I have to admit, it has been a while. No, not since I have seen a Kevin Nash mat classic, but since I have been legitimately excited about wrestling. These last few weeks have done it for me. Ever since the end of the Monday Night Wars, wrestling has never been quite the same. Now, I’m not saying that we are in store for that, but at least wrestling fans are getting excited. At least I’m starting to really get into it again. It has been too long since wrestling has really made me care, really made me go out of my way to pay attention, and really made me want to have it at the top of my brain every week.
I have to admit, recently was the first time in a long time that I really wanted to sit down on a Monday night and catch what was going on in the world of wrestling. Both in WWE and in TNA, I regret that I had to miss both shows. For the first time in a while, I wanted to find a bar, a neighbor, or anyone with a TV so that I could watch at least the last hour of each show. Hell, I would have watched it in the back of an abandoned car on a small little TV like the people did on the WrestleMania X-Seven video package if I had to. If next Monday you see someone sitting outside your window while you watch wrestling, don’t fret, that’s probably me. Either that or it’s Steve Austin coming in…but please don’t pull a Brian Pillman and brandish a gun.
Now, let me inform you, back in the day, I was in love with wrestling so much that I used to watch the Pay-Per-Views blurred with all the squiggly lines just so that I could hear the commentary on them. This happened numerous times, and in retrospect I now realize why my mom thought I needed to go out more often. But, it has provided me with these memories to write about. I knew it was all for a good cause. I still remember the second I turned on Over The Edge to hear Jim Ross announcing Owen Hart’s fall. If wrestling can get me to the point of caring once again where I am staring at a TV screen with no real picture just listening, I will know it is time to start dating more often. My mom might enforce it at that point, and she can, because she is The Big Boss Woman.
I was unable to see either Impact or Raw due to my radio show, but I made it a point to watch all the clips that were posted online as soon as I got home. In addition, just last night, I watched the entire episode of Impact online at Youtube. Thanks TNA, for being so internet fan friendly! It was great to catch every little segment to see how they produced it, and to see in what direction they intend to go creatively. For Raw, I ended up catching the entire Bret Hart speech and the Shawn Michaels segment as well as the entire Bret Hart-Vince McMahon confrontation at the end. I couldn’t find much more than that online, since WWE is always a stickler when it comes to copyright infringement. Nothing like The Brian Kendrick calling the kettle Booker T, since WWE basically stole the entire Attitude Era gimmick from ECW. If you got that last wordplay, I am going to be like my mother and say that you watch too much wrestling and need to get out more. Just call me Ray Traylor.
In addition to watching the shows as much as I could, I also read as many reviews as possible on each show. I got home and excitedly turned on the computer to see what had happened. I wanted to know who was going where, who was doing what, and in what way the business was changing. It was fun reading the opinions of others, looking at photographs, and checking the TNA and WWE websites to see what they had to say about their own product. I haven’t been like this for wrestling since I sat in my room my entire high school years watching wrestling every night, over and over.
I am a huge wrestling fan. I have been for a long time. Wrestling has been a part of my life since I was a kid. However, sometimes it takes different forms. Sometimes I am more into it than others. When I was a kid, wrestling was a huge part of my life. I fell off for a little while, until in late 1998 I was brought back in with the ECW Theft Era…err…Attitude Era. Now, within that time frame, I watched enough wrestling, studied enough wrestling, and had wrestling on my mind enough for an entire lifetime. I taped every single RAW, Smackdown, Heat, and whatever else show was playing throughout the years. No, you cannot have a key to my house, and yes, I could give Vince a pretty good run for his money in the video vault category. Although, who wants VHS? I do…sorry, I am still living in 1990 in my head.
Over the last few years, I have had a lot of changes come my way, with other interests motivating me to do other things other than sit and my room and watch wrestling for hours on end. Please, remember, I’m not faulting that. Hell, I sit here and write these columns for hours on end every week. Not much has changed. But, with these other interests and activities, wrestling wasn’t my only priority like it used to be. It helps when you start getting some action.
I started going to wrestling practice twice a week, which was an hour drive both ways, I started writing all the time, I started doing stand up comedy, and I started a radio show. Wrestling now took a more personal turn, because I was actually involved in it. I didn’t have as much time to follow every show, and I didn’t tape every show (my VHS is in the closet).
But, it was still part of me, I was still into it. I still followed as much as I could online, I still thought about it a lot, I still caught whatever I deemed necessary online, and every year around WrestleMania time, I picked up the wrestling within my own head and paid more attention than I have to during a Jake Roberts interview. I still loved wrestling, but it was more of a personal love for something I was doing rather than just watching it.
Now, the time has come where I haven’t been to wrestling in a while, and the love has started to come back up in my heart. These past few weeks especially, I have been all over the internet reading as much as I can. I have been reading articles, watching interviews, checking out press conferences, reading the dirt shirt websites, going to both the WWE & TNA websites. I even picked up Pro Wrestling Illustrated the other day. I am really starting to get into this again. Before the big head to head Raw and Impact, I was constantly online reading about what might happen, who might show up, and whatever else I could dig up. A lot of my thought is going to the current state of wrestling, as opposed to my usual love of thinking of wrestling as a whole.
The return of Hulk Hogan, surprises in TNA, the debut of a 3 hour live show head to head against Raw, WWE bringing back Bret Hart, signing matches before the show, bringing back the Vince-Hart-Michaels storyline, and just the overall buzz over wrestling made me want to be in the know. I have been talking with friends of mine more and more about wrestling. Before, our wrestling conversation consisted of talking about years past and the wrestling business in general, but lately, it has been more based on the TNA debut on Monday night, the return of Hogan, and the return of Bret Hart.
Wrestling needs competition, this is good for wrestling fans. It is fun to be online and see the marks talking trash about the other companies. That used to be me! “TNA sucks!” “No, WWE sucks!” It is fun to watch a clip on Youtube and then just read the comments from the teenagers sitting in their rooms alone, or from the twenty four year olds sitting in their rooms alone (yes, me).
I have no stake in the outcome of who “wins” this “war,” I just know that the wrestling fans are going to win here. They already are winning! They actually having something to talk about with their wrestling buddies again, and perhaps even some non fans who have heard some of the buzz going around. Both companies will push each other to do better, there will be better shows, and the fans will be rewarded with better matches, better interviews, and better entertainment.
I know this is not on the level of WCW vs. WWF back in the day, but at least it is something. At least I am excited. My interest is peaked right now. I am sure a lot of wrestling fans feel the same way. We just might be part of something big, and it is fun to live through that. Where was I the day JFK got shot? I don’t know. But, I know where I was when TNA debuted on Monday night head to head against Raw. Let’s just hope this doesn’t all end like it did last time. It is nice to have another wrestling war, but I’m still waiting on that Kevin Nash mat classic.