When you were 8-years-old and had 60 minutes before your 9pm bedtime what would you watch for an hour with your dad, older brother, and a bowl of popcorn? WRESTLING! You’d beg your mom for another five minutes time and again, pulling every trick in the book to finish watching the main event. Pretending to fall asleep, lying that dad said it was okay, or saying you had pins and needles in your feet and needed to wait for it to go away. All this for what? Because Goldberg, The Undertaker, Hulk Hogan, The Hardy BoyZ, Kane, and Sting were on!
They were my favorites, my idols who I got to dress up as on Halloween, the guys I pretended to be when my brother and I got home from school and fake fought. Leaping off couches, swinging mom’s steel folding chair when she wasn’t watching but it had to be steel like the wrestlers used, and pretending to be in agonizing pain when my brother got the best of me. Why? Because you didn’t mess with them. They were numero uno. Kane wore a mask and was 7’0 feet tall, Goldberg speared people into another dimension, and The Hardy BoyZ flipped off of ladders colliding into the poor souls who thought they could beat them. Batman and the Power Rangers were second rate because they were the real deal while all those other heroes were just make believe.
So why go now and watch it live when I’m 24 and haven’t kept up with wrestling in years and don’t know 80% of the cast? Is it because your girlfriend’s working for production? Or because you know there are going to be some ridiculously hot women performing feet away? No. It’s because you remember the times when Kane, Sting, & The Hardy BoyZ were who you prayed to be. Not because of the money, not because of the women, but because people were afraid of them. If you were one of them you wouldn’t have to be afraid of the kids at school anymore.
The ones who pushed you around because you wore round-rimmed glasses and had bucked teeth. If you were Sting they wouldn’t gang up on you in the locker room because you had a bat and would knock all their blocks off. If you were one of The Hardy BoyZ you wouldn’t get laughed at for not having friends. You kept eating your vegetables, taking your vitamins, and saying your prayers just like Hulk Hogan said to. You started eating Chef Boyardee like The Big Show in the commercials because he was 500lbs.! Eventually you’d get big and strong and put on a mask just like Kane. You’d be the one that everyone wanted to hangout with after school.
Wrestling was my escape from reality. For 60 minutes I was one of them, for 60 minutes I wasn’t afraid, but as the minutes went by I knew sooner or later I had to go to sleep and wake up knowing I had to endure another day at school; but for 60 minutes I could escape, for 60 minutes I didn’t have a care in the world, for 60 minutes I was wearing a leather jacket with my face painted dragging a bat around. I had a grin from ear to ear and knew one thing. I was the bastard you didn’t mess with.