Since I began writing for Bleacher Report about two years ago, I've subjected most of my work to factual information or pure opinion pieces. However, there have been few occasions on this site where I've crossed the boundaries of writing strictly as a fan rather than merely as a journalist.
In this new column entitled "Columnist's Confessions," I'll gradually reveal past experiences I've had as a wrestling fan over the years while relating them to current events. With this approach, I encourage all readers to share their past memories as a wrestling fan in the comment section below.
Whenever I tell people that I've been a pro wrestling fan for only four years, many find that fact a bit shocking given my vast knowledge of the business. With today being the four year anniversary of the day I became extremely interested in pro wrestling, I thought I'd conduct a nostalgic piece that others may be able to relate to as well.
Throughout 2007, I was a major fan of the USA Network and its shows including Monk, Psych and many others. That fall, I thought about expanding my interests to other programs airing on the network, specifically Monday Night Raw.
Prior to this, whenever a friend of mine asked if I watched wrestling, I'd try to remember anything I could from the commercials featuring Triple H and Carlito in 2005 that hyped the return of Raw to the USA Network. I pretended I knew what I was talking about when someone asked me if I saw Chris Jericho's WWE return in late 2007, but ultimately, it didn't work out so well.
Anyway, the only thing I can remember from the first Raw that I watched was when Hornswoggle was revealed as Mr. McMahon's illegitimate son, which some would say wasn't the best angle to begin your tenure as a wrestling fan. I watched Raw the following week via DVR, but soon after, I quickly lost interest and forgot all about it.
Although I tuned in for the grand 15-year anniversary show that December, it still didn't ignite my interest in the product. Multiple video packages on the USA Network aired for WrestleMania 24 a few months later, and I foolishly tried to watching it thinking it was free.
Then, on the day of April 14, 2008, I saw a commercial for that night's edition Monday Night Raw promoting then-WWE Champion Randy Orton vs. William Regal as the main event. It was that moment in time when I was officially hooked on wrestling.
The advertisement consisted of the then-Raw General Manager demanding Orton for respect, while taking place in his hometown of England. Since I was on spring break that week, I was more pumped than ever to return from the mall as quickly as possible that day just to tune into Monday Night Raw.
I can't remember anything of what I saw on the show that night, but I do recall being disappointed that Regal ending up losing to the Viper following an RKO. Despite the fact that my new favorite wrestler came up short, I was determined to continue to watch to see what would happen with Regal next.
I couldn't have picked a better time to become a William Regal fanatic, as he went on to win the prestigious King of the Ring tournament the very next week. The thought of an authority figure shockingly winning this tournament was something unprecedented, furthering my interest in the program.
In subsequent weeks, Regal would engage in a rivalry with the returning Mr. Kennedy and offer the best promos of his entire career. Sadly, his run at the top of the WWE was cut short when he was abruptly suspended for violating the Wellness Policy, but that didn't stop me tuning in every week waiting for him to return.
I was hooked, and there was no going back.
Over time, I gradually tuned into the ECW and SmackDown programs as well just for the extra wrestling. I wouldn't become a fan of TNA until I watched an episode nearly four months later, but that's another story for another day.
To ensure the fact that Regal wasn't actually fired from WWE, I took it to the Internet and looked around multiples sites stating when exactly Regal's comeback would occur. Obviously, I wasn't a full-blown member of the IWC by that point in time, but it was certainly the start of it.
As I become more and more engaged in pro wrestling, my yearning for learning everything about it would only grow from there. Sure, I'm disappointed I wasn't able to see the WWE at its best during the Attitude Era, but does that mean I'm not a "real" wrestling fan?
The answer to that question is no, it doesn't.
Regardless of when you start watching the wrestling, it's your love for the business that determines your dedication to the product. Whether it be three decades ago or three months ago, as long as you enjoy what you're watching and are entertained by it.
I understand that some fans' interest in wrestling begins to dwindle when they don't like what they're seeing or simply just grow out of it, but it doesn't change the fact that there will always be that group of viewers that will be watching for as long as they possibly can.
I, for one, have seen my love for professional wrestling grow stronger with each day, but that may only be because I'm still considered a "young" fan after watching for only four years. Nonetheless, my past experiences such as this day four years ago always remind me why I started watching in the first place and why I'm proud to say I'm an avid pro wrestling fanatic.
Thanks for reading, Bleachers, and I hope you throughly enjoyed my inaugural edition of "Columnist's Confessions". Additionally, please drop a comment below with any relations you may have to my tale and include your thoughts as to whether these should continue based upon how much you enjoyed reading it.