Saturday, November 8, 2014

My Year As a Wrestling Fan

According to my TimeHop today was the first day I watched WWE. This technically isn't a true statement. As a kid in the early 90's I loved wrestling and would watch every Saturday morning. I absolutely adored Doink the Clown and Jake the Snake and Bret Hart and of course Hulk Hogan. Hulkamania ran so deeply in my veins that two decades later I can still find reasons to quote Suburban Commando in any given social situation.

I Was Frozen Today!

One of my prized possessions to this day is a VHS taped copy of Wrestlemania X that my grandfather taped off Pay-Per-View for me. For years (specifically after his death) the tape was a symbol of how much my grandfather loved me. Now it's also a plus to know that my grandfather taped for me arguably the best WWF pay-per-views ever. 

I don't remember what made me stop watching wrestling. Maybe it was that feeling of betrayal when I found out that it "wasn't real" but I missed out on a lot (like every second of the Attitude Era).  So what brought me back in? Two things.

First was booking bands. Turns out there's a shocking amount of people in bands that love Wrestling. I'd constantly hear members of bands I was friends with talking about the latest PPV or episode of Raw. Wanting to (a) understand why these people were so into it and (b) wanting to be able to join were both big factors.

The other factor was having a hulu account. I always already paying for hulu and rarely using it (specifically since almost every show I enjoyed in 2013 got cancelled or had its final season), so I figured I might as well get my moneys worth.

I remember watching that first episode of Raw and feeling bored. It started with easily a 10 minute speech from John Cena and I spent the whole time thinking "How do people like this guy so much?" However just as I was about to turn it off... this happen.

The Wyatt's captivated me immediately. The Shield was soon to follow. Soon I was talking to people about wrestling, I was convincing friends to watch it with me, I was pirating Survivor Series and sneaking off into the basement during Thanksgiving to watch it. I very quickly became hooked.

The first night in my new house I got my roommate to watch a shitty live stream of Elimination Chamber with me. The Wyatts/Shield match was so unique that he even became a bit of a fan. The next day the WWE Network was launched and the first thing I did when I awoke was drop my $9.99 and begin watching. For a good 4-5 days it was the only thing I'd watch. Old Raw from 1993, Countdowns, Behind the Ring Stories, I constantly was consuming history of the sport.

There were Pay-Per-View parties every month and in the summer I attended my first live event (a house show). In a quick year wrestling went from something I never thought about to something that I planned my week around and would talk about constantly on my podcast.

So what did I learn in this year (beyond the fact that I am a wrestling fan)? I learned that Wrestling provides great excuses to socialize with others. People come over frequently just to watch a Pay-Per-View or a Countdown episode. More of the people who come over are  non-fans or casual fans but the excitement of hanging out and cracking jokes is too enjoyable to ignore.

The other thing I learned is that as far as Wrestling fans go, they're never happy. If something happens that's predictable they they complain that it's too predictable. If something happens that's unexpected they complain that the writers are idiots and don't know what they're doing.

Maybe I have the advantage of seeing things through the eyes of a writer but I typically find myself enjoying every moment of most Pay-Per-Views and Raws (Smackdown is mostly a glorified recap show so I don't always have a blast with that).

Alright maybe not EVERY moment

I don't get bugged by a guy I like losing, because at least he's getting air-time. I don't consider every lose a clear sign of someone being "punished" (someone has to lose the match after all, and again at least they're still on camera doing something) and I honestly don't mind John Cena. Sure he's a little dull and over used... but I was a 90's Hulkamaniac so, I get it. 

All I can ask is for a good display of athleticism (which I usually get from a good Ziggler/Cesaro match), something to make me laugh (basically any second Mizdow was on screen), something mind-blowingly spectacular (The Shield vs. Evolution) or something completely unexpected (Undertaker's WrestlemaniaXXX match). 

I can immediate that not every idea ends up being a winner, but in general I'm just there to have a good time. I'm excited for many more good times over many years (as well as keeping warm in my new Dean Ambrose hoodie).

Matt Kelly is the host of the popular podcast The Saint Mort Show, a frequent contributor to, the founder of Chords for Cures and the co-writer/co-director of the upcoming comedy Describing the Moon. He also loves it when people surprise him with purchases from his Amazon Wishlist… just saying.