UCBW WrestleSlamMania IX is tonight at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater NY in lovely Chelsea, Manhattan. It is our first quarter pay-per-view of the year and we’ve got a shit ton of fun matches for you. 11:59pm, you should be there.
“You just…you just don’t do anything. You get lost in your head, and you sit around thinking instead of getting on with something, and most of the time you think rubbish. You always seem to miss what’s really happening.”—High Fidelity (via inivyandintwine)
The reason I initially fell in love with professional wrestling, as a child living in southern Florida with no friends, was the way their world, as crazy as it got at times and as cartoonish as the characters could be, was committed to itself completely. You may have had giant guys with neon colors painted on their face absorbing the power of the immortals from shaking the ropes and women slapping one another because this one slept with the abusive boyfriend of that one, and it might have been stupid and childish and silly, but they were in it. Their world was the world and it mattered. Mythical characters like The Undertaker and Kane lived in the same world at the same time as more grounded characters like Triple H, The Rock, and Stone Cold Steve Austin and that didn’t detract from the believable reality of their universe.
I fell in love with it because, aside from Saturday morning cartoons on Fox, I had no other outlet to escape from my loneliness and my need to believe that somewhere there was something more. That underdogs could triumph and, with a little bit of hard work and heart, it’s possible to conquer anything: from corrupt, evil bosses to your evil brother.
Then I got older and self-consciousness set in. This thing that I loved, that I would run indoors every Monday night at the same time regardless of what I was doing or who I was playing with, became something I was embarrassed by. Something I was told to be embarrassed by. You couldn’t be a popular kid and kiss pretty girls if you liked something so nerdy. So, I threw it away. I discarded this amazing, cool, weird, silly, wonderful form of entertainment that I loved because I would rather be a cool kid. I never really became a cool kid but, unfortunately, my love of professional wrestling didn’t really come back to me until 2011.
On Monday, June 27th, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada, professional wrestler CM Punk delivered what would become a legendary shoot promo on Monday Night Raw. In it, he declared his hatred for backstage politics and the way it doesn’t matter how good in the ring or on the mic you may be because there are guys who kiss ass and, well, you can watch the promo yourself if you haven’t seen it because my words aren’t going to do it justice. This is the thing that drew me back. This man, a pretty average looking punk guy with lean muscles instead of jacked up steroid pumped biceps, this technically advanced man gifted with brilliant charisma and a way with words, was being honest and speaking from the heart rather than from a script. This man, CM Punk, is the reason I found wrestling again. There was something so easy to relate to in his frustrations and heartache. How, because he loved this art form so much, he was willing to get fired from his dream job in order to maybe change it for future generations.
I was hooked again. Luckily, this time I had a group of friends who also loved professional wrestling. We watched every pay-per-view, would talk about every Raw, and dream about how cool it’d be to be a wrestler. Through these friends, I have helped out in locker rooms and befriended independent wrestlers.
In January, after the Royal Rumble, CM Punk walked out on the WWE without really giving any insight on whether it was a permanent thing and what the exact reasons were and, even though I hate it and miss him and wish I knew more, I respect that. A man who grabbed my attention back in 2011 for being honest and risking his ties to the thing he’s loved and wanted since he was a kid has done just that again. At first it was scary and sad, my idol and hero leaving the thing that I watch weekly, but now I see the benefits. His leaving has allowed wrestlers like Daniel Bryan, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, the Usos, Cesaro, AJ Lee, and Paige (as well as talent from NXT who are coming up) to get a spot light. Whether his absence is permanent or temporary, we shall see, but lets not forget that it was his choice. Chanting CM Punk during great matches isn’t going to do anything because Vince and HHH didn’t fire the man. He left on his own accord. And he had every right, contracts aside, to do just that. It’s his life and his choice.
I still love wrestling, in fact I think we just started a new era that really excites me and shows a lot of promise with brilliant young talent and the indie scene right now is beautiful (see: Chikara and Dragon Gate USA) and full of underrated future stars (see: Jervis Cottonbelly, Kid Cyclone, Icarus, Chuck Taylor, Shynron, Hania The Huntress, The Batiri, AR Fox, Trent Baretta [a former WWE Superstar], and the list goes on).
I still love wrestling for the zany characters and storylines grounded in a real world, but now the thing I love most about professional wrestling is the honesty and the reality that makes the art of it all pop more. Thank you, professional wrestling and wrestlers, for inspiring me and making me happy and distracted when I need to be and something that I can relate to.
Hell, maybe I’ll be a wrestler one day, you never know.