Saturday, October 26, 2013

I Love Wrestling

I've comes to grips with it. Wrestling is in my blood. It's not going anywhere.

WWF Saturday Night's Main Event, Oct. 3, 1987

One of my earliest memories. I was 5 years old. It was Saturday night. I was in my pajamas sitting on the floor Indian style playing with my G.I. Joe Amphibious Personnel Carrier. It was a great vehicle because it could hold over 20 action figures like a giant toy school bus. I stared up at the TV. What I saw has invaded my dreams and psyche ever since. It wasn't until just now I was able to dig up proof of its existence. The wild samoan Sika and the larger than life Hulk Hogan cutting promos on each other in lieu of their battle. I was mesmerized. Funny anecdote, I'd always believed Sika was eating a massive, long piece of bread, like a baguette. Now, some 26 years later I realize it was in fact something much more ghastly, a lifeless chicken which he bites directly into!

Ever since that moment I've been hooked. I've liked a lot of stuff over the years, call them hobbies, cartoons, movies, toys, games, comics, NBA, the outdoors like parks, food, books, etc. Many of these have been lifelong pursuits. But wrestling ranks at the very top. It's the most pervasive. It's been in my mind and a part of my daily life. Even at my busiest moments, commuting to three different campuses' for college while holding down a job, I'd still squeeze in matches on my laptop in-between classes and go on trips to live shows with friends, even now, with two babies, running my full-time website Review the World, and working a demanding job, not a day goes by that I don't watch a few matches.

I've always said that I'm a rare breed of a fan that likes it all. If pressed certainly I could rank favorites among the various styles and companies but in general I love all wrestling. Today's community of fans on the Internet typically have strong opinions. I genuinely love watching it all and my only unrealistic gripe is the inability to see everything!

During the heyday of Never Hand Over when we were running on all cylinders ushered one of the highlights of my fandom. We were having near weekly DVD nights at my apartment or at my friend Adam's house watching hours upon hours of wrestling. Sometimes we'd even do insane marathon sessions like "All Day Savage" where we spent 9+ consecutive hours watching "Macho Man" Randy Savage footage. It was during these fun tilts I coined phrases like "these discs won't watch themselves!" and we'd routinely kid around about "studying" our favorite subject.

Growing up as a kid I loved watching WCW and WWF (and anything else I could occasionally get my hands on). As a teen with some disposable income I started collecting tapes and recording shows amassing a large collection which, as a young adult, via the resources of the Internet, really expanded to include wrestling from all over the world and from all eras. I still enjoy the mainstream product and never miss a show. But I also love the physical style in Japan, and the dives, costumes, and culture in Mexico. I love the independent scene. I have hundreds and hundreds of shows from ROH, PWG, Chikara, CZW, FIP, DGUSA, Evolve, IWA Mid-South and East Coast, and dozens and dozens more. I eat that stuff up. I love classics -- for example the DVDVR '80's sets set the gold standard giving people like myself exposure to stuff we'd only ever read about like Mid-South, Memphis, Texas, AWA, etc.

Just yesterday I watched ten or so matches completely different from the last. Guys bludgeoning each other in a small gymnasium for IWA MS, the goofiness of Team Osaka Pro in Chikara, DiBiase and Roberts at an '80's house show exhibiting mastery of technique beyond compare, and one of the damnedest things I've ever seen, Drake Younger and Danny Havoc at Cage of Death XI taking some of the sickest bumps imaginable.

I look back at moments of solitude in my childhood, while my brother was off doing his thing, my parents theirs, and many of those moments I cherish and hold dear, I was in my room with wrestling. Reading wrestling magazines, playing with my wrestling toys enacting my own epic battles in the ring unless the action spilled out over my room, and above all else, watching wrestling. I remember watching scrambled black and white broadcasts barely visible by playing with the tuner to try to see pay-per-view events for free long before the days of digital. I remember being bored in '96 at 13 and stumbling upon CWA Bodyguards vs. Bandits from the Sportatorium in Texas, sneaking away from my family's dinner in the living room, absconding away with a few slices of pizza, and watching with interest this a bizarre 12 Man Tag Team Football match that went 27 min. but felt like 50.

In two weeks I'm flying solo to a TNA iMPACT! live show and TV taping. And the fact that I have to miss ROH live days before due to scheduling issues drives me nutty. My drive to be at shows, stay up on the current product, and see as many DVDs as I can is a passion I no longer look at with any skepticism. The bottom line: wrestling makes me happy. For some people it's sports, or crafts, or any other hundreds of interests and pursuits, wrestling is mine.

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