Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Why We Watch...

I distinctly remember the beginning of my relationship with professional wrestling. I was taking advantage of the opportunity that having a babysitter gives you. Long past my bedtime, I was sitting on the couch in my pajamas. With a tootsie pop in my mouth, I flipped the channel to Saturday Night's Main Event. I saw Hulk Hogan and Randy "Macho Man" Savage and it was as if He-Man had become real. The fuse was ignited that night that would eventually make the MegaPowers explode at that year's WrestleMania. During a match with the Twin Towers, Savage was tossed violently into Elizabeth. Hogan went to the back to help her, leaving Savage alone to face Akeem and the Bossman. I thought back then that if I only had a few minutes with Hogan and Savage I could help them squash their beef. Twenty years later, I still feel that way.

Sooner than later I found the National Wrestling Alliance/World Championship Wrestling on TV. I remember being amazed watching an I Quit match between Terry Funk and Ric Flair on free TV at the Clash of the Champions.

I loved the main events, but I always had an eye towards the midcard. It always seemed to be the case that I would find a cool heel to enjoy just up until they turned him babyface and the whole world loved him. Examples of this were Shawn Michaels and The Rock. About the only heel that didn't lose something when he became top mainstream babyface was John Cena, and that's cause half the fans still hated him always.

There is something special about feeling ownership of a wrestler, and I'd argue that that is why we watch. Remembering Bret Hart's days in the Hart Foundation or Steve Austin's days in the Dangerous Alliance make it that much sweeter when they meet as major stars at WrestleMania 13.

Today I look at Shelton Benjamin and Elijah Burke with the same anticipation I have previously looked at Brian Pillman, Randy Orton, Buff Bagwell, and Droz with. Of course sometimes it works out, and sometimes it doesn't.

Still, it's hard not to be cynical when you can think fondly on the old days and imagine Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Randy Savage, Sting, The Ultimate Warrior, Rick Rude, Vader, Jake Roberts, Arn Anderson, Ted Dibiase, and others at their peak.

It's also difficult to remember tag teams like Demolition, the Road Warriors, The Rockers, Doom, The Skyscrapers, the Midnight Express, and so many more and not long for them.

Even the days when WCCW, USWA, or GWF would come on ESPN on Wednesday afternoons bring some nostalgia.

By comparison when you compare today's wrestling atmosphere to all the memories of the past 20 years, it just doesn't compare. Still, we watch…

We watch because we are waiting for the next big breakthrough. Will it be Mr. Kennedy? Will it be Jeff Hardy? Only time will tell.

We watch because some of those larger than life characters we remember are still around like the Undertaker and Shawn Michaels, and they have been intertwined with those we've learned to care about in the meantime like Edge, Triple H, and Rey Mysterio.

We watch because even though we aren't likely to see a big interesting defection the way we did during the old WCW/WWE days, we can still mark out months after waiting for Chris Jericho to return on TV, because that moment when he does will undoubtedly be incredible.

We watch because Cody Rhodes and DH Hart keep us grounded and remind us where we came from. We watch because new generation stars like AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels show us where we are going.

We watch because every week Jay Lethal or Santino Marella is going to do that little something extra that makes us smile.

No matter how disillusioned we get with what wrestling is and no matter how much better we think it could be, we watch.

Now I am certainly not going to sit in any bleachers and cry that it's still real to me, damnit. I am not sure that it ever was real to me. It was larger than life.

A few weeks ago I sat at a local Indy show in the bleachers about to cry because the first half of the show was incredibly bad. It picked up though, and by the end I felt I had gotten my money's worth.

In a time where the most newsworthy wrestling happenings involved Candice Michelle falling on her face, I struggle to write, but I refuse to just dump on the product.

Is it easy to come up with anti-WWE and anti-TNA banter? Of course. Right now I probably like wrestling less than I have at any point in the past 20 years, but still I watch.

Professional wrestling seems to have cast a weird spell over thousands. It's one that those who aren't under will never understand. Those of use who are don't even get it sometimes.

Maybe I will never get the wrestling show I wish for until I get to heaven. I assume that at 25 years old, by the time I get there all my favorites will be there with me.

