Thursday, August 25, 2011

Downward Spiral

When Rev started this blog and introduced his contributors, he let it be known that I was a pro wrestling, a.k.a rasslin', fan. Well, that's partly true. I used to be one. A HUGE one.

A little background: Around the age of 10-11, my parents took me to my great aunt's house one Saturday night so they could go to dinner and a movie. Well, this was around 1985-86 and Saturday nights were rasslin' nights on TV. It started around 7 p.m. and went well past midnight. To say she was into it was like saying Charlie Sheen was into hookers.

My parents told me she was and I was mildly interested. I had caught some of the NWA broadcasts on TBS, etc. and was intrigued by the combat and the personalities (one in particular, but we'll get to him later) and looked forward to catching it and having her explain who everyone was to me. Well, I remember it like it was yesterday: they picked us up some burgers, fries and shakes from the Dairy Queen, dropped me off and let my lesson begin.

My dad has always hated the "sport", but I was just 10-11 years old and he felt it was harmless and it was good company for the lady. He let me know it was fake and just for entertainment. He failed, however, to properly prepare me for just how serious my great aunt took it. Good God, I've never seen someone get so wrapped up in something. She would hollar, curse (no F bombs, but plenty of S ones) and condemn the heels (the bad guys) to the feiry pits of hell for what they did to the faces (the good guys). I was as entertained by the 70+ year old woman hurling her cane at the TV as I was by what was happening on the TV itself.

One wrestler in particular captured my attention and her ire: Ric Flair. Even if you've never seen a second of wrestling in your life, you've heard of Ric Flair. He's been in the business since the 70's and is the ultimate heel. He came on the screen for an interview in a suit and sunglasses and began yelling and WOOHing about what he did and what he was gonna do. I was riveted.

This became a Saturday night ritual for several more weekends: pick up some DQ and head to my great aunt's for some rasslin'. We even took her to her first live event at the old Omni. The cane once again came into play as she blasted this enormous fella across the back with it because he wouldn't sit down and it obstructed her view, much to my dad's chagrin. Thank God he found it funny and didn't get out of his seat again until it was over.

When I got into high school, I stopped watching, but still kept up with Flair's antics on TV.

When I got into college, I abandoned it completely until my senior year @ UGA when the WWF Attitude Era began (Stone Cold Steve Austin in an endless battle w/ his "boss", Vince McMahon). I was in one of my business classes and this guy in front of me was telling the person sitting beside him how great it was. It happened to be a Monday, so I tuned into Monday Night Raw that night and was sucked in all over again.

(Full disclosure: when Simple & Rev were renting an apartment in the ATL, they even bought a PPV for us to watch and Rev even did the entire K-Dogg bit, complete w/ the flip across the room.)

It was always mindless fun, but as we get older, we need to abandon it to be taken seriously in society. I still, however, kept up w/ Flair only by taping the Monday night shows and fast forwarding thru all of it until his segment, then moving on. I even renacted an elbow drop at a tailgate, thus falling down the hill and breaking my toe in the process. Another incident involving me dropping an elbow on a scarecrow in my yard around Halloween and woohing and shuffling all around his broken carcass was captured on camera by a friend, but was confiscated by the FBI.

I just wanted to give a little (it turned out to be a lot) of background before I put the link to the excellent, yet sad, article written on the Grantland site about the long, steady decline of Ric Flair due to his real life excesses. It's an all too familiar tale of a celebrity living for today and not planning for tomorrow.

Give it a read when you have time.

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