Three times in the past month, a relatively sane group of college boys (myself chief among them) relaxing at a random party were coaxed into a fiery, unhinged bout of nostalgia and zeal (complete with howled catchphrases and drunken imitations) at the mere mention of one word: Wrestling.

Andrew Skidmore

But why, when The Rock is now a C-list Hollywood freak? Why, when the beer-fueled war machine and culturally transcendent Stone Cold Steve Austin is old, and one bad “bump” (the term used for any fall) away from a wheelchair. Why, when Shawn Michaels, who in the mid-’80s gyrated around the ring in chaps, is a born-again Christian who often refuses storylines he deems too scandalous.

Because aside from our heroic nostalgia, wrestling is interesting at its core.

Defending wrestling breaks down like this. It’s fake; everyone knows that. Get over it. You know how “Swan Lake” is going to end, too.

Physical storytelling, the tight choreographing of moves, the amazing ability the performers have to not kill each other while making it look like they actually are – these are the qualities that make wrestling entertaining, and, yes, perhaps a bit deeper than you think.

If you like huge wrestlers, titanic, impressive production values and plots that blend surprising amounts of drama with actual wrestling, World Wrestling Entertainment – a longtime industry giant – looms large. The second major American promotion, Total Nonstop Action, has skimpier sets and stories, but makes up for it with an athletic style heavily influenced by Mexican and Japanese techniques.

OK, OK, maybe that’s more about wrestling than you wanted to know. The point is, cut us some slack. At least we’re not into meth!

And besides, if I pretend to care about “Grey’s Anatomy” (OMG! I’m totally a doctor!), the least you can do is tolerate a few chair shots.

McGarvey leaps off chairs when wasted. E-mail evanbmcg@umich.edu.

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