Rest In Peace to all the former warriors of the squared circle. Your contributions are why we are here today. You are fondly remembered and greatly missed.

The Outcast, the Legend, the Wolf is back for another opinionated commentary:

When I first read the teaser to your current column, I thought that Vince had fired the fans again, but then I wondered, how can you fire someone that you haven't paid, have constantly berated for being wrong, whom you've constantly given one thing when they've been asking for something completely different, who have seen your ass more times than they've seen Jenna Haze's (and seeing as most of the core fans are teenage boys with internet service, that's a lot of times!) and with everything that you've done they keep coming back for more as if the cookies on this side of the fence are better.

But since the column isn't about US getting fired, I'll talk about the guys that you mention while I keep checking the mail box for that check from Vince (hell, with all the ideas that he's stolen from the internet, I'm shocked that he hasn't sent out a check, and that he keeps shutting down e-feds. they're a gold mine to him!)

Seeing Teddy Hart get the axe is SOOOOOOOOOOO Shocking to me (did I lay on the sarcasm enough? Ya think so? Ok, moving on) why do people keep signing this guy? (quick check on the last name and ok, I guess we know!) Ya think if Kid Kash were Kid Hart that he'd get that many chances? Exactly. I say, let the guy rot in the independents until he gets his desire, energy, and a respect for the business that he is riding the coattails of. If he ever grows up and stops using his name as a springboard then things might turn up better. If he does not, then he'll be the worst Hart ever (Including Bruce. C'mon, he might have been all right in the ring, but he had the personality of a cheese-it!).

To Ryan O'Reilly and Krissy Vaine I have this to say: HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!! You two are the dumbest mutha f*ckas on the planet! You wait until you get called up to leave the company? If you two are really in love, suck it up (once again this is a FAMILY show, so minds out of the gutter) and deal with it. You obviously don't care about the business if you are ready to leave the biggest company around so that you can be close to each other. Hell, one Sunday a month you'll be in the same building, and that right there is more than I see my wife sometimes AND WE LIVE TOGETHER! Go to TNA where you'll be two more people who don't get any face time and wonder why you chose love over the passion for the business that brought you both together. See what happens if you two don't last. You won't get another chance that easily!

As far as Daivari is concerned, the guy lasted longer than I ever expected one they bailed out on the whole Hassan thing (although if they put them on Raw and run with it, they would've been KILLER heels) he had a decent run, made what I'm sure is a decent amount of money and I'm sure had a blast for the most part living his dream (unlike Hollywood Hassan who seemed to only want fame!) Good Luck to him, although he'll need a little bit of a gimmick change.

Now for the release you've all been waiting for me to comment on, King BOOKA And Queen Sharmell! For someone who gave everything he had for the last zillion years or so, did everything that he was asked since he's been apart of the WWEmpire, they treated him like crap the entire time, and he didn't deserve it! Should he get a title run on his way out of the door? No, but a nice send off would be better than "The WWE has come to terms with..." It's insulting to him and anyone who is a fan of his. But then again, something tells me that if Shane pissed off Vince enough (We all know that Steph couldn't possibly piss him off, so it'll have to be Shane) then the only thing we'd see is "The WWE has come to terms with the contractual release of one Shane O' Mac. We wish him well in all future endeavors." All kidding aside, if Book wasn't so closely linked to WCW his send off would be much more celebrated, no matter what. Just look at how many times Hogan's gotten the warm send off, and Vince HATES him now! Not that Book was ever at Hogan or Flair levels, but you get the idea. All in all, I hope that TNA gives him a short, midcard send off for a couple of months, and he beats someone like Christian Cage or Scott Steiner in his "final" "big two/three/four" match.

Then again, knowing TNA, they'll sign him and (Points thumbs at himself) R...V...D! And recreate the most misused and misguided tag teams in the history of wrestling. RVD and Booker should've never been a team. That's almost as dumb as X-Pac and Kane!

I agree Wolf. X-Pac and Kane were a horrible tag team. Here, watch the greatest tag team of all time in the match that made me a wrestling fan.

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