Wrestling is not something you can be halfway into. You either get it or you don't. Even if you don't watch RAW as religiously as you used to (I don't blame you), you still keep up with your favorite alternate reality. The week-to-week storylines become a part of history. Like the best art, it changes with the times. With the explosion of cable and MTV, we soon saw the country's biggest pop stars like Cyndi Lauper. Wrestling was growing with us. When good versus evil grew stale, wrestling reached even bigger heights with the Attitude era. For myself, I was lucky enough to coincide my angsty teenage years with the nWO and RAW is WAR.
We grow up with wrestling like we do a member of our family. It's like watching our crazy uncles and cousins compete in storylines that pull us in. The chills we get from the moments like Hogan's heel turn in '96 are unforgettable. The impact of that moment and Hulkamania resonated so deeply that Hogan versus Rock at 'Mania 18 was completely hijacked by the fans. Hogan stated that the match was originally supposed to go much different, with him as the traditional heel. The fans however would not be having any of that. Their addiction for a classic wrestling moment demanded a fix, and Hogan improvised one for them.
As a 30-year-old, I surprise myself by continuing to watch. This bizarre mix of oily men (and women) who combine stunt-work and soap opera into a unique and dangerous ballet. It's simultaneously an ancient form of entertainment, yet has evolved with each form of technology.
Like an old wrestler we may try to hang up the boots every once in awhile, but once it's in your blood, that itch never goes away. There's always one more PPV, one more blowoff to your favorite feud. One more WrestleMania.
Besides, there's FAR worse things to be addicted to; have you seen bath salts?
10 You plan your calendar around it
My in-laws may have called March 29th Easter dinner (they celebrate early) but to me this year, it was WrestleMania! When I found out they had planned this mandatory event with ZERO regard for the biggest event of the year, I quickly went into damage control. Luckily I had my handy WWE Network subscription, and I was able to hook my laptop up to their TV. Easter was saved!
9 You subscribe to podcasts
Steve Austin, Jim Ross and Chris Jericho all have fantastic podcasts that are sometimes more entertaining than the actual wrestling shows. Notable loudmouth Jim Cornette has one as well, but the last time I checked in he spent far too long learning to operate his computer. He is a much better guest than host as his wrestling IQ far exceeds his computer IQ.
8 You have the WWE Network (and it's on right now)
7 You can predict exactly what's going to happen
6 You speak wrestling
The agent books two wrestlers that are completely over in a hot angle. The heel from parts unknown has major heat as he recently turned. This A-show should be a huge draw. The face emerges from the gorilla position to a huge pop. The heel garners cheap heat using a foreign object. The face takes a huge bump and blades with a gig, ending up with huge juice. The heel is gassed and uses a sleeper as a rest hold. The marks think the match is over but it's obviously a false finish. The face is still green and potatoes the heel in his comeback. The green face botches his high spot, so the heel has to no-sell. The smarks in the front row laugh. The heel is no jobber and saves the match with quick thinking. Two false finishes and broken arm (kayfabe) later and the face wins the strap to the biggest pop of the night. The promoters are happy with the house and the boys go find the ring rats.
5 You could (and have) performed the moves
You could perform a figure four leg lock with your eyes closed. ou know that Bret Hart does it around a ring post. You know the slight differences between said Sharpshooter, Boston Crab, Lion Tamer, and Four Leaf Clover. You know a power bomb can be reversed with a hurracanrana.
4 You have wrestling music on your computer
Just recently I went on an internet mission to track down my favorite Bret Hart WCW entrance music. Turns out he had six different versions! I couldn't rest until I found the right one. Of course I downloaded the rest just in case I ever "needed" them.
As a high schooler I had the nWo version of Jimi Hendrix's Voodoo Child play every time I started my computer.
3 You (still) play wrestling video games
I still have an N64 hooked up with WCW/NWO Revenge, Wrestlemania 2000 and No Mercy ready to go. I use emulators to play Japanese versions of the incredible Fire Pro series. A childhood friend and I would simulate our own PPVs with Fire Pro, keeping accurate title histories (Juventud Guererra shocked us with an upset over the Giant).
2 You're a part of the IWC
You read the dirt sheets and watch shoot commentaries on YouTube. You make sure the world knows how much John Cena SUCKS. Seriously, did you watch him at Fastlane? He may have won 10 million world titles but he still yells his spots out like a rookie. You participate in rankings of the greatest Royal Rumbles. You could name five great wrestlers who never won the World Championship. You've seen the Shockmaster video more than once and could act it out word for word.
1 You can't stop watching
Being the super fan you are makes you quite aware of how weak the current product is. There are bright spots of course, Daniel Bryan, Dean Ambrose, Bray Wyatt and Seth Rollins are fantastic superstars. But checking out the vintage shows on the WWE Network are painful reminders of the better times. Yet we still watch! We tune in for hope, we tune in for change, we tune in for those few bright spots that still exist.
Our treasured pro wrestling is currently a babyface stuck in the sleeperhold of bad booking. We've seen the arm lifted and fallen twice, but we will never give up hope. We know that wrestling is one "Hulk-Up" (not to be confused with Hulk Hogan returning) away from reaching even greater heights than before.
And if it sucks we'll watch anyway.
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