Professional wrestling, or pro wrestling, is a non-competitive sport, where matches are prearranged by the promotion’s booking staff, and is also considered an athletic performing art, containing strong elements of catch wrestling, mock combat, and theatre. It has origins in carnival sideshows and music halls in the late 19th century as part of displays of athletics and strength. Modern professional wrestling usually features striking and grappling techniques, which are modeled after diverse sets of wrestling and pugilistic styles from around the world.
That is the definition of professional wrestling given by Wikipedia. However, to many avid fans, it is not a circus act, but an outlet—we watch it to get away from our everyday difficulties.
My love for wrestling started when I was about three or four, when my parents and I used to watch Raw Is War together.
After a couple of months, my parents had stopped watching. I didn’t know what had led to the separation, but it left me disappointed. Unbeknownst to me then, they had uncovered the truth—wrestling was fake.
Fast forward seven years later…
One day during a commercial break of Monk, I saw an advertisement for the return of RAW to USA. There was something familiar about the setting of the show; I just didn’t know what it was. I felt a tug in my chest, as if my heart was telling me what my brain couldn’t process, and being a person with a selective memory, the thought got discarded after a few hours.
In the last third of 2005, I entered a new class. It was our last school year at St. Theresa Preparatory, and my friends and I intended to have lots of fun and cause a great deal of disturbances. Let’s just say we did more than a handful.
On Dec. 15, we had our annual class party. Our teacher had admonished us time and time again that she would shut the party down if we didn’t exhibit controlled behavior. But we were kids; why did she expect any better?
Nonetheless, that is not the reason I remember the day in question. My cousin, Jeffrey, had flown in from Nassau, Bahamas. I couldn’t tell the last time I saw or spoke to him, and I was kind of excited to have someone else to talk to other than my two sisters.
Now, I’m a shy person, and since I hadn’t seen him in a long time, it took me a couple days to get used to him. On the night of Monday, Dec. 19, Jeffrey had the audacity to come into my room and change the channel to USA. At first I was irritated, taking the remote from him every chance I had gotten; he would always take it back, though, mainly because he was stronger. In the end, I decided to just lay back and watch.
To some extent, I liked it, but I would never admit that to Jeffrey. My other cousin, Richard, who also came from the Bahamas, arrived some days later. And it turned out that he too was a fan.
The following Monday, I was secretly awaiting Jeffrey and his impudence to come to my room and change the channel. I was excited, to say the least. A couple minutes after the broadcast had started, he finally came and changed it. (I would’ve changed it myself, but I didn’t want him to think I actually liked it. Stubborn, I know.)
The three of us watched in silence for the most part, with Jeffrey’s occasional outbursts.
That night, something changed. My irreversible journey began.
I wanted to know everything I could about the show and the superstars. I went on Wikipedia to learn about the individuals on the Raw roster. (I didn’t know about Smackdown! then). Their real names, birthdays, whether they were married or not.
I regularly went on YouTube, watching videos all day to catch up on an episode I had missed, or just to see a specific moment again. I had come across a user, who had several videos from the Attitude Era, and I was addicted.
I think it was these classic videos that had made me so appreciative of the sport, and also killed this Chain Gang Member. (I know.)
I grew tired of John Cena’s monotonous character, especially after watching videos of the “rapping” John Cena. I was revolutionized. I found myself cheering for his opponent every time, no matter who it was.
Fast forward 10 months later…
I was now in high school. Wrestling was no longer top priority; my grades were. I still loved it, but I barely saw it for a couple of months, because I had stopped watching TV.
I was unsure about the career I wanted to pursue, and my fascination with the business had me leaning towards becoming a professional wrestler.
I had even decided what my name would be, which superstar I would date, when I would get married to him, etc. (Keep in mind I was, like, 12 years old then.)
In January 2007, I joined the Wolmers’ Dance Troupe, believing that this type of workout would get me ready for the grueling one that was to come when I turned a professional wrestler.
I had been dancing for four years, with one year off, before acquiring a spot in the troupe, and boy, oh boy, I discovered that that one year off wasn’t the best thing, because the kind of stretches done as a dancer hurts like hell when you can’t do them anymore.
And I had a long road ahead of me.
Skip to December…
My cousin Jeffrey was visiting again. Once again, it took me a couple days to get used to him. The following Monday, I changed the channel to USA, expecting to watch my love in peace. Nope, instead, I was met with Jeffrey’s interruption of, “That’s so gay bigh.” (I don’t know if that’s how the spell it over there.)
