13. David Shoemaker (aka The Masked Man)
Twitter Handle: @AKATheMaskedMan
Writes At: Grantland/Deadspin
Outgrowing professional wrestling is a rite of passage. We bet many of you look back with deep sadness on the day you decided to send your Hulk Hogan Wrestling Buddy and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin bedsheets to Goodwill. Because of that hole in our lives, we're thankful that David Shoemaker never walked away from squared circle fandom.
Shoemaker's work forces you to reconsider professional wrestling; he makes a compelling argument that the WWE might be the best thermometer of the cultural temperature we have. While many of our favorite TV bloggers focus on Girls, Mad Men, and other low-rated premium offerings, Shoemaker writes about a show that is approaching its thirty-fifth season and boasts fourteen million fans worldwide.
He does so with a depth, passion, and thoughtfulness that is hard to match. His recent piece for Grantland, "Survivalist Series: WWE vs. Glenn Beck," grappled with the evolving relationship between wrestling and conservative politics. His ongoing coverage of CMPunk has used the WWE star as a means to examine how pro wrestling has embraced its own artifice as a means of survival in a world that craves authenticity.
For those of you who prefer your Pro Wrestling without a side of heady criticism, Shoemaker proves himself an able historian and rabid fan of the wrestling world with features like his "Dead Wrestler of the Week," and his "Bettors Guide to the WWE Royal Rumble." Just like the WWE is best enjoyed when you stop fretting about whether not it's "real," you'll enjoy Shoemaker most if you take wrestling as seriously as he does.