How Did You Become A Fan?

When I tell people I’m a wrestling fan they usually ask one of two things.  If they’re not a fan themselves, they’ll ask why I like something that’s fake.  I really hate that question because being a fan of wrestling is really no different than being a fan of a comic book, movie, or TV series.  It’s storytelling done in an entertaining format.  If they’re a fan, they’ll ask me how I became a fan.

I remember watching wrestling pretty early in my childhood, but it was never for very long.  I know I watched old episodes of World Class Championship Wrestling and I even remember seeing the old Piper’s Pit segment where Andre turned on Hogan.  It wasn’t until about a year later that I got hooked.

It was a Saturday morning episode of either WWF Superstars or WWF Challenge, I can’t remember which, but they were spotlighting a recent episode of Saturday Night’s Main Event.  They were highlighting a recent match between the Honky Tonk Man and this man:

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Macho Man Randy Savage and his manager Miss Elizabeth

They showed some highlights from the match, but mainly the end of it.  Macho Man had the match won and Honky’s buddies, The Hart Foundation, broke up the pin and the three of them beat the Macho Man down.  Honky got his guitar and was about to smash it over Macho Man’s head when his manager, Miss Elizabeth, came in to prevent him from getting hit.  She eventually left and Macho got smashed anyway.

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Ouch

A few minutes later Miss Elizabeth came back with reinforcements:  the current WWF champ, Hulk Hogan.  The two of them cleared the ring and faced off.  Eventually they shook hands and this led to the creation of the Mega-Powers.  This was also the angle that absolutely hooked me: the rise, fall, and redemption of the Macho Man Randy Savage.

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The formation of the Mega-Powers

To this day I still don’t know why this particular moment was what hooked me, but it did.  I became a huge fan of the Macho Man and this led to me being a lifelong wrestling fan.  What keeps me hooked and what keeps me coming back varies over time.  It might be a killer storyline that draws me back in, like the several years’ long feud and friendship of Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn or Kevin Steen and El Generico as they were formerly known.  It might be something like finally discovering how cool an indy promotion is like Progress Wrestling.  All I know is I love it and I’ll probably always be hooked.  So now I’ll ask you, how did you become a fan?

Introduction

So this is the obligatory getting to know you blog post.  Let me start by saying I’m a lifelong wrestling fan.  I don’t claim to be an expert, but I hope I can provide some unique points of view on the past, present, and future of this crazy thing we love.

I think I’ll start with a few things I’ve done this year that have been pretty fun and also a bit terrifying.  I had been going through a period of sort of being burnt out with wrestling.  I had been following WWE and the indy feds I followed a little less and I figured that this was going to be another “down period” year.  My wife and I flew out to New Jersey to visit a few of our friends on January 4th this year, so of course I missed out on watching Wrestle Kingdom as it aired.  It was only during our layover did I hear about the amazing match that Kenny Omega and Kazuchika Okada had for the IWGP Heavyweight title.  I did check it out when we got back and I loved it, but that’s not the story I’m telling.

We were in New Jersey to go to a convention that was in the area, Magfest, which is a video game/music convention in Maryland.  On one of the days they had a retro video game tournament for WWF No Mercy for the Nintendo 64 that was being run by Botchamania.  I figured what the hell, I haven’t played the game in about 5 years or so maybe I should get embarrassed in front of a bunch of strangers.  Quite a few people signed up and one of the local promotions, NOVA Pro Wrestling, sent a couple of their guys to participate as well.  Well things didn’t go exactly as planned though…

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Post wipe-out pic with John Kermon

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I got wiped out and all I got was a shot glass.

In case you’re wondering, I’m the bald dude in the One-Punch Man shirt that got wiped the fuck out at the end by John Kermon.  It was super rad to be that close to the action and I had to track down John afterward and get a pic with him.  John and one of the other NOVA guys gave me a shot glass which was pretty cool.  I also didn’t do too badly in the tournament; I made it to the last 16 out of 64 people.  The crowd popped pretty hard for a match between Mae Young and Cactus Jack which Mae Young won via Jackhammer.

Fast forward a few months and I find myself at C2E2 on a panel about wrestling.  This was a bit nerve-wracking since I was a last-minute replacement.  My friends Chris and Carrie were kind enough to play host to another friend and I for the weekend.  I haven’t really done any major public speaking since high-school so it’s been a very long time.  I was nervous, but I think I did alright once it got started.  Feel free to give it a watch:

So after all of that I can safely say this hasn’t been much of a “down period”.  In fact, I’ve been trying to check out as much wrestling as I can.  I’ve been working my way through Progress Wrestling from the UK and trying to watch more New Japan Pro Wrestling.  I’m hoping I’m able to get up early enough to watch Omega/Okada 2 in a few short days.  Plus I’m trying this whole wrestling blog thing so we’ll see how that works out.