Much like many of my fellow pro wrestling fanatics and IWC members, I am used to wrestling being a pretty big part of my life. Every day I visit web sites where I read about and discuss wrestling news and happenings. I watch wrestling DVDs most nights after work, and spend the average week in a cycle that begins with conceiving a column concept, then drafting, editing, publishing, and finally, reviewing comments from readers. So when I can’t get my fix the absence is noticeable, and the only topic on my mind this week was this: when I can’t partake in my usual amount of the unique hybrid of athleticism and entertainment, I miss it all, from promos to storylines to in-ring action.
TODAY’S ISSUE: A week with no wrestling.
My brother got married last Friday night, so I took leave from my duty station in South Korea on Monday morning and flew home to New Jersey to be in the wedding. The week before the blessed event was filled with travel, visiting with family (it was the first time we were all home together in over five years), rehearsal dinners, brunches, and running errands to help ensure the ceremony went smoothly. With so much going on there was no time to watch wrestling or visit my usual online stomping grounds. What was it I missed about my favorite hobby during my week without it?
Obviously, the actual wrestling action was the most significant part that I missed. The give-and-take of a really hot match, the build as two warriors transition from the feeling-out phase into the meat of the contest and explode with a big finish, and the roar of the crowd as the better man, at least on that given night, stands victorious. I miss stiff strikes like Roderick Strong’s chops, Erick Stevens’ clubbing blows, and Nigel McGuinness’ lariats. I miss the smart counter-wrestling of guys like Davey Richards, the painful-looking holds applied by submission specialists such as Bryan Danielson and Samoa Joe, the explosive quickness of guys like Austin Aries and KENTA, and cool high-risk aerial maneuvers like Jack Evans and Tyler Black perform night after night.
There’s something so raw about hand-to-hand combat; it accesses the remnants of our caveman ancestry and stirs our emotions, touching a level of primal instinct deep within us. Obviously pro wrestling is simulated combat, but when it’s properly executed by easily identifiable characters embroiled in logical strife, the fan can easily suspend his disbelief and enjoy the pseudo-carnage as if it were real. Not to mention that a lot of independent wrestlers create the illusion of stiff strikes and dangerous attacks by actually hitting really hard, so you can almost feel the victim’s pain as you watch him get battered and bruised by his aggressor, which draws you into the drama of the match even more.
Another element I missed this past week was all the personalities and characters. The cocky, arrogant heels like Kenny King and Chris Hero and their cousins, the conniving little cowardly weasels such as Jimmy Rave, can be so much fun to hate. Babyfaces like MVP, who are too cool for school, never fail to entertain. Bad-asses like the Briscoes and Homicide step up to every challenge, and remind me of Dirty Harry. The funny guys like Colt Cabana and Christian (Cage) who are good at riling us up no matter their heel/face alignment or slot on the card are underrated by the “legitimate” acting world, but we fans know what amazing performers they truly are. Complicated psychological specimens like Jimmy Jacobs, oddballs like Delirious, and wackos like the Necro Butcher are fascinating personas who can often leave you shaking your head in wonder at just what a therapist might do if they wound up on a couch in their office.
Speaking of Jimmy Jacobs, I also find myself missing all the storyline activity that drives the wrestling action. For instance, is the Age of the Fall really done forever now that Jimmy Jacobs has been run out of ROH? What’s up with Legacy? Are they coming apart at the seems, or will Randy Orton reunite his little band of third-gen wrestlers? Now that Edge is injured, what will become of his tag team championship run with Jericho? How goes CM Punk’s subtle heel turn? Are fans buying him in that role? Is WWE allowing Punk to execute his heel persona to the limit, or are Vince and company neutering him? Will John Cena soon switch alignment and become interesting again, or will he be the babyface-for-life that nobody except McMahon wants him to be?
In addition to the wrestling action, the characters, and the storyline occurrences, I actually also find myself missing the clever repartee between the educated, intelligent fans that comprise the IWC. Heck, I even miss the stupid comments made by WWEirdos who think the entire wrestling industry is whatever crap Vince McMahon slaps onto television each week, regardless of the hundreds of feds out there on the indy scene. There’s something to be said about commiserating with a group of your peers, and reading the columns and comments of my fellow unpaid colleagues is usually a bright spot in any given day. They help me look at the wrestling world differently or encourage me to seek feds, shows, matches, and promos I’ve yet to see. They remind me of forgotten classic moments I enjoyed once before and can now view again just for the fun of it. They call me out when I’m wrong, support me when they think I’m right, and argue against my opinions if they disagree. But whatever their comments might be, nine times out of ten they have something to say, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
The cool thing about being in contact with so many other supporters of the genre is that wrestling fans can be fiercely loyal to a particular company, and can be extremely selfless about sharing hidden treasures. After all, the more fans that watch a particular promotion, the more successful that promotion will be, and we all want our favorite feds to survive and thrive. It’s fun keeping in touch with fans like that. I’ve discovered so much great wrestling because another writer or reader suggested I give something new a try, and I’m forever grateful. I wouldn’t be the fan I am today if I didn’t know where to look to find the good stuff.
Without being able to immerse myself in pro wrestling this week as I normally would have, I felt like I was missing out; it will be good to catch up once again and get a much-needed hit of the stuff I love. Here’s hoping you all get your fix when you need it, and keep letting each other know your opinions, ideas, and fantasy-booking scenarios. Share your favorite characters and matches with your online cohorts and friends of the business. Complain about matches that fail to live up to expectations, storylines that disappoint, and booking that makes no sense. For all the criticism it takes, for how little it’s respected by the legitimate entertainment world, no matter how lowbrow some snobs might consider it or how “fake” they claim it is, pro wrestling is a lot of fun. Enjoy it!
Vin Sanity is not categorized as a psychological disorder… yet.
p.s. – “Nothing makes the earth seem so spacious as to have friends at a distance; they make the latitudes and the longitudes.” – Henry David Thoreau
The original version of this syndicated column, titled Alternate Reality by Vin Tastic, appears each Monday morning on Pulse Wrestling.
Elsewhere on Pulse Wrestling this week…
John Wiswell brings something a little different to the Cult of ROH this week as he discusses a tag match from Pro Wrestling NOAH featuring Go Shiozaki & KENTA versus Kensuke Sasaki & Katsuhiko Nakajima.
Big Andy Mac reports on the most recent episode of ROH on HDNet.
Ace Glazer’s latest Modest Blog discusses WWE’s developmental territory FCW.
Mark Allen declares Chris Jericho his wrestler of the week and discusses WWE news in this edition of This Week in ‘E.
Jon Bandit has 10 Thoughts on TNA iMPACT! and it’s the only thing I read about Jarrett’s fed anymore.
Here’s Charlie Reneke’s Way Too Long Review of the 2009 Royal Rumble.
Jake Ziegler reviews ROH’s Insanity Unleashed DVD from 14 March 2009.