Why I Love Professional Wrestling and More!
Last week, one of my followers on Twitter @realkevinkelly asked me why I write about wrestling when all I do is tear it apart. Fair question… If I hated hockey, why would I want to cover the NHL?
Fact is, I love pro wrestling and I hate sports-entertainment. I loved Championship Wrestling From Florida, the first television memory I have when I moved to Florida in 1977 until it faded into oblivion in the late 1980’s. The cable got turned on just before noon on a Saturday in September and the first sound I heard was Gordon Solie’s voice. Mike Graham was wrestling and the rest is history.
Jos LeDuc gave me nightmares for real when I was 12. The Canadian Lumberjack was outed for being a bad guy by Jimmy Garvin. When he shockingly attacked the future Freebird, LeDuc sent me into weeks of sleepless nights. I am not exaggerating in the least…
I remember the thrill I felt when Gordon Solie opened one broadcast with the report that Dusty Rhodes had finally captured the NWA World Heavyweight Championship and was truly in awe the first time I met the American Dream in 2004. The best moment of my WWE career was interviewing Gordon Solie on an episode of Byte This.
I attended live events in West Palm Beach, Ft. Pierce, St. Petersburg and Tallahassee from the time I was 11 until well into college. When the WWF came to Florida for the first time in 1985, I went but I hated it. To me, the WWF was the enemy.
I loved Georgia Championship Wrestling and later, the NWA and World Championship Wrestling, with the rise of the Four Horseman and the tag team rivalry of the Midnight Express and the Rock and Roll Express. Saturday nights at 6:05 on TBS… I remember everything about it. Hell, I became a Braves fan because of all the TBS I watched.
When I attended Florida State University from 1985 to 1990, I kept up on wrestling because I wanted to work in the industry. I told a few of my fellow Communications Majors and when they laughed, I stopped telling people. I have worked in the industry for 20 years so I can say I made the right decision and I was wrong to feel embarrassed about wanting to work in wresting.
I never wanted to work for the WWF but I did… for the money and the exposure. I was making $400 a week at the time and got a contract for $75,000 in 1996. See what happens when you work for money? WWF, for me, was the problem with the industry as a whole. Vince killed the territories and exposed the business. Said it was all a work. Ric Flair was my champion and Hulk Hogan was a big goof but I did like the Samoans and Jimmy Snuka because they were cool.
I love professional wrestling and I hate sports-entertainment.
Professional wrestling features wrestlers who compete in matches that surround the chase of titles. From there, all of the adversarial relationships related to the title chases create money-drawing matches that fans want to see. Depth through simplicity. Complex emotions boiled down to simple, digestible components.
Sports entertainment features wrestlers who compete in largely insignificant matches, where the majority of titles have no significance either. Long, in-ring promos, scripted drama and shallow, one-dimensional characters complete the dim picture. But, the music, pyro and atmosphere are audience-pleasing. It’s a two-hour, wildly paced, rock and roll show. But to me, it’s fast food.
I would love to see CM Punk compete for the ROH World Championship again someday. I’d love to see Robert Roode have the same chance. There are many great wrestlers today who work in sports-entertainment and do very well in it but I would like to see professional wrestlers have a bigger stage on which to compete.
I love professional wrestling and I always will.
Do you feel the same as me about pro wrestling? Do you love sports-entertainment? What do you love?