My father would always sit on the end of the bed to watch television; his shows that never seem to give a clear picture due to the antenna on our roof being damaged.
On this particular day, my father was watching a show that for once seemed entertaining enough to grasp my attention.
The television was showing two grown men in spandex tights flailing across an elevated square stage with flexible ropes surrounding them. They were punching, kicking and flailing their bodies at each other in just a spectacular way.
My father reacted in excitement to every hit thrown and every pin attempt. He would cover his face with his right hand, and groan with every punch thrown at the man known as Ric Flair, whom he cheered.
When the wrestler he cheered for made a comeback my father would shout in joy and yell words of encouragement to Ric Flair.
When the man in the black and white striped shirt pounded his palm on the floor three times the crowd went wild with excitement, my dad leaped off the bed and did fist pumps in the air!.
I stood in my crib not fully comprehending what I had seen. I couldn’t connect the emotions my father was feeling towards what was happening inside the television set, nor could I understand why I found what I viewed with my two young eyes as thrilling.
All I knew was I felt the need to see more of what I have witnessed. I had a feeling inside of me that lusted for what I saw. I was starting to mark out for the first time ever!
That single event was the genesis of me becoming a pro-wrestling fan. The emotion my father felt would be imprinted upon me to where it would be an addiction.
If my favorite wrestler won, I would get wide-eyed with joy and just cheer as if I was really a fan in the audience. If my favorite wrestler lost, I would throw a nasty temper tantrum. I would stomp my feet to the ground and scream angrily at the top of my lungs.
I would even try to destroy the television set to no avail! I worshipped the likes of Stone Cold, The Rock, Sabu, Terry Funk and Kane.
I had had deep hatred for wrestlers such as The Hart Foundation, Vince McMahon, The NWO and Yokozuna.
My entire family are faithful diehard wrestling fans as my father would never miss a single wrestling show if he could help it.
My brother cuddled with an Ultimate Warrior plush doll which was indeed disturbing but never the less showed his commitment to that wrestler.
In the 80s, my mother waitressed at a restaurants that resided near the sacred WWE headquarters and would be frequently visited by the immortal Hulk Hogan.
In the early 90’s I would witness Ric “The Nature Boy” Flair strutting to the ring with his colorful robes with women only men would dream of having at their side.
His signature moves would be slapping his opponent in the chest while they make the sickest of painful expressions and wrapping his legs on the opponent’s legs to make them tap out in excruciating pain.
He would randomly let out a big booming, “WHOOOOOOOOOO” to get the crowd going.
I would watch Hulk Hogan enter the ring while going to each of the four sides of the ring waving his hand next to his ear to ear the crowd roar.
He would get tossed around the ring and get pummeled to a bloody pulp only to make a glorious comeback which ending with a leg drop to seal the win. He would routinely tell the crowd to say their prayers and eat their vitamins.
“Whatcha gonna do Brutha…..whatcha gonna do when Hulkamania runs wild on YOUUUU” was a catch phrase that is well-known around the world.
This is also the same time period that I mysteriously became deaf. The sounds of fists colliding into the wrestler’s bodies started to slowly become silenced.
The Booming, “WHOOOOOOOO” from Ric Flair so vanished. I could not hear any promos or hear the crowd cheer. It scared me to know that I would never be able to hear the voices of my heroes.
The one saving grace was the fact that many of the wrestlers were technically skilled in the ring and many can perform marvelous high-flying moves that grabbed attention!
Once I was fitted with hearing aids that would connect with that putrid ugly grey machine that would be strapped onto my cubby little tummy. Being able to hear wrestling again was something I was pretty damn happy about.
I was getting sick and tired of not understanding the storylines that where occurring since all I saw where wrestlers mouths moving but nothing coming out of them.
To hear Ric Flair say, “WHOOOOOO” again was one of those Kodak moments, except the memory is forever in my mind!
I was six when my parents divorced and at that time I didn’t know the reason for the separation only being told that my father was leaving. Having the one person in the house I could always count on to watch wrestling with me leave was something I could not and would not want to deal with.
I just diverted my attention to the Montreal Screw job where Bret Hart really did get screwed out of his championship than focus on the fact that my dad is absent from my life.
I looked up to my father to the point of worshiping him and wanted to be just like him in every way possible. He was a Stone Cold fan so I became one too.
I would copy his mannerism to the point where I was a mini version of my father in ways that was both comical and eerily creepy. With my father gone I focus my hero-worshiping towards the baddest man in the WWE….Stone Cold Steve Austin!
Focusing on Stone Cold instead of my father's absence was easier to deal with instead of facing it head-on.
More than a year later at the age of seven, my grandmother died of lung cancer. I remember my mother waking me up in the wee hours of the morning with a look of sorrow telling me, “The angels are taking grandma to heaven now.”
I thrashed in my bed screaming at the top of my lungs while my mom just watched, waiting for me to return to my senses. I finally calmed down with tears flowing down my eyes.
