Let’s face it–we’re old. Now some of us may be older than others, but when you reach the point in life where you stop looking forward to being a year older (usually after our 21st birthday), you’re old in my book. After turning 25 a few months ago, I now realize the glory days are over. I’m pretty much the Brett Favre of the college scene. It’s disgusting. Someone needs to shoot this old horse.
After wandering aimlessly around the streets of L.A. for many a moon as an unemployed loser (kayfabe), I felt it pertinent to sit down and think about some of the things that influenced my childhood. Naturally, a few different things popped into my head: White House interns, Chris Farley, Michael Jordan, Pogs, Salute Your Shorts, OJ, Trapper Keepers, buckets of fries at McDonald’s…then it hit me–wrestling!
I began to ponder just how much wrestling has subconsciously influenced my behavior and overall outlook on life. Maybe there WAS a reason why I randomly gave Johnny a Clothesline From Hell in the 7th grade, or maybe there WAS a reason why I randomly called Stacy, my prom date, a sanctimonious son-of-a-bXXXX. It’s amazing to me that a simple TV show could leave such an impression on my youth–and consequently my adulthood. So now that I am enlightened, I now present to you 10 things you should have learned by watching WWE as a kid. Keep in mind that this is MY perspective and being a kid for me was from 1985 (born)-1998.
If you’re Asian, you like to illegally blind opponents (with green mist or salts) and are inherently a martial arts expert. You also speak using intentionally bad English or preferably, don’t speak at all. If you’re from a predominantly Muslim country, the camel clutch is your finisher because there are camels in the Middle East, you fool! Angry black man–is there any other type? These are just some of the facts of life.
I was in a tavern one night, sipping on my nightly ale when I overheard rumors that there once existed a man named Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat who would dispatch legends like the Macho Man in a clean fashion. Another legend tells of a dark-skinned man with a parrot on his shoulder who actually smiled once in awhile. I had to call B.S. on them.
Examples: Mr. Fuji, Kwang, Tajiri, Iron Shiek, Tiger Ali Singh, Muhammad Hassan, Ahmed Johnson, Men on a Mission, The Nation of Domination.
During the mid-90’s how many times have we seen some poor soul smash one of the Headshrinkers’ heads into the turnbuckle–the result was usually devastating…but not for the Headshrinkers. Conventional wisdom says they would feel pain just like any other person, but apparently trying to out-headbutt a Samoan guy is like bringing a knife to a gun fight.
Examples: The Headshrinkers, Lou Albano, Haku
This is one of the more positive entries on this list. This is also a lesson I have taken to heart. Whether you are Duke the Dumpster Droese from Mt. Trashmore, the sardine-eating Bushwhackers, or the slop-tossing Henry O. Godwin, happiness prevails over social status. Sometimes you just need to let your freak flag fly regardless of what people think of you.
Examples: Duke the Dumpster Droese, Bushwhackers, H.O.G., the Oddities, Mankind
Of course, there’s always ONE exception:
Even at a young age, I knew that any self-respecting male should strive to be the exact opposite of this guy.
The jury’s still out on this one...but I’ve made progress from viewing girls as cootie-filled disease bags–thanks to the WWE (and puberty…but mostly the WWE).
Examples: Sable, Sunny, Stephanie McMahon
Whether it’s pulling the old twins switching places in a tag team match, devastating low-blows, taking steroids, or smashing a guitar over your opponents head, cheating has always been prevalent in wrestling. The “it’s only illegal if you get caught” mentality is a very useful skill that comes in handy many times throughout our lives. Michael Vick and Bernie Madoff must have been big fans of the WWE.
Examples: 8-ball and Skull, Jeff Jarrett, Ric Flair, HHH, Rowdy Roddy Piper
Maybe I’m just a bitter Bret Hart fan, but this is one of the lessons I learned while wrestlers were not “in character”. We all know Bret got screwed, but perhaps what is even more shocking is the skyrocket in status HBK got because of the Screwjob. And of course, I need to mention the embodiment of butt-kissing: HHH. Whether its marrying into the McMahon family or making himself 945983-time champion, this guy has pushed all the right buttons to make his way to the top. Hunter should be a blueprint for all you interns out there.
Examples: HBK, HHH, William Regal (literally)
Seriously! Nobody wants to see that!
Examples: Jimmy “The Gigolo” Del Ray, Rick Rude, Val Venis
I was programmed by the WWF to like Bret Hart and hate everybody who stood against him. So of course I had a natural aversion to folks like Diesel, Owen Hart and Mr. Perfect. We were made to like Degeneration-X, so naturally I hated the Nation of Domination.
However, in retrospect, I love the 90’s heels. The Mr. Perfect vignettes were amazing. The gum-slap, the towel throw, it was all great. That move Owen Hart did where he reverses a wristlock by spinning around, flipping, then bouncing off his head is fun to watch. His Nugget promos were enjoyable as well. Ric Flair gave the most ridiculous and high-energy promos in history.
It makes you think…when the 10 year-olds of today grow up, will they only then be able to truly appreciate guys like CM Punk?
Examples: Owen Hart, Mr. Perfect, Ric Flair, HBK, Kurt Angle
The arrival of gangsta rap, grunge, thrash metal, and Jim Carrey movies…can it get any better? In terms of wrestling: no pesky Internet spoilers. No “So and so’s contract is about to expire so he’s going to be out of action for a while” theories. You had no idea what was going to happen when watching wrestling. We also had wrestlers who could actually wrestle–not body-builders with personality (although some did indeed suck). Who can forget the cheesy (but not terrible) storylines…(Jerry Lawler vs Doink the Clown midgetfest, anybody?)
I can’t help but feel sorry for our youth today with the terrible movies/music that has come out in the last 10 years…not to mention the hideous PG-era in wrestling. BLOOD=CREDIBILITY and REALISM!!! I’m sure every decade feels the same way–“The 80’s were better than the 90’s, the 70’s were better than the 80’s”, but no matter which generation you come from, I think we can all agree that the last 7-8 years were simply lacking in wrestling excitement.
If you’re still reading this, thank you. This is my first attempt at writing and any comments will be appreciated. Anyways, here we are–THE #1 ULTIMATE TRUTH THAT WWE TAUGHT ME AS A KID.
Is this even debatable? After eating Top Ramen at least 10 times a week, who wouldn’t blow their nose in the American flag (via an offer from Tiger Ali Singh) for 500 dollars?
I was driven to tears when Tatanka sold out. Why would he betray his friend (Lex Luger) and join Dibiase? Now, after enduring the misery of looking for a job after graduating college during a recession, my mentality is “Hell, I woulda done it”. Money is simply the gasoline that fuels our world. Those who don’t have money are feeble and deserve to wallow in their own misery. Lex Luger may have been wearing red, white and blue spandex, and his intro music may have been Stars and Stripes Forever, but Dibiase was the true American. I find it very amusing that perhaps the greatest heel of all time is a perfect embodiment of our economic structure.
Now, I know what you’re thinking–does that mean America is the heel of the world? Hell yes it does. But don’t you fret, my fellow Americans! This just means in 10 years, the rest of the world will begin to appreciate how awesome we are.