I love wrestling. As a young boy, I remember constantly consuming wrestling alongside my younger brother. We watched Raw is War every week in the late 1990s and played every video game we could get our hands on. From WWF No Mercy to WCW/NWO World Tour, and the numerous Smackdown vs. Raw games: we played them all, and still do.
I remember fondly using a blank sheet of notebook paper to keep track of our champions. We would section the page into nine or so squares, each labeled with the name of a title: Hardcore, Tag Team, Women’s, etc. We would write the name of the champion (whoever won a match we had decided beforehand) inside the designated square and if the guy lost, we would scratch his name out, write the new name in and we had ourselves a new champion.
I also remember playing wrestling in our front yard with the neighbor boys, which of course, would lead someone to get angry which then lead to legitimate fighting. We were then sentenced by our parents to wrestling with stuffed animals.
My first memory of watching wrestling is watching Mankind walking. I don’t know where he was going or what storyline he was in at the time but I remember my mother’s boyfriend turning it on and that being the first images we saw.
My first vivid memory is watching Over the Edge 1999, the pay-per-view where Owen Hart fell more than 70 feet and subsequently passed away. I was watching with my dad, brother, and older cousin. We were all struck with grief and shock when Jim Ross announced Owen’s passing live on pay-per-view.
The next day, I remember we made up signs to put on the back of my dad’s car, watched RAW that night and had no other choice but to move on in our own lives.
In professional wrestling, we do see tragedies like injuries, early retirements, goodbyes and sometimes death. However, we also see feel-good moments like triumphs, and heartfelt moments we cherish. While going through these triumphs and tragedies together, we become close to one another.
I love the spectacle and the pageantry that is wrestling. The skill of the smaller guys, the strength, and power of the bigger guys. As well as seeing the skill the women in the WWE possess nowadays. All wrestling fans love the bigger than life characters that inhabit all of wrestling.
I think a perfect example of this is the 1992 Summerslam match between Bret Hart and the British Bulldog. You have the pageantry, the skill, an unbelievable moment, and the behind-the-scenes story of Bret Hart carrying an injured Davey Boy Smith through the match.
The pop when Bulldog pins Bret for the 1-2-3 and wins the Intercontinental Championship gives me chills everytime I see it. The excitement the Wembley crowd shows after their hometown hero wins is a perfect example of why I love wrestling.
I also love speculating on why this or that decision was made. Who are they going to push next? What if they did this or that? “That would be awesome”, I think to myself
From the skill and pageantry to the speculating and nostalgia, these are only some of the reason why I will always love professional wrestling.