The Pop Culture Lens

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Episode 19: Convergent Wrestling

December 26th, 2015

On this nineteenth episode of The Pop Culture Lens, CarrieLynn Reinhard and Christopher Olson present the final special episode: a recording of a panel discussion from the 2015 Midwest Popular Culture Association Conference. This panel discusses the topic of professional wrestling from a specific theoretical lens, that of convergence culture. This panel reflects a research interest and book project of the co-hosts; more about this project can be found at this website.

Each panelist analyzed a different aspect of professional wrestling, and in particular the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) as the largest wrestling federation, in how that aspect relates to the concept of convergence.

  • Christopher Olson (Dominican University) gave the overview of how the true nature of professional wrestling consists of different types of convergences.
  • Jessica Rodocker (Bowling Green State University) presented an ethnography she has been conducting with smarks, wrestling fans that engage in active and participatory fan practices.
  • Chris Medjesky (Defiance College) discussed his analysis of classic WWF feuds for how they represent real world conflicts and thus provide the means by which fans make sense of the world.
  • Kathie Kallevig (Winona State University) uses her fandom of professional wrestling to contextualize her argument for why #DivasRevolution is not the revolution women's wrestling needs.

As an academic discussion, anyone in the audience of this podcast should feel free to engage in the dialogue about these issues, here and on our other social media accounts. You can also talk with Christopher Olson on Twitter (@chrstphrolson) and at his academic blog And you can talk to CarrieLynn Reinhard on Twitter (@mediaoracle) and at her website

The end music for this episode samples from Sasha Banks' entrance music, which you can download on iTunes here. And try converging it with this classic bit from the cartoon Adventure Time.