A love for pro wrestling
Yes, I watch professional wrestling. The characters, storylines and in-ring action are all things that make the sport of professional wrestling great. They’re all things that drew me in at a young age and kept me there. It helped that my father and grandfather were big wrestling fans.
As a child of the 80s, I was lost in the hoopla of Hulk Hogan.
A self-proclaimed Hulkamaniac, I did my best to say my prayers and eat my vitamins, but I was mostly a fan because I wanted to see the Hulkster boot someone in the head and drop the leg across their face.
There was no trip to the video rental store – remember those? — that did not result in taking home a wrestling tape.
On the weekends, Ricky Steamboat, Randy Savage and the Rockers were just a couple of the superstars that kept my eyes glued to the screen and wore the tape out in my family’s VCR.
I hated heels (bad guys) like Ted DiBiase, King Kong Bundy and Bobby (The Brain) Heenan and booed mercilessly when The Ultimate Warrior beat Hogan for the belt at WrestleMania VI. Watching those tapes were standard for us.
My brother and I were lost in the theatrics behind the matches, while my dad knew the difference, but enjoyed watching anyway. My grandfather, however, always questioned whether the blows were real or not and always cheered for Andre the Giant.
There was a period in the 90s where I stopped watching all together. It wasn’t cool to watch it.
Then, I moved to Corner Brook and I discovered the Attitude Era of World Wrestling Entertainment. The walk-the-line stories being told at the time got me back into the sport. Yes, it is a sport but I’ll revisit that later.
Then I moved to independent wrestling and that’s when my love for wrestling blossomed again.
Pro wrestling is pure escapism. When done right, there is nothing that pulls you out of what troubles you than a great wrestling match.
The great ones tell a story and the athletes are able to pull you in through what they doing in the ring. The athleticism on display in the ring rivals any of the major North American sports.
Professional wrestlers are ironmen. They put their bodies on the line in a different town every night. Every time their bodies hit the mat it can be like a car crash on the body, they say, and that doesn’t include throwing themselves onto the floor, through tables and into ladders. If you’re an extreme wrestler, your body gets introduced to panes of glass, weed whackers and thumbtacks on a regular basis.
If you’re on the independents, you might have a match in some bingo hall in small town Virgnia on a Friday night followed by a match in another bingo hall in Tennessee. It’s a grind that has to be respected.
Wrestling has this ability to capture the imaginations of young and old. Kids love the larger than life characters. They don’t yet understand the mechanics behind a match, but they don’t really care.
They don’t care it’s fake. All they want is for their favourites to win.
As the wrestling fan grows older, the view of it changes. Older fans know the outcomes are fixed, they can spot the mistakes and they can see most of the moves coming. They know when a hot tag is coming in a tag team bout just by how the match feels and they quickly figure out who will win or lose.
Adults and children do have one thing in common when it comes to professional wrestling.
We don’t care that it’s fake either.