Welcome to my next article, I'm writing this more as a preview for my next listing, which is the Top 50 Greatest Wrestling Catchphrases. That will be up in around a weeks time. This article is merely stating my bond with this "sports entertainment", why I still watch it as an adult and father, and why it will probably never leave my life.
My interest started in the spring of 2001, I used to go to my friends house, his name was Matt (still good friends with him), he watched Smackdown! on a Saturday morning repeat. I told him I didn't like it, because it was fake, but he didn't care. As the weeks went by I got sucked into this world of wrestling and bad acting, sucked into the world where it was okay to put on baby oil and grapple men in their underwear. It was stupid but I loved it. I still do. I've got my fiancee into it, and my daughter likes it. I wrestle her, just like I also wrestled my siblings all those years ago, on my parents bed. The different between me wrestling and Matt wrestling is that I wasn't stiff, he used to beat me up, not that he hated me, he was just stiff. I remember one time he got me in a Walls of Jericho and he went further back than he anticipated, it felt like I had broken my back. I was obsessed with The Undertaker and Kane, The Brothers of Destruction, and always decided that if I were to be a wrestler I also would be a masked wrestler called Flesh, a crap ripoff of Kane.
My first ever PPV was WWF Invasion, but unlike everyone else, I watched this late, on S4C (the Welsh Channel 4), who played the PPV for free, just many weeks after it actually was on live. I remember hating Stone Cold for turning on the WWF and joining the Alliance. I remember thinking how hot Trish Stratus was, and how I hoped she would lose her match so I can see her in her bra and panties. But most surprisingly, I was hooked on Rob Van Dam vs Jeff Hardy for the Hardcore title, to this day one of my favourite matches. RVD hit a sick DDT on Jeff in that match, it was fantastic.
After that PPV I was hooked. I pleaded with my parents to get a Sky box, so I could watch it every week. It didn't take long for them to oblige, my mum is a softie, still is, but she wants what's best for her children even if it doesn't make financial sense. I love her eternally for that.
I didn't watch WCW, or ECW, I unfortunately started watching wrestling after they got bought by the WWF. But I did watch the end of the Attitude era, and I'm proud to say I experienced it first hand, many younger fans envy us for experiencing wrestling in its gimmick, shock value high. I was your typical casual fan for a few years, probably going up to the point where I started to read John Canton's articles, which was around 2 years later.
Eddie Guerrero was reincarnated around this time,he was in a great tag team with Chavo Guerrero, forming Los Guerreros. Unfortunately Chavo tore his biceps muscle right before the pay per view Judgement Day. Eddie needed a new partner. Around this time I discovered John Canton, an online freelance wrestling journalist and Rajah.com, a website that focuses on backstage rumours and notes. These two have since become staples in my wrestling interest even now. Rumours were abound about who Eddie Guerrero could tag with, with Tajiri's name being the focus. It turned out the rumours were true, and they won the tag titles together at the PPV. It was then that I discovered that wrestling had a real life edge to it, not that I didn't know before (I took the micky only two years ago that it was "fake"), but injuries are inevitable, and adjustments have to be made.
From that moment on I used Rajah.com, and was intrigued about how people formed their opinions wrestling. I found myself disagreeing with Canton a lot, because I liked the big guys like The Brothers of Destruction, but he taught me about kayfabe, about why wrestlers are as good as the are, and about "booking" a wrestler correctly. Slowly I started to understand. Wrestling isn't just about a moveset and a promo, it's also about backstage politics, it's about being "over" with the crowd, and being able to draw money for the wrestling company. I then started to appreciate the smaller wrestlers who had to pay their dues due to their size, the greats like Eddie Guerrero, Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit, and started to resent the bigger guys with no talent, like the A-Train, Heidenreich and Gene Snitzky. I had become a smark.
Now, nearly 10 years later, I still see wrestling in many ways. I try not to call myself a mark, a smark, or a casual fan. I try to see why wrestling is the way it is. Daniel Bryan won't become champion overnight, he may be the best wrestler in the US right now but he has a long way to go. Wade Barrett will become champion before him, because he can draw heat and because he is a big guy. Wrestling is about making money, not about pleasing the fans, that's a bonus. If you can't make the company money, you will be sent down the bathroom plug. Some wrestlers have to pay their dues for unfortunate reasons, life isn't fair and neither is the wrestling world. We learnt that with Chris Benoit, who took many a year to finally get a championship reign all the smarks said he deserved nearly 10 years before. Where as The Great Khali never should have been champion. But he is big, and is foreign, just because of what part of the world he came from he got immediate heat. Vince capitalised on that because it was easier. Wrestling can be simple sometimes.
My favourite wrestler now is Chris Jericho, and has been for sometime. Yes I still have a feeling for The Undertaker and Kane, I mean The Undertaker is great for how big a guy he is, but I appreciate everything about wrestling, and Jericho is the complete wrestler. He can be a face, he can be a heel, he is great on the mic, he is great in the ring, he can draw money. He is popular with the casual fans and the smarks. That is pretty much it about being the complete wrestler.
My favourite feud is Eddie Guerrero vs Rey Mysterio. Eddie Guerrero for me was the best heel I've ever seen, no matter how short his heel reign was. He was a sick bastard, and he knew how to draw that crowd against him. His feud was brilliant, when he suplexed Mysterio on the ring steps my heart came out of my mouth. When he did his disturbing promo with Rey's mask I cringed. It's a shame the matches weren't as good as they should have been.
Which brings me to my favourite match. The best match I have ever seen is probably Shawn Michaels vs The Undertaker at Wrestlemania 25. That was just a brilliant showcase between two great veterans. I also appreciated that match to its fullest as any type of wrestling fan, it was a great spectacle for anyone to watch. Their rematch this year was almost as good.
I just wanted to write this article just as an introduction for myself into writing about this thing called wrestling. I hope to write a good few articles about recent events from now on. But for now, get ready for my Top 50 Catchphrases next week.
As Foley would say, have a nice day!