “former fan.”

    As a fan of 20 years myself, and a bit of a weirdo (aren’t we all?!), I am well aware of folk like Von Raschke and Vachon and, of course, the Road Warriors. Classics. Von Raschke always made me laugh in the old AWA, and still does when I watch the reruns on ESPN Classic.

    When, specifically, did you stop watching, and for any particular reason?

    Also, are you willing (or able) to ‘out’ any other academics as pro wrestling fans?

  3. dannyfrese says:

    Let me get this straight – you’re making a list of supposedly intelligent academics who routinely and purposely subject themselves to the most inane and patently fake nonsense available for entertainment? And, further, you have personally done so for 20 years?

    Deleting you from my RSS feeder now…

    • John Anderson says:


      Yep, you got it right. And I can’t quibble with your logic at all . . . it is flawless. That sounds like a perfect reason to delete me from your RSS feeds. You, my friend, are both a scholar and a gentleman. I am intrigued that this is what drove you away.

      Oh, and just to clarify, you know–to be fair–make sure you don’t read any books or articles by those “supposedly intelligent academics” Rolf Jacobson and/or Patrick Miller. It is beyond clear that the fact they are/were wrestling fans disqualifies them a priori from doing any sort of responsible or thoughtful scholarship. I am glad I finally have a litmus test against which I can judge what is and is not worthy of reading, both in academia and the blogging world. All I need to do is check one’s credentials . . . let’s see, are you a pro wrestling fan? No, ok, you must be writing something with which I agree! This makes things so much easier now . . . not so much reading involved! (wink).

      (And just to be clear, for others . . . please sense the sarcasm).

      And on a serious, more cordial note . . . good luck on your two SBL papers, Danny.

  4. Mike Koke says:

    I am not a wrestling fan anymore, but I used to be a big one as a kid and had the WWF magazines and got to see a couple live shows. As a Canadian my favourite wrestler was Bret the Hitman Hart 🙂 Shawn Michaels is pretty good too. And I find all the drama that goes on behind the scenes when you watch some of the documentaries to be more interesting than the show itself.

  5. John Anderson says:

    Mike: It is quite dramatic behind the curtain. I think all of us were fans at one point or another.

    Danny To clarify, Danny and I are just razzing one another. I don’t know that I made that patently clear in my statement above, saying “sense the sarcasm.” All in good fun . . . just so everyone is on the same page.

    And do check out Danny’s two papers at SBL!

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