The Art of Watching WrestleMania

Ken Napzok

The Art of Watching WrestleMania

            If you have done your duty as a card carrying member of the WWE Universe then you have already purchased and watched the latest commercial documentary The True Story of WrestleMania. In doing so you have undoubtedly learned three things: Vince’s hair never quite grew back the same way after Trump shaved it off, WrestleMania 2 was the cluster BLEEP you always thought it was, and the whole event is best viewed in the company of others. 

            A lot of “others.”

WrestleMania is exactly what it appears to be. It IS the Super Bowl of the Sports Entertainment world, it is a Pop Culture event that goes beyond the boundaries of the ring, and watching it cannot be approached like some average pay-per-view. This is not King of the Ring, y’all. So, as a service to you, my loyal reader(s), here is the best way to enjoy the upcoming “showcase of the Immortals” known as WrestleMania 27.

1.) Find a good group

            Do not just nestle into the lap of any group willing to slap down two hundred bucks (how much is WM 27 running?) and order pizza. You have to be careful who you choose to watch this with. You don’t want to be in a room full of know-it-all smarks or jaded wrestlers who have “seen it all.” Yet at the same you don’t want to hunker down with a bunch of seasonal wrestling fans who come out once a year and ask with no sense of irony “when is the Hulkster coming out?”

            Find that balance. It’s fun to rub shoulders with business veterans and pick up inside insight as to what you are seeing on the screen, but there is great value watching alongside a casual fan. Their face will absolutely light up with joy because Rey Mysterio just defied gravity and the last “high risk” move they saw was a Jumping Jim Brunzell dropkick.

2.) Dress accordingly

            Unless you are going to a friend’s house, keep in mind you will be public. I know you paid a lot for that kilt or John Cena jersey, but you don’t want to show to a bar looking like you didn’t get the memo that Casual Friday was cancelled at the office. Wear a wrestler’s T-Shirt. Grab your D-Generation X baseball cap. Wear them both together, but you want to think about comfort first. OK. You put a lot of effort into the Yokozuna costume. We get it. You like your heel’s monster-sized, but think of the awkward bathroom break you’ll experience when you have to beg your friend to help you untie your Sumo mawashi before you get down to business..

            And, please, for the love of all things holy, please do not wear your replica championship belt. This is a viewing party, not the Hilton hotel lobby at a WrestleReunion convention.

3.) Pace yourself with the food

            Like its mainstream cousin the Super Bowl, WrestleMania is certainly also about the food. This is not the day to keep to any diets or check the labels. Dive in. Like Superfly Snuka dive in. Do you want an extra order of Buffalo Wings? Of course you do. Order it, wipe your fingers on the back of your friend’s Randy Orton hoodie, and enjoy the day.

            But PACE yourself!

            WrestleMania can be long. Especially if Ric Flair needs a restspot. (Not a problem this year!) The Undertaker can’t get to the ring in under seven minutes. John Cena’s intro will probably include dancers, dudes dressed as Cena, and a small but poignant one act play about the Civil War. If you munch like a madman you’ll be tapped out before the half-way point. No one can cheer for The Miz to the best of their ability if all that fried food mixes with the soda and beer at a rapid pace. (What? You’re NOT cheering for The Miz? Fine. Miz train, party of me.) Take your time, pace yourself, this is not Man vs Food. This is Wrestle Freakin’ Mania.

4.) Pop Culture Wrestling references

            No matter what company you’re keeping for the big show, you better sharpen your wit and prepare your best pop culture wrestling references. Knowing when to drop a well-timed, “Man, I can’t wait for the Junkyard Dog to come out!” or a Bobby Heenan quote is of the utmost importance come WrestleMania Sunday. Being a wrestling fan is based, in large part, on simultaneously loving the past and constantly making fun of the past. If you’re feeling a little rusty, then brush up! Grab the WWE Encyclopedia or go into your Public Storage space and break out your VHS copy of WrestleMania 6. And pick your spot. While your reference to the Nasty Boys using a biker helmet to win the tag titles at WrestleMania VII was funny, nobody wants to hear it at the wrong time. And don’t overdo it. If your “Is that King Kong Bundy or Vicki Guerrero” comment didn’t take the first four times, sit on it before you try the fifth time.
           
5.) Don’t be afraid to cheer…

            One of my recent WrestleMania viewings was ruined, plain and simple, by the presence of some “over it” fans in attendance. No matter what was happening in any given match, they made sure to complain about it. They were particularly harsh on some legends absolutely giving it their all in the ring for one last time. While not everything Team Vince throws out there is perfect or up to ‘Mania par, the reason we’re all coming out to watch this things is because we love it. So don’t be afraid to, you know, actually cheer and enjoy yourself. Giving yourself to moment is a large part of the viewing experience.

6.) … but be sure to say “that wasn’t as good as…”

            While you don’t want to ruin anyone else’s experience with your jaded bitterness, you also don’t want to lose any street cred with your more knowledgeable friends. So, be prepared to say that whatever big match just took place “wasn’t as good as” some match from another event. Just pick one. Jericho vs Michaels, Hart vs Austin, Crush vs Doink. It doesn’t matter. Just seem convinced you’re right.

7.) Complain that So and So is overrated.

            This goes especially for those watching the show alongside a bevy of independent wrestlers clearly more talented than any one on the WWE roster. And ESPECIALLY if you’re watching it with talented female workers during the Snooki portion. Make sure you understand that no one ON the show deserves to be there. You’re going to hear a lot of “I remember when Cena was The Prototype in UPW. He sucked then, too.” “The Miz is a reality TV star. He sucked then, too.” “I used to watch Jerry Lawler in Memphis during the ‘70s. He sucked then, too.” So, to avoid getting punched in the head during sips of Sprite or bites of chili cheese fries, just add to it.

            “Yeah, they all cut better promos than you, but you’re totally right. Triple H is just in the main event because he married Stephanie.”

8.) Time your bathroom breaks.

            You’re going to have to go. I mean, seriously, how many slices of pizza did you combine with chicken fingers? But you don’t want to be in the bathroom when the next big moment makes it into the history books. (“Oh my! Sting just showed up during the ‘Taker/ Triple H match, threw the TNA belt in the trash, and used a bat to destroy the ring and you were pooping?!?!?!”) So time your trip just right. The easy to pick spots are the Cena pre-match promos and any Diva’s match, but, quite frankly, too many people know of those times and really… do you want to miss Trish Stratus this year? Here are some off the beaten path bathroom break alternatives: During the video recap of the Cody Rhodes/ Rey Mysterio feud, during the highlights of the WWE Fan Axxess video package, or during John Cena’s title victory celebration.

9.) Pace yourself with your food.

            No, seriously, p-a-c-e yourself. It’s not even the main event yet. Take a breath between those steak slider burgers. I warned you earlier.

10.) Have fun

            No. Really. Have fun. This is the day we all still live for as wrestling fans. It doesn’t get any bigger or more important than this. (Sorry, TNA, not even Victory Road can top this.) So, whatever you do… have lots of fun. I will be hanging around with the boys and gals from Millennium Pro Wrestling at Yankee Doodles in Simi Valley. You are all welcome to join us. I’ll be the nerd in the Cowboy hat, kilt, and Adrian Adonis dress.

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