My Life With Pro-Wrestling: One Fan's Journey With The WWE
Its not something I ever felt comfortable talking about. It was not the done thing. It just was not mainstream. I was an outcast.
I had this secret and was unable to tell anyone. Maybe I should have been bolder. Maybe I could have opened the flood gates.
Today, I can say it, I love wrestling. Say what you will, I do not care.
Having watch wrestling just before the birth of the Attitude Era, I have had the privilege of being there at the start of a phenomenon.
Ironically, when I first started watching, America and the World had stopped watching. The business post-Hogan and Savage was in the doldrums.
To be a wrestling fan in the mid 1990s was to be an outcast.
The Stone Cold revolution changed almost every part of wrestling including the audience.
Suddenly, it had become mainstream, it was being talked about in playgrounds, at water fountains, in business offices. Wrestling was the in-thing.
As a wrestling fan for 14 years, it's hard to explain its appeal to someone else. Maybe we all have our own reasons for watching but for me, its always been there in my life.
I know its fake, I know that at times I have wanted to throw my television in anger and frustration, I know there have been incidents when I've considered giving it up.
But there are other times, when I have been on the edge of my seat. Watching matches with sweaty palms, nervous about the outcome. I still remember the sheer drama of the Wrestlemania 25, who can forget...the sheer disbelief of that epic.
Along the way we collect memories, just as with other sports. When we watch for a prolonged period of time, we begin to develop nostalgia about what we have seen.
We dream of seeing another Shawn Michaels, we pray for more superstars like Steve Austin or Dwayne Johnson. We want to be in the arena when the next Undertaker walks to the ring.
We live our lives alongside the wrestling we watch. Sometimes we hold on to the past too much, but when we look back and see a fresh-faced Rocker turn into a mature, respected veteran, it hits home, just how incredible a journey we have been on.
It was as if it was only yesterday, and yet the sunny days of the 1980s have gone. Never to be repeated, but also never to be forgotten.
The challenge for older fans, is therefore accepting the current and future generations. We begin a new journey with the likes of Wade Barrett, Justin Gabriel, Joe Hennig, and Husky Harris.
I remember seeing a young Alberto Del Rio when he was still in development. Who knew a year later, he would be on the brink of championship gold?
I have just watched an impressive new wrestler named Mason Ryan, who is coming through FCW. I wonder where he will be in a year's time.
Not all will succeed. Many will not even make to our screens. The road to Wrestlemania is a long one, fraught with difficulties, life choices and sacrifice.
We may never enter the ring ourselves, but we as fans undertake a journey. Every year we watch, we enjoy, we criticise, we praise. We build up our memories and we seek more.
It is said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and as we look on as fans, we see the next generation take their first steps.
Some will progress slowly whilst others will be hand picked for greatness. Whatever the character, whatever the gimmick, we will be watching.
The past has offered so much to wrestling fans. The history and tradition. The memories we all have. The good times and bad. The lives that have been lost. The characters, the wrestlers, the superstars, the human beings that have existed.
Wrestling can offer almost every emotion possible: from anger to jubilation. Whether its cheering a veteran in the last throes of their career or egging on a new superstar, we will continue to watch.
Our journey continues.
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