I use to love professional wrestling.
My friends and I would get together and pretend that we were different wrestlers and have a massive battle royal where, inevitably, someone would go home crying.
As we grew up, we started to have weekly wrestling parties at each others homes, which would always result in a battle royal and, inevitably, someone would go home crying.
Eventually we all grew up, and, well, you see the repetition.
From the first time I heard Ric Flair's "Woooooooo," I was hooked. I had a few favorites in my time—Dean Malenko, Brian Pillman, Chris Benoit (pre-homicidal, brain damaged days), Ultimate Warrior (pre-career suicidal, brain damaged days), Rick Rude, Arn Anderson and, of course, Ric Flair, always "Slick" Ric.
A Georgia native, I felt it necessary to be a loyal NWA/WCW fan.
I watched as the NWA became WCW, the Ted Turner years, the Bill Watts no-jumping-off-the-top-rope years, the move to Monday Night Nitro, the NWO phenomenon, the three-hour Nitros followed by Thunder on Thursdays, the NWO phenomenon, the New Bloods and, finally, the death of the company.
To say that I embodied the word "fanatic" would be an understatement.
Don't get me wrong, I did cheat a little bit. I had a brief love affair with ECW.
It was new, I was young, I really didn't know any better being that I came from a conservative "Southern Rasslin" background.
It seemed to end as quickly as it began.
SYFY bought and sold ECW like a cheap "One Night Stand"—see how I played a pay-per-view title in there—and the affair was over.
ECW would eventually be rewritten in WWE, but it just wasn't the same.
Fast forward a few years. I am "Married With Children"—also a phenomenal watch, but I digress—and have gone from a "strict wrestling fanatic" to a "watch occasionally" and finally to a "catch it if nothing better is on" type of guy.
I blame the buyout.
I remember being invited to the 2006 Royal Rumble Pay-Per-View. I watched as Rey Mysterio won the Royal Rumble, and I jokingly told my friends, "If Mysterio ever becomes champion, I will quit watching wrestling forever."
At Wrestlemania 22, I watched as 5'6", 170-lbs if soaking wet Mysterio upset 6'0", 245-lbs Kurt Angle and 6'4", 235-lbs Randy Orton in a Triple Threat Match. My prediction had come to pass.
Never one to welsh on a bet, I stopped watching.
But, it was actually more than just the bet that made me quit.
The storylines had gotten old. When I watched a storyline unfold, I could have sworn I saw it a five or 10 years back with different participants. I have actually watched one or two events since 2006 and I have recognized more than a few stories.
Also, the characters became stale. I am shocked to see that The Undertaker, Hulk Hogan and even, dare I say, Ric Flair are still active in one way or another.
I guess I am just following in the path of the wrestling fan, though. The generation before mine, the 1970's, didn't get Hulk Hogan or Monday Night Raw or the Nitro Girls.
And, just as they did, I long for the "good old days" when all we wanted was for Shawn Michales to face Sting in an Inter-Federation match and for Tommy Dreamer to beat that jerk Raven just once.
Oh, well. I hear that there are some pretty good "new guys" out there.
Maybe it is time to give wrestling another shot.
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