I was born into a family that didn't like wrestling, but one person did love wrestling...my brother Jordan Robert Paul Staehle, who is a key part in my story about my love and passion for wrestling.
1994 was the year that I started watching wrestling and ultimately fell in love with it, specifically during the Ric Flair vs. Hulk Hogan match in July were Flair lost the WCW World Championship at Bash at the Beach.
It wasn't Hogan that I adopted as my hero, but rather it was Ric Flair. My brother was a Hogan fan, so we would fight all the time after they had just gone at it.
My brother would do all the poses as he would body-slam me and drop the leg, but I would always get in trouble, as I was dubbed the dirtiest player in the house, especially given my aptitude for eye gouging and low blows to cheat my way through everything.
I seldom won, but when I did, I flaunted it like it was the biggest thing in the world.
When Hogan turned, I thought it was weird because he was the good guy and the man with all the answers for all the Hulk-A-Maniacs. Once he turned, however, he was now was part of the group that ran WCW.
The legendary Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels was who I wanted to be because you had to be in the clique or you were nothing. In my neighborhood, I was the leader of the our version of the Four Horseman, and in the clique, it was cool to be Flair or HBK.
Wrestling in the mid '90s was the beginning of my love for the sport, and listening to all my friends' parents talk about Hogan and Andre, Steamboat and Savage, and Warrior made me want to hear more and more about the past and learn everything about wrestling.
The Attitude Era for me was my favorite, like all my friends running around school doing the crotch-chop and telling everyone to "suck it" thinking it was the coolest thing in the world until your parents found out and put you in the corner and grounded us for a month from watching wrestling.
My brother and I found a way to watch, however, by going over to our friends houses for "dinner".
In 1998, my brother called me because I was living in Los Angeles, Calif., as he was living in New Orleans for the past four years with my dad and my two sisters. We would talk every night about what happen the night before on Raw and Nitro.
When HBK left because of his back, I cried because i saw one of my heroes leave.
That, however, made me like Undertaker after that night, so I could fill that void that I know still couldn't be pieced completely back together.
We would do this for the next year, all the way into the summer of 1999.
My brother was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a bone cancer in his leg that had spread beyond repair, even after his leg was amputated from the knee down.
We still watched wrestling, but it wasn't like it once was, as he was always coughing up blood and just kept breaking down week after week. On December 1, 1999, my brother passed away peacefully in his sleep around 4:32 a.m.
I didn't watch wrestling until his birthday that March, and the first time I watched it alone was the hardest thing because I had tears running down my face.
I watched it every week with emotion like it was my life because I made wrestling my life thanks to my brother. That is one thing I can thank my brother for was giving me the love for wrestling, and ever since, I have grown to love it more with every week that I watch it.
Wrestling was getting better for me in 2001, as I can be happy knowing that my brother was watching it with me, since I knew he loved it as much as I do now.
Watching Rock, Austin, Hunter, and everyone else made everything great to watch. I looked forward to it more and more every week, and I fell in love with WWE, especially since WCW wasn't the same to me even though I watched Hogan, Sting, Nash, Hall, and the best Flair.
Then it happen...WWE bought WCW and it was like, "Wow! Now Flair and everyone is coming to WWE."
However, me only being 11 years old, I kind of didn't understand the whole story until about two years later. I rooted for WWE all the way, and couldn't believe I was rooting for Kurt Angle for helping the WWE win, but I was young.
2002-2005 was a change for me because I had seen the transition in the early '90s with Warrior and all the younger, bigger talent, but I have always been old school, and always will be.
Cena, Orton, and all these young guys were stealing the spotlight, but I grew to like these guys even though they were no Flair, HBK, Hunter, Taker, Austin or Rock.
When Hogan faced Rock, I was like a kid in a candy store watching that match thinking, "Wow! The two best in the company were going at it!"
When HBK returned, I went crazy. Mr. WrestleMania came back, and when Flair returned, I was just as crazy.
My second time I broke into tears was on my sister's birthday while she was blowing out the candles. On TV it showed the graphic "Eddie Guerrero 1967-2005", and the tears rolled down my eyes
It was and always will be one of the saddest moments in my life. I remember that Benoit and Guerrero celebrating at the end of WrestleMania XX was the happiest moment of my life.
Eddie had left us and it tore me apart. One of my heroes was gone...one of my favorite wrestlers I grew to love was gone...and it hurt me so bad.
After that, I couldn't get into like I wanted to until two guys got me to laugh and love wrestling again...I got to letters for you...D X.
Watching these two got me to cheer, laugh and look forward to everything, and I loved it again like I always did and everything was going great until Chris Benoit died in the summer of 2007.
As the story unrolled, I could do nothing but cry. I didn't know what to think after learning what happened over the next few weeks. It was the saddest day in wrestling history and is a subject that hits hard on me.
The day the Nature Boy Ric Flair was announced into the Hall of Fame by HBK, I had a tear of joy run down my face because it was long overdue, and I as so proud to be a fan of wrestling, and of Flair and HBK.
That weekend was my proudest weekend of my life in watching pro wrestling—watching Flair on Saturday getting put into the Hall of Fame, seeing one of my favorite matches on Sunday, and Monday was the best farewell to go out on. It made me proud to be a fan of wrestling.
During WrestleMania 25, the HBK vs Undertaker match was something I will never forget. It wasn't Steamboat vs Savage, but it was second to that, and the second greatest match in wrestling history in my opinion.
I look forward to wrestling every week and I think about my brother when I watch it.
I love wrestling no matter what the storylines are and because I have a passion for it.
Vince McMahon has grown to be one of my heroes because of the man he is and the passion he has for the business.
Long live wrestling! Every article I write is not just for you to read, but it is something I love, and I hope you still have the love and passion for wrestling, too.
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