It was a little weird. The same person, who had reignited my love of the art, had now turned his back on it. I just wanted to slap him on the head and tell him get out my room, but he was using my laptop and didn’t want him pestering me about it later.
"Am I the only one who appreciates this?" was what I had thought to myself.
Fast forward one year later…
Still watching, still obsessed.
I’m not as consumed by it as I first was when our relationship was re-established. But the flame still burns.
I never knew I would hate watching wrestling with my parents until I really watched wrestling with my parents.
Actually, more like them asking, “Why yuh watchin’ dis’ crap?” and me trying to pay attention to what was going on.
In truth, I was kind of hurt that they would ridicule my love of the sport, and I also found it hypocritical that they, the ones who introduced me to it in the first place, were now looking down on it, just because it is “pre-determined.”
We were in the room I don’t know the name of (it’s not anybody’s bedroom and it’s not the living room, so…yeah) and their constant interruption annoyed me to no end.
"Why are they even in here?" I thought to myself. OK, it was through no indiscretion of theirs. But they knew it was my time. Jodi time. Nine o’clock until five minutes past 11 p.m. The time I spend talking to myself about what was happening on the television. Jodi and wrestling time. It just wasn’t fair.
I had to endure two hours and five minutes of mindless and unwarranted criticism.
“Hahaha, this is so stupid,” was my father’s repeated sentiment.
Honestly, I just wanted to turn around and shout in their faces, “Will you shut the f*** up so I can watch the show…please!”
In truth, the only reason I didn’t was because they’re my parents. I was lucky that I was able to control my mouth, because I’m known to have a really bad temper. Not ‘If I don’t get my way, I’ll throw a temper tantrum," but a real "If you don’t get the hell out my face, I’ll f*** you up" temper (Is that bad for a 14-year-old?).
I learned that night something that I’ll never forget: My parents were really aggravating, and that I should never, ever watch wrestling with them again…until I have no other option.
Skip some months…
Feb. 10, 2009.
It wasn’t my fault. My mother just happened to be sitting their when Raw had started.
Ric Flair and Chris Jericho had opened the show. My mother’s reaction to Ric being there, as old as he is, was, “My God, how him look, suh?”
I tried my best to ignore her, but I also had asked, “How him look, suh?” difference being I asked the question in mind, and like any crazy person, I answered myself.
Throughout the show, “A wah dat?” was repeatedly asked by my mother. I didn’t feel like I wanted to hurl the remote at her, because lucky for her, I had learned to control my temper.
I did, however, say to myself, “Geez, woman, do you ever shut up?” I wasn’t mad, though, because my love for what I was watching overpowered the anger I was feeling.
At one point, she asked, “Yuh know it fake, right?”
I was shaking. I looked at her in disbelief. Not only was I angry, but also insulted. I mean, how dare she question my knowledge. Didn’t she know that I knew everything about my object of affection?
Instead of saying what was on my mind, I gave a small nod and turned my back to continue my viewing.
April 13, 2009—WWE Draft
Once again, it wasn’t my fault. She just happened to be in the room. OK, it was her room, but it still doesn’t mean she had to be in there. Believe me, I had no other choice. Their TV was the only one that had USA; because my father didn’t pay the DirecTV bill for the receiver in the room I don’t know the name of, so there I was… in their room. Yayyy!!!!!
I had missed the first 10 minutes of Raw, because I forgot it was starting one hour earlier. It was when I had asked my friend online what she was doing and she responded “Watching Raw” that my memory was jolted. I probably would’ve missed the first hour if I didn’t ask her.
Anyway, my mother was on the phone when I had asked her if I could change the channel, and so she absent-mindedly gave her consent.
She didn’t really say much during this Raw, mainly because she wasn’t in the room long enough to make a comment. Towards the end of Raw (about the last 10 minutes), my father came into the room, because he had just finished playing dominoes with my little sister.
During the final match, my father had the following to say: “Jodi, what is so fascinating about this?”
I wanted to ask him what was so fascinating about the movies he watches, but I didn’t. I was surprisingly calm. Maybe it was because I was sitting on the floor, and the coolness kept me tranquil. Maybe it was because I knew his question was hypocritical. I mean, didn’t he watch and find the same thing fascinating 11 years ago?
Anyways, whatever it was that kept me calm I hope I have it with me in the future, because if I have to sit through another “Monday Night Soap Opera” (mother’s name for it) with them and their condescending attitude towards it, I’m definitely going to need it.
But hopefully, I won’t experience another one with them again...yeah, right.
Now, please make me jovial and leave your thoughts below.