The Politics of Wrestling
by, 09-12-2012 at 02:06 AM (2610 Views)
Can't we alljust get along?
With the elections fast approaching, I see a country divided. People vehemently arguing their cause, fighting so desperately to prove why their side is right and the other side is wrong. Never before have I seen a population so divided. Wait, yes I have, I'm a wrestling fan.
For years the wrestling world has been greatly divided, but why? Why must we choose sides. Why do we fight so hard to prove why one company is great and the other sucks. It seems to be a problem that has plagued wrestling for as long as I can remember. I'm writing this blog in a lame hippy-ish way of trying to get each side to lower it's defenses and see things for what they are and that being a product that we all enjoy and love, Pro Wrestling.
I'm 27 years old. I had the pleasure of spending my adolescence watching some of the best that wrestling had to offer during the late 90s. I don't care who you were back then, you watched wrestling. Even the people who claimed to hate it still had a general understanding of who was who and what was going on. Wrestling in the attitude era was an unavoidable phenomenon, and just as unavoidable was the decision you had to make. Were you a WWF fan or a WCW fan? You had to pick aside, and once you did you fought tooth and nail to prove why your promotion reigned supreme.
My friends and I were WWF fans. Our world revolved around Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Undertaker, DX, The Hart Foundation and LOD to name very few. I didn't have cable or satellite for the majority of my childhood, but my friends were so adamant I keep up on the product, they recorded Raw for me every week. We bled WWF. T-Shirts, VHS tapes (I actually bought WrestleMania 9, can you believe that?), and video games; if WWF made it, we bought it. I bought WWF: The Music so when I played with my WWF action figures, they'd have formal entrances. In hindsight, Vince McMahon ran a good portion of my childhood. I wouldn't however, own a single piece of WCW memorabilia as to do so would have been considered blasphemy in my circle of friends and would have resulted in immediate exile.
WCW was the enemy. Hulk Hogan was (an still pretty much is) the bane of our existence. Any WCW wrestler was by default worthless. Hogan, Flair and Macho Man were washed up old men. Nash and Hall were overrated and living off their WWF reputation. Their product was horribly fake, their ring ropes were obnoxiously rigid and don't even get me started on Tony Shiavone. Their belts looked stupid and the Nitro Girls couldn't hold a candle to Sable and Sunny. It didn't matter what they did, or who was on their roster, they sucked no matter what. If I saw you wearing a nWo shirt, you were an immediate douche. We talked as though watching WCW would be similar to the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark and our faces would melt off our bodies.
I maintained a dark secret however, as I was a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Every chance I got, I was secretly watching WCW. I'd go to the movie store and rent every WCW ppv I could get my hands on. I was enamored with it. The cruiserweights were amazing;turns out, Taka Michinoku wasn't the only high flyer after all. The work rate of the WCW midcard was amazing. They had so many amazing talent, workers whom I had never heard of or seen with the exception of PWI magazines at the grocery store. Sure the ring was a little smaller, and the ropes a little tighter, but this wasn't the travesty my friends and I had made it out to be. It was actually pretty kick-ass. Was it all kick-ass? No, but WWF wasn’t always kick ass either(Brawl for All anyone?). WCW's main event wasn't always the best but the marque value of the names they brought to the table were undeniable and put asses in seats and tuned more TVs to Nitro than Raw for 80+ weeks in a row.
We lived in our WWF bubble. Were our opinions of WCW true? No, they were opinions. Opinions that were formed as a result of refusing to take our blinders off and see it for what it was, an alternative. We didn't HAVE to watch WCW, but at the same time it wasn't like we weren't allowed to either. We as a group missed out on some classic moments in professional wrestling because of pure bias. Granted, Raw and Nitro went head to head, so to an extent a choice did have to be made as DVRs and YouTube didn't exist back then. My point is however, that our refusal to accept anything other than what we thought was right did nothing more than hinder our experience as wrestling fans. It was the GREATEST time to be a wrestling fan and we only caught half of it.
In recent years I have become a sponge to all things WCW. The Monday Night Wars on Classics on Demand is one of my favorite things to look forward to. Any WCW DVD release is an immediate purchase for me. Granted, things have to be taken with grain of salt given Vince McMahons knack for interpreting history as he likes to remember it, but it's still new to me. As I stated earlier, I didn't have the means to watch Nitro live. So many of the moments I'm seeing, I'm seeing for the first time which makes it so much more enjoyable, but still not as enjoyable as it would have been had I been able(and more importantly, willing) to watch them live.
My point to all of this is that the most common thing I see in the blogs and comments ections are narrow minded views of today's wrestling. So many people who refuse to acknowledge the hard work of so many men and woman who want to do nothing more than bust their asses to entertain us simply because the logo in the ring isn't what we're accustomed to. I'm not saying that every WWE fan has to watch Impact or that every TNA fan should watch Raw or Smackdown. I'm just wishing that people could have a little but more of an open mind. I'm just as guilty of being closed minded now as I was back then, but I'm seeing more and more that I can like parts of each. I think CM Punk and Samoa Joe are two of the best wrestlers in the world today. I'm not going to short myself the enjoyment of seeing these guys do what they do best because of some bullshit brand loyalty. I don't have a contract with Vince or Dixie and if I don't like what I see on their programs, I'm sure there's something better on somewhere else.
Regardless of whether or not you're Republican or Democrat, you're an American. Regardless of whether you watch WWE or TNA, you're a wrestling fan. The nice thing about being a wrestling fan is that you don't have to vote for one or the other, you can enjoy both, which is something I wish more people would be willing to accept.