The year was 1990. I was a young lass of 5 with a very limited view on the world. Aside from my dad and Sesame Street, the only other thing on my radar was wrestling. I was enamored with Hulk Hogan (I had yet to discover The Undertaker) and I was currently watching him on the Brother Love show.
His music hits, he saunters out, puts his hand to his ear and I am jumping up and down. There is just this feeling I got when I watched wrestling, almost like I was watching a magic show. I would get so excited, smile from ear to ear, and the fact that it meant time with my dad made it that much better. He gets the mic and demands to see Earthquake.
Up until this point, I had not paid much attention to anyone but Hulk Hogan. I was 5 with a limited attention span. I knew who most of the wrestlers were, but the storylines tended to be lost on me. Earthquake's music hits, but it is Jimmy Hart who comes out. Hulk starts talking trash, asking where Earthquake is and Hart explains he isn't there due to doctor's orders. During the explanation, I spy Earthquake coming up behind Hulk Hogan, steel chair in hand. I gasp, tap my dad's leg furiously, and when it becomes clear to me what is about to unfold, I do what I always did in times of peril, covered my eyes.
When I peeked through my fingers, Hulk was on the ground and Earthquake was moving away from him. I panicked. My mouth hung open, I couldn't believe what I had just seen. Before I had a chance to dwell on it, Earthquake ran and jumped, landing on top of him. I remember being scared. I watched him, at Jimmy Hart's urging, jump on him again and again, and I remember willing Hulk to get up. Of course, he didn't. I was crushed.
This led into a nice storyline of Hulk being hospitalized and all Hulkamaniac's were urged to send get well cards and letters, and they would get a response from Hulk Hogan, which turned out to be a postcard that I thought was never going to come. Yes I wrote Hulk Hogan a get well letter at 5 years-old, in crayon, with my dad's help.
Dorky fangirl moment aside, this memory is extremely vivid to me. I mean I wasn't as upset as I was when I saw Taker buried alive, but this was the first time I was ever aware of the heel aspect of wrestling. I asked my dad a million times, why? Why would someone do that to Hulk Hogan? My dad explained to me there were good guys, like Hulk, and bad guys that did bad things, like Earthquake.
Of course, at age 5, I liked only good guys. It wasn't until 1992, when Shawn Michael's super kicked Marty Jannetty and tossed him through the Barbershop window, that I began to have a softer side for the heel characters of the business. I was disappointed about The Rockers breaking up at first. I mean it was The Rockers! I had pictures of Michaels and Jannetty that I had ripped out of WWE magazine taped up in my room. I loved these guys! I guess it was just that Shawn Michaels just made being bad, look so cool.
From that moment on, I was a more diplomatic wrestling fan. I could find positive attributes in any wrestler, and only really chose sides when two of my favorites were facing each other.
Fast forward a little bit, and we have The Attitude Era. Enter The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin, two guys that always walked a fine line between heel and face. I could not help but be captivated by both. This was just a great time to be a wrestling fan. Everything was new, innovative and due to the Monday Night Wars with WCW, it seemed like everyone brought their A-game.
Austin eventually turning heel and working with McMahon, borderline worshiping the guy, was huge for me. It was one of those moments that just totally caught me off guard and I love those moments. I love when wrestling can still surprise me.
As I got older, the importance of a good heel turn became more apparent. It was that fuel to the fire, that spark that made those moments stand out. A face is only as good as the heel he is championing against. Their feud has to be passion fueled, believable, and if done correctly it can change the way you, as a fan, feels about another wrestler. Moments like these made me into the wrestling fan I am today. Sure, as I got older it became harder to shock and surprise me and I eventually started to like a mixture of wrestlers instead of just faces but I will never forget being captivated by the bad guys.
I guess if I had to pin point a heel in more recent wrestling times that really grabbed my interest, it would have to be Edge. Edge is one of the few heels that I just loved. I couldn't get enough of the guy. From his feud with Angle to him tormenting Ric Flair, I think it was one of the better heel runs.
One moment in particular sticks out, and that is New Year's Revolution 2006. When Cena won that match, I was psyched! I was like okay, pretty good Elimination Chamber match and then bam! McMahon's entrance music hits and he tells us Edge is cashing in his MITB contract. I was 21 and I totally jumped up off the couch and was in total disbelief of what I was seeing. Even though I was a huge Cena fan, I was loving it! Edge won and the Rated-R superstar era was born and my days of being a mark for faces only were officially over.
As a fan today, I am intrigued like the rest of the IWC to see if Cena is going to become a full fledged heel with this Nexus storyline. I still think if done correctly it could be epic. I mean just seeing the shock on everyones face when he lost at HIAC was great.
I'm not ashamed to admit that I am still a total fangirl and that I purposely avoid spoiler sites/articles. I still get that smile, that excitement over watching wrestling with my dad and I am not ready to give that up. I watch it for the drama, the story. Every good story needs a villain, and at 25 I can see that now. The moments I discussed in this article have changed my view as a fan. They took me out of my world of black and white, right and wrong, and showed me the ever growing gray area. Who says wrestling does not teach us anything??
I still tend to go for the faces, and I could never be heel, the fact that it pains me to be mean and my comments here are filled with smiley faces, it should come as no surprise. I still go for mostly faces these days but long gone are my Hulkamaniac days of writing get well letters in crayon. These days I can appreciate heels, love to be shocked and well, who doesn't love a good chair shot :)
***As always, I would love to hear opinions, stories, whatever :) I love you guys! Also, I would just like to point out, I write from my heart and base my articles on my experiences, thoughts, and memories and nothing else. I don't really do predictions or criticisms... just isn't really my thing, I leave it to you guys! I love reading your stuff!!***