You know it was a question that I have really wondered about for too long: What is it exactly that makes wrestling so special?
Why do we as fans continue to watch when people are always telling us it's fake? It's pointless. You're too old to watch that kids' stuff. There are more important things to do.
Why do we vehemently defend it against all odds? Why do we keep watching it even when we know that it is only sports entertainment and that what we are watching is orchestrated?
Because wrestling to us hardcore fans isn't just entertainment. It isn't just orchestrated art.
When I was 5 years old, my father sat down with me and had me watch my first wrestling broadcast. At first I was disinterested. I could watch guys beating each other up on my karate movies; why did I need to watch this too?
Then Hulk Hogan had an interview. "Well, you know something Mean Gene..." I looked up. Ten minutes later, Hulk Hogan was dropping the big leg on IRS. I was going crazy.
Here was someone who seemed larger than life. Here was someone who everyone was cheering. Here was someone I could look up to.
I was hooked. I trained. I took my vitamins. I said my prayers. Eventually I started liking other wrestlers too. I tried to emulate Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat one time too.
To make a long story short, my neighbor wasn't too happy about me setting her bush on fire.
Now I am 18 and still love wrestling. Despite working, despite college, I still find time to watch my favorite wrestlers like CM Punk and Undertaker tearing it up on the screen.
I may not always be in that dreamlike state I was in when I was a child, but there is still a certain awe and respect for what goes on before me.
Some fans do like wrestling because it is entertaining. The casual fan may watch because they simply enjoy it. It's just something they like watching, like Dancing with the Stars, or Fear Factor, or Wheel of Fortune. It is sport they can find comfort in.
But for us fans who have followed it since we were young, it is a part of us. As some of my colleagues have said at times, it has even saved some of us.
Wrestlers are our heroes, our villains, our friends, peers, icons, and legends. They do extraordinary things we can only dream of, accomplish feats we aspire to achieve.
In them, we see qualities we ourselves desire. Sometimes (in the heels case) deep down inside that little shadow of our heart.
Like modern day gladiators, wrestlers embody the passion of those who cheer them. The sheer spectacle and grandeur of events like Wrestlemania and Summerslam draw us in.
We couldn't help but feel a flutter in our hearts and a chill go up our spines when we heard such matches like Hogan vs. Flair, Savage vs. Warrior, Austin vs. The Rock, and now HBK vs. The Undertaker.
Through them, we can see ourselves doing what they do. We can find hope and inspiration in their pain, sacrifice, and desire.
When we are down in the dumps or feel we can't go on, we can see wrestlers fighting the same struggles we do. We can fight alongside them and find our way along with them.
It's not just sport. It's not just entertainment. It isn't art or coordinated fights. To those who revel in it, it is much more.
Our dreams, our goals. It is something that will always be with us and we really can't tell you why. It is something that can't even be completely embodied by what I have written here.
That is why we defend it. That is why we watch when others tell us we shouldn't. Because deep down inside we know that if we stop watching wrestling, if we kill it, we will kill a little part of us. There will be a hole.
There will be a hole, where once a little boy, or a little girl stood in awe of what they were seeing, their imagination running wild, a grin on their face, spellbound.
That's what makes wrestling so special. At least to me. And I know there a lot of fans out there who feel the same way.
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