Monday, February 27, 2012

When Wrestling Was Fun To Watch

I grew up a 90's kid, watched the saturday morning cartoons, obsessed with The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, there was Keenan and Kel and at night it was Jeapordy, Wheel Of Fortune, Seinfeld and great tv shows of the time but nothing got me more hooked and more tuned in then Professional Wrestling. The very first event I watched on TV that I can remember was Wrestlemania 12 and it was the coolest thing I saw. I saw a 7 foot deadman piledrive a bad ass giant, saw a ringmaster with a million dollar belt, I witnessed a grown man in gold kiss a scottish wrestler on the lips but the one match that caught my eye and the one I still will say to this day was the greatest match in the history of televised events was the Iron Man one hour marathon between the Heart Break Kid Shawn Michaels vs. Bret The Hitman Hart for the WWE Championship. That was the match that started my journey into the history of the sport and gave me the chance to learn about the very best in the sport from its early days in the sticks to the epic era of television.

When I began watching the Monday Night Wars between Raw and Nitro, it was the most fun I ever had as a fan watching these awesome athletes of all shapes and sizes doing the things that they did best. Unlike a lot of fans I wasn't very much interested in what the character was but what happened in the ring that put most of my attention to. Watching these guys jump off the ropes, doing suplexes, power slams, cage matches, 6 man tags and the incredible physiques they had. Yes I was a fan of the NWO and Degeneration X but none of that mattered unless they wrestled in the ring.

I went to a few house shows at the Cow Palace in San Francisco and the old San Jose Arena before it was changed to the HP Pavillion and was at 2 big PPVs and a Smackdown show and it was the most epic time of my life as a fan of the old WWE and WCW. Because of this I became obsessed of what wrestling really was and studied the old school days of the sport going back as far as ancient egypt to presidents and kings being wrestlers to the PT Barnum era of the ACT shows to the epic battles of Frank Gotch and George Hackenshmidt to Ed Strangler Lewis being the transition from real wrestling becoming a profitable industry of characters to Television where Lou Thesz was the talk of the globe. I was also obsessed with how the wrestlers trained and what they did to become stars other then becoming a character.

Even during the early days of television wrestlers with an amature background broke into the business and brought their styles to a whole other level. I will still say to this day from the clips of matches I saw of the early TV era that the best amature wrestlers that made an impact on Pro Wrestling were Lou Thesz, Verne Gagne, Gene Kiniski, The Briscos, Dory Funk jr., Karl Gotch and Billy Robinson. There were guys just as good but none had an impact like those mistros of the mat.

I can never imagine the training wrestlers went through to break into the wrestling business. I mean sh*t the easy part was training in the ring and building a charcter but to put all that infront of hundreds of thousands of people was just brutal. I've seen clips of guys aching and begging for their lives for the torture to stop. I've heard stories of Hulk Hogan training from Hiro Matsuda, Eddy Sharkey who trained guys like Road Warriors, Bob Backlund and Jesse "The Body" Ventura who took these guys to limits that you can't imagine unless you were there and don't get me started on guys like Walter "Killer" Kowalski who was a conditioning machine who taught the art of the business to future WWE Hall Of Famer Paul Levesque aka Triple H.

I've been through torture workouts myself in my later years after being a teenager but never have I or ever want to be put through that kind of training but that also put me on my quest for being in condition and strong. Conditioning is your greatest friend and nobody put that concept better then the late Karl Gotch. It doesn't matter whether you're in wrestling or in other sports, you can have the techniques down to a science but if your condition is poor you might as well get out the door.

I wish there were matches that were just as good if not better then the matches going on today in WWE's PG era which I have no idea what that concept is nor do I care. There are some great wrestlers today like Rey Mysterio, NCAA standout Jack Swagger, College champion Dolph Ziggler but the one guy that really brought his amature status to the ring and brought a whole new meaning to the words Wrestler and even going back to the place where he first gained fame in the Olympics is Kurt Angle. This guy in my opinion is our generation's Dan Gable and he took wrestling in ways that will never be duplicated as far as wrestling goes not rassling. There are a few guys that are good to watch these days but it doesn't live up to the era of my teenage years where you had guys like the Rock, Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Undertaker and quite possibly one of the funniest cats in the business as well as one of the greatest performers Chris Jericho.

They don't make wrestlers like them anymore and the very few guys that are good to watch every now and then like Randy Orton, John Cena, Kofi Kingston and CM Punk just had me lost interest as a fan of that part of the business and rather watch the guys from my generation to the day days of Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, Harley Race, Ricky Steamboat, The Road Warriors, Bob Backlund and believe it or not Macho Man Randy Savage. Nowadays I watch real wrestlers like Brock Lesnar, Matt Huges, The Shamrocks, Tito Ortiz, Josh Barnett, Randy Couture and the great Japanese wrestlers.

Although I have lost interest in the few years of WWE wrestling, WWE gave me the chance to learn and love wrestlers of the past and transition from the loud characters and chair swinging lunitics to the kick ass submission style and scientific version of wrestling. Its all how you tend to look at things. Whether you're a fan of wrestling ingeneral or not its really how you love to watch your heroes and watch the great evolvement that unfolds whether its cool or not and find the best to watch and learn for yourself.

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