The arena lights black out. The bell tolls and smoke rolls into the aisle. A crack of thunder and flash of lighting. The funeral dirge creeps in as a figure in black appears. The camera cuts to the crying faces of children in the crowd.
What Makes Me Proud to Be a Wrestling Fan
As a young kid myself, I have just experienced one of the greatest spectacles in all of professional wrestling — the entrance of the Undertaker.
Whereas some kids might read comic books and others watch professional sports to find their superheroes, I had professional wrestling. For good or bad — and there has been a great deal of bad — I was enamored. From the Undertaker’s entrance and for the next dozen or so years, I found many things that didn’t embarrass me to be a wrestling fan. Even now that I have grown out of watching wrestling on television, there are still a few moments that give me chills. Here are a few examples taken from when I was at my most heated as a wrestling fan.
Wrestlers that made me proud to be a fan
Chris Jericho – The Ayatollah of Rock and Rolla is an incredible performer and fantastic on the mic. I became a fan when he was in WCW and misspoke all of his opponents and stayed a fan when his matches were regularly the most exciting to see on any show.
Mankind – In each of his characters, Mick Foley endured a great deal of unnecessary pain to bring a dose of realism to every match. As Cactus Jack he flew onto concrete and into Japanese death matches, but as Mankind he took what could have been just another cheesy WWE gimmick and created a genuine character. It is too bad that he will probably be remembered for his fall off the top of Hell in a Cell as he was great at drawing you into how real a wrestling match could be.
Stone Cold Steve Austin – Stone Cold was a machine and he made wrestling popular for everyone to be a fan.
The Undertaker – This is another gimmick that could have hit the garbage chute with the likes of the Red Rooster and Doink the Clown. A big part of the fun of pro wrestling is the outrageous characters, but there is a fine line to tread between outrageous and insipid. The Undertaker defines how a pro wrestler can become an attraction by himself.
Shawn Michaels – On pure athletic ability, nobody can deny that Shawn Michaels is incredible. His matches are always exciting. The prime example of what can make wrestling greater than what it appears to be.
Match Gimmicks that made me proud to be a fan
Ladder Match – I had never seen anything like a ladder match until Shawn Michaels versus Razor Ramon. When you begin to add metal ladders and the threat of falling from said 10-foot high ladder, some of the complaint about how wrestling is fake gets thrown out the window.
Hardcore Battle Royal – I am thinking of a specific WWE match that was a lot of fun and is the reason behind someone like Crash Holly becoming a 20-something-time hardcore champion. It also began the storyline of the hardcore championship being defended 24/7. A specific favorite was Crash Holly running from several would-be champions through a Chuck E. Cheese type establishment. Now I am not necessarily proud, nor does that make wrestling look anymore authentic. It was just a lot of fun.
Those are a few examples, there are actually many more. I also tend to enjoy the things that make wrestling look ridiculous. As long as its fun, that is the only real requirement.