A Decade In Retrospect and The Evolution Of a Wrestling Fan

Kevin WilliamsCorrespondent IOctober 24, 2008

The first wrestling match that I can remember seeing included Chris Jericho, Rikishi, Chyna, and The Kat. This was ten years ago. I was only five years old at the time so I can't remember who won this match or how these wrestlers even fit into this match.

I must have been exposed to wrestling many times before this, but those four are the first people to come to mind when I think about my first memory of wrestling.

Over the years, wrestling and I have had our good times and our bad times. The second incarnation of D-X made me laugh when I was younger, but then again there was also a time when wrestling got so stale that I gave it up completely for four or five months.

If I'm not mistaken, at the time, the main heel faction on Smackdown included Nathan Jones, Matt Morgan, Big Show, and Paul Heyman, and Kurt Angle was the General Manager. Raw wasn't much better either. I tuned out shortly after Goldberg began losing to the likes of Batista (at the time he wasn't that big a deal).

Despite wrestling's shortcomings, and the state of the industry now, I still tune in to watch it. It's not the same excitement I had when I was younger though. Back when I was about seven, missing wrestling was the first of the seven deadly sins. Now, it isn't much of a big deal to miss a show or two. That's what the internet is for.

After my hiatus from wrestling in the fifth grade, I became interested again.

Without Eddie Guerrero, I would not be writing this article. The minute I saw that they had put the belt on him, I was hooked again. Finally someone new holding the belt. So thanks to Eddie for getting me back into wrestling, and may he rest in peace.

Though I was once again a wrestling fan, it wasn't the same as before. At first I watched what happened on TV, and accepted it for the way it was. When I was younger, no one could convince me that Undertaker and Kane were not really brothers. In my eyes, that made you public enemy number one.

When i regained interest however, I began digging back into the depths of wrestling history. I wanted to know its roots, why things happened the way they did, and why superstars would randomly disappear from televison.

I must have spent 85 to 90 percent of my 11-13 years on the computer trying to find out more about the history and the behind-the-scenes going ons of the wrestling industry.

So much goes into becoming successful in the wrestling business. How were Vince McMahon, Eric Bischoff, Paul Heyman, and other promoters supposed to know who would become a big star and who would become a big flop. I mean, Stone Cold Steve Austin will go down as one of the elites in the wrestling business.

This is the same "Stunning" Steve Austin that was fired by Eric Bischoff over the phone, and told that he did not have what it takes to be successful in wrestling. The select few who the fans will remember long after their wrestling days are over is as much a mystery as how the 1930s and 1940s would have been like if Hitler had been accepted into that art school.

When I look back, you will never be able to convince that things used to be different. The WWE had a major competitor, Kurt Angle had hair, Goldust was in shape, the Hardy Boyz were managed by Terri Runnels, Kane wore a mask, and the tag team division was taken seriously.

Who could forget the time when Stone Cold sprayed The Rock and the McMahons with a hose full of beer? And then, a few years later, Kurt Angle would return the favor to Austin and enter the arena in a milk truck only to douse Stone Cold and the WCW/ECW Alliance.

In my opinion, the most talented person ever to pick up a microphone was at large during these days. The only place you can see him now is on the big screen, but there was once a time when The Rock was everybody's favorite wrestler. He was good in the ring, had charisma on top of charisma, and could do just about anything on the mic. You could probably write an encyclopedia on The Rock's insults and catchphrases.

So, wrestling has been a source of memorable moments throughout my 15 (almost 16) years of existence.

The most memorable experience for me though came on a December night in 2000. As a surprise, my aunt took my cousins, sister, and me to see Starrcade 2000. We didn't know where we were until we were in our seats. This was also the last WCW Starccade, so I feel honored to have been able to attend.

Although I was only eight at the time, I still remember most of what happened that night. The things I did forget can be seen in a twenty-three part video on Youtube anyway. That night I saw my third favorite wrestler of all time, Kevin Nash, I saw DDP, Terry Funk, Rey Mysterio (unmasked), Ric Flair, Goldberg, Scott Steiner, Lex Luger, Sid Vicious, and so many more wrestlers.

There is nothing like a live pay-per-view. The pyro forces you to jump out of your seat, the entrance music blazes through the arena, you have fans screaming all around you, and it seems as though anything can happen. That night, Mike Awesome sent Bam Bam Bigelow through the top of an ambulance.

It's weird how one day I was sitting in the crowd watching these two fight one another, and now they are both deceased. May they also both rest in peace, and I thank them for putting on an entertaining ambulance match at Starrcade.

Big Sexy and DDP won the tag team titles that night. I got to see Nash pull the straps down and deliver the jackknife in person. At the end of the night, Scott Steiner walked out as champion.

Not my first choice, but an entertaining night nonetheless. The only people missing that night were Sting, Booker T., Hulk Hogan, and my favorite wrestler of all time, Bret Hart. During my extensive research of wrestling though, I have since found out why each of those wrestlers weren't there.

Currently, I am getting ready for the day, that is soon to come, when the bulk of wrestlers that I grew up with will (for the most part) walk off in to the sunset. Guys like Undertaker, Sting, Shawn Michaels, Kevin Nash, and Triple H, surely don't have that much time left, but there is a new generation that is ready to break through.

As these superstars begin to depart, we will witness the ascension of Ted DiBiase Jr., Cody Rhodes, Evan Bourne, CM Punk, Kofi Kingston, and many others.

Wrestling, for the most part, has given me ten good years, and I look forward to another ten great ones in the future.