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Sunday, October 05, 2008

HOW TO MAKE A WRESTLING FAN

EASY? No. POSSIBLE? Absolutely.



The most worthwhile things we do never come easily.

Can creating new wrestling fans really be called worthwhile? Maybe, maybe not. We wrestling fans do not have it easy. Public perception usually works against us. Popular culture's judges long ago and far away deemed our chosen entertainment form a sideshow attraction, a comical, low-brow farce.

I can't say I disagree. After all, if you know your history, wrestling began as a sideshow attraction.

I blame Vincent Kennedy McMahon for the ridicule and raised-eyebrows forcing me to defend wrestling's identity. His success mainstream America his over-the-top sideshow in two different phenomenal boom eras wins him my thanks. You see my conundrum.

I can't exactly call that fence comfortable. I can defend the semi-improvisational drama woven by such masters as "Nature Boy" Ric Flair, Harley Race, Ricky Steamboat, Bret Hart, "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig and others until my face turns blue as Owen Hart's alter-ego. It takes exactly one "Katie Vick" or "David Arquette, WCW Champion" to instantly make me a jabbering mental patient with an IQ of 40.

It never fails: people see the worst, turn to share a laugh with the other naysayers, and miss the redeeming things.

Most people consider wrestling fans to be the shallow dim-witted ones, to my amazement. I challenge you to find people more judgmental fans with limited capacity to make valid arguments in their defense than wrestling's naysayers. You could find someone who willingly sits with you "objectively" watching Chris Benoit battle Kurt Angle or Sting battle Ric Flair.

Their response, paraphrased only slightly:

"Steroids steroids FAKE steroids steroids GAY DUDES ROLLING AROUND WITH EACH steroids FAKE steroids I SAW TRIPLE H HUMP A CORPSE ONCE, THAT WAS GAY AND FAKE steroids BENOIT steroids."

That, or . . .

"So does Hulk Hogan still wrestle?"

I can't honestly decide which response I prefer hearing. I really can't.

So many people won't try something before knocking it, that we the fans have one hope, and one hope only: if someone comes across even passably interested in watching wrestling, show them the good stuff. Sell them the business's merits. Make it clear we hate the same things about the business they find stupid, inane, and credulity straining.

How do we do that, though? Throwing someone who didn't waste a moment watching wrestling once either Hogan left the WWF, or Steve Austin and The Rock moved on, right into Ric Flair and Ricky Steamboat wouldn't necessarily work. Coax the sheep gently.

I hope I can demonstrate the path to that for you. I've done it a few times, but none more notably than making my wonderful fiancee, Alexis. But I want to save that for next time....



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