My Grandma was the kind that would take me out back to dig up some slimy gooey wiggly worms with a run of a mill hand held garden shovel rusted from years of use. She would let me paint birds in her paintings. She would play the piano for my own entertainment as I listened with a cheesy smile.
It deeply saddens me that I would never be able do any of those activities with her ever again. My grandma never was a wrestling fan, but she taught me to follow something I love no matter what it is, and wrestling was something I love even though I was considered too old to watch it anymore.
My only escape from the cruel reality of life was through pro-wrestling. For two hours every Monday I would suddenly take all the negative and bleak emotions and mentally sweep them underneath a carpet in my mind’s eye in order to embrace the glory of pro-wrestling.
It’s the late 90’s and it is a time label by wrestling pundits as the Attitude Era. Wrestling was edger than ever with it being overly sexualized and the angles and storylines darker and edger in manner.
It was my generation's boom period of wrestling….it was a period I was in need of to heal the wounds of my life. My father was becoming more of deadbeat dad by the hour, I was getting bullied left and right, and I felt alone in the world!
This was a time where I established who my favorite wrestler was during that time before Stone Cold took his place. He is most electrifying man in sports entertainment, The Rock.
Everything that comes out of his mouth is not just gold….no excuse, me I’m wrong as everything that comes out of The Rock’s mouth is a treasure chest full of colored jewels!
The Rock would say phenomenal things such as: "The Rock says this: if the Rock hits you, he'll kill you. If he misses, the wind behind the punch will give you pneumonia and you'll die anyway, so the choice is yours, jabroni!" or my personal favorite, "The jabroni beating, pie eating, trail-blazin', eyebrow raisin', all around, smack it down People's Champ, The Rock!"
He was cocky but hilarious, and most of the time he had me laughing over every word he uttered.
I remember a particular moment involving The Rock. I was sitting on stained couch drinking from a can of Coca-Cola while watching Raw is War. The Rock was in the center of the ring with a pissed off expression on his face. Black sleek sunglasses combine with his flashy attire perfectly showed his arrogance.
Opposing The Rock is a wrestler who goes by the name Mankind, a disturbed soul who wears a brown leather mask and wears a raggedy white dress shirt with short sleeves and a black tie. With a microphone in hand he exclaims, “The Rock, this is your life!”
As balloons and confetti fall from the arena ceiling, The Rock paced around the ring greatly annoyed at Mankind.
Mankind introduced his old teacher from his school days and his football coach. Hell, The Rock told his teacher off for not allowing him to make pies and told his couch that he will take that whistle, shine it up real nice and shove it up his candy ass.
It was the last guest that came out was The Rock’s stunning girlfriend and I memorized word by word of what The Rock said to her.
"How ya doin', honey? You remember back in high school, when me and you used to sit on your parents' couch and we used to kiss a little bit? And then you used to nibble on the Rock's neck, you used to like The Rock's tongue! And then you'd whisper. 'Hey Rock, Hey Rock go for it, go for second base!' And what did you do?
"YOU CUT THE ROCK OFF ON SECOND BASE! And you come out here wanting to go one on one with the Great One? Now in front of all The Rock's fans you want to serve him a nice great piece of that poontang pie!
"Well, The Rock has got one thing to say to you... poontang your ass on outta here!"
That moment was crucial to making me a lifelong Pro-wrestling fan and was one of my fondest memories I’ll ever have of Pro-wrestling!
The Attitude Era and the 90’s came and went in a blink of an eye. Many wrestlers left WWE and a new generation of stars where ushered in to start a new era. Wrestling may still have been wrestling, but it was never the same to me again.
Many of the wrestlers I liked died and at first it was like losing a family member as I watch these men perform day in and day out. I knew there persona and I knew who they were in their personal lives.
I would just break down and weep as one by one, wrestlers die. They die either from a ring accident like Owen Hart who fell to his death doing a stunt in 1997. Eddie Guerrero died in 2005 after conquering his demons in regards to drugs; he still died.
Soon I’ve become desensitized to the many deaths to the point where I’m used to finding a name online or hearing on the news that another one of my childhood heroes has kicked the bucket or died from a drug overdoes.
I eventually learned of the backstage politics where wrestlers are petty enough to cost another his job just for the sake of keeping his spot on the roster.
Hulk Hogan is a major politician in the wrestling world as he would not get pinned by anyone unless it benefited himself and would not push new stars to the Main Event.
So, we get to the point to where I am today as a wrestling fan. I write about Pro-Wrestling Bleacher Report and writing about topics such as The Pros and Cons of the PG era to why wrestling is not fake.
I’m not that same fan watching wrestling from my crib anymore as I am wary of Pro-Wrestling, as it not the escape as it used to be once I found its dark side.
I still love it no matter what, and it’ll forever be a big part of my life!
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