Thursday, 28 August 2008

Twenty years

I turn twenty tomorrow. It happens to be the 20th anniversary of the first ever Summerslam too. Here's my look back on my 20 years in and out of pro wrestling.

I loved wrestling from a very early age. I had all of the action figures - Hulk Hogan, Roddy Piper, Jake the Snake, The Undertaker, The Ultimate Warrior - the list goes on.

I loved everything about it. But the thing was that I never actually watched it. Wrestling was only really shown on Sky, and guess what we didn't have!

Yup, wrestling was my favourite thing in the world and I'd never actually watched it.

I'd learn about it from the older kids in the street who did have Sky. They taught me everything I needed to know. I've known the Ultimate Warrior's entrance theme for what seems like eternity. I even named my bike "The Ultimate Warrior". Though if I'd have done that now, I'd obviously be sued by the man-mental himself.

Having not seen any wrestling, I had no idea that it was about good guys and bad guys. Just look at the short list of action figures up there. They were all my favourites, but how many of them have always been face? I was a four year old who, in 1992, thought heels were the best. I pre-date the IWC by pretty much an entire decade!

There was then a period where I didn't really think about wrestling. It was probably about 5 or 6 years. But then we got Sky. The engineer was just doing a demo and happened to put wrestling on.

Lo and behold, I see the very same Undertaker that I had an action figure of when I was younger. He was in an inferno match against Kane. The only difference was that Taker was more gothic. But I was captured by the magic of wrestling again. The object of the match was to set your opponent on fire! As a 9 year old, this was unbelievable. Add to that the fact that Paul Bearer came down to the ring and set a teddy bear on fire to make Vince McMahon break down in tears, and you're talking entertainment.

If l337 had been invented back then, my mind would have been thinking "WTF?!".

I was hooked into it at a great time. The Corporation and the Ministry of Darkness were going at it. Edge and Christian had recently debut'd and were ripping up the undercard, as were the Hardyz. And did I mention D-X? The Attitude era is often looked back on fondly, and it's not just because it's looked at nostalgically, it was an excellent time to be a wrestling fan. X-Pac was credible enough to be my favourite wrestler at the time! Though having said that, I do miss the fact that I can't suspend my disbelief anything like I used to be able to.

But it was all a mystery to me. I knew it was "fake". But I didn't know how fake. I thought they might know a few moves in a match and maybe the ending, but the feuds were something beyond that, they actually felt real.

I eventually lost interest again due to becoming a teenager and doing other things and being teased for liking wrestling.

This was around the time Brock Lesnar was getting pushed and wrestlers' entrance music started to suck. All the music started to suck. Compare this to what you have now. Notice the absence of women in the montage too (with the exception of Trish Stratus getting put through a table from the top rope and Chyna who doesn't even count). Wrestling had balls at that time. That music meant "YEAH! MANLY WRESTLING TIME!". The music for Raw now just means "Oh it's that stupid band whose record company got them onto Raw, must be time for wrestling". It's no wonder I drifted away from wrestling.

I got back into wrestling about 2 or 3 years ago thanks to my meeting of now good friend Chris Brooker. He is the rainman of wrestling. Ask him anything, and he will give you the answer. Forget about using Wikipedia, this is your source from now on.

I got back into it because I saw how much he loved wrestling and thought that it was something that I used to love, so why couldn't I enjoy it as much as he did now? Well, quite simply, the quality of it was a reason to not enjoy it. Some people might say that John Cena was enough reason to not watch it. But I got back into it, maybe even in spite of myself. A few months later I was off to see my first ever live wrestling event. Goldust was even on the card. It turned out that not a lot had changed!

Wrestling will always be there in my life. I was born on the same day as Summerslam, it must be something to do with fate!

Interestingly I share my birthday with Michael Jackson, Lenny Henry and GG Allin. GG Allin is particularly interesting because of the severity of his mentalness. Known for being an outrageous performer and for crapping onstage and being naked and general violence at his shows, his final gig had him throwing himself through a sheet of glass while naked before marching the crowd at the show through the streets of Manhattan to get to the after party. Having taken a bit too much heroin, GG died. Except everybody at the party thought he was just doing an Andrew WK and was partying a bit too hard. Fans posed for pictures with the "passed out" GG while he was covered in excrement and dead.

What does this have to do with wrestling? A few years ago, VH1 made a list of the "most outrageous moments in music". The night of GG Allin's death only made number 4 on the list. Number one was a certain singer who, while past her heyday, was performing outdoors and a bird managed to hit the bullseye and crap directly into her mouth. This singer was of course everybody's favourite faux-gypsy Cyndi Lauper, an integral part of the MTV rock and wrestling connection that exposed WWF to a mainstream audience back in the day. Heck, Lou Albano is even in the video for 'Girls just wanna have fun'!

Anyway, who remembers hardcore matches?!

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rock said...

Damn, dude you're making me feel old.
I remember hardcore matches, but hardcore matches have been around forever. I was about eight when I saw Roddy Piper and Greg Valentine's classic dog collar match. I've had the same in and out relationship with wrestling over the years, but I always come back for more punishment. Unfortunately, every time I drift away though, it seems like I stay away a little longer each time.

Leighsus Christ said...

I'm in this for the long haul now. I know it.

Every time I look at wrestling forums though, I die a little inside.

rock said...

I find myself more and more just going back through the archives and paying more attention to the history of wrestling than anything else. I've been listening to a bunch of the RF shoots and some of those are really good.