A Wrestling Fan's Journey
by, 12-22-2012 at 12:02 AM (5646 Views)
I've been an off and on wrestling fan my whole life. My first memory of pro wrestling was watching an old vhs of the first ever Clash of the Champions that my dad recorded off TV. The major highlights were the Road Warriors teaming up with Dusty Rhodes in a Texas barbed wire match versus Warlord, Barbarian, and Ivan Koloff; as well as a 60 min time limit match between Sting and Ric Flair that ended with neither man winning. That's where the bar was set from the very begining.
I began watching WWF around 1990 when I was 4 years old. I loved Hogan. Hulkamania was running wild, but the Hulkster was only really around for the major pay per views. I remember really starting to like this midcard guy who was always on TV: Bret "Hitman" Hart. His match at Summerslam against Mr. Perfect for the Intercontinental Title is probably on my "Top 5 Matches of All Time" list. Not only was one of my favorite guys starting to evolve into a major superstar, but it was damn good wrestling. I think it was during that match that the Hitman passed Hogan in my young and impressionable mind.
I floated back and forth between WWF and WCW through most of the early '90s, I was a huge fan of Sting's, and loved his matches with Flair, Cactus Jack, Vader, the Great Muta, and so many others. But, the WWF had Bret Hart, and his rivalry with his brother Owen in '95 was pure magic. By the time the Monday Night Wars rolled around, I was a full blown WCW fan. I loved the idea of Hogan as a bad guy, I loved all of the iconic figures like Sting, Flair, Macho Man, Luger, Piper and wondering if they could take down the nWo, and I especially loved the luchadors. Eddie Guerrero, Ultimo Dragon, Psychosis, and La Parka were all favorites. Even my beloved Hitman showed up in WCW.
Somewhere around '98 or '99 I started to lose interest. At the time, I thought I was getting too old for pro wrestling. Looking back, I think it just stopped being fun. I even tried to switch over to WWF at the time, and it just didn't seem fun either. I wanted my colorful, over the top, kid-friendly characters. Not beer-swilling, swearing, sexually driven characters. Despite my 8th grades hormones, I just wasn't drawn to what professional wrestling was selling. So, I stopped watching.
I always kept tabs on my favorites. Bret Hart was done due to injury. Sting was in TNA. One half or the Road Warriors was dead, while the other one was the father of a starting linebacker of THE Ohio State Buckeyes. (Go Bucks!) Maybe worst of all, the luchador "fad" was over. Eddie was dead. Psychosis wasn't even wrestling under the name "Psychosis" anymore, and there was a new La Parka under the mask. Ultimo Dragon had all but disappeared. I decided there was no way I could ever enjoy wrestling again.
Fast forward to the Summer of 2011. My younger sister moved away and her new boyfriend was a big WWE fan. She told me wrestling was "good" again. I started looking in to it so I would have something to talk with her about. I was immediately drawn to CM Punk. Dolph Ziggler looked amazing in the ring, seeming to be a natural superstar. Cody Rhodes was so good at being an arrogant bad guy, I couldn't help but like him. Zack Ryder had a charismatic innocence that made him instantly lovable. My sister was right... wrestling was good again. None of the characters were flashy like they were in the early '90s, but they were fun and entertaining characters.
I will never forget the moment that made me a wrestling fan again. There were months of hype for this monster of a man to make his debut. His appearance kept getting pushed back for some reason, and they even worked it into the storyline, saying how angry these delays were making him. They even released a promo, with him talking about how he was the monster under your bed or the thing that goes bump in the night or something. He didn't seem like anything special to me. Then, he made his debut. Ladies and gentlemen... Brodus Clay.
I showed my wife. I showed my younger brother. THIS is what pro wrestling was about. I am now a WWE fan. I love Punk's promos, I'm excited for Ziggler's future, and I cannot describe how excited I am whenever there is a Tyson Kidd sighting.
Wrestling is fun again.