I love professional wrestling.
In the end that’s what it all boils down to for all of us into this crazy mixed up world, and I can’t think of a better statement to open this blog with. A lot of us have at one point or another taken a hiatus and yet we’ve come back, for one reason or another. But those four opening words hold true, at least to certain eras, or wrestlers, or matches, or crazy promos. And so I’m back to try this thing they call being a wrestling fan one more time.
The last week or two has been the first time I’ve watched wrestling since June 13, 2009. For those of you who aren’t giant Japanese wrestling junkies, that was the day Mitsuharu Misawa died. I was a big fan of his; if you asked me to list my three favourite wrestlers of all time, I could answer without hesitation Jumbo Tsuruta, Stan Hansen, and Mitsuharu Misawa. It was the last straw at the time in a long, long line of straws that pile up if you really care about wrestling, and I’d had enough. It is one of the things you have to cope with as a long term, “smartened up” wrestling fan: this business does bad things to people’s lifespans. That’s an unavoidable truth. And that’s not even touching things like Kobashi having a bajillion surgeries on his knees, or Mick Foley’s mass herniated disks. I think I got to the point with wrestling where, for a while, when it came to so much stuff I should have been enjoying as a fan it became too morbid an exercise and it was just time to unplug and be done with it. I’m a very big football fan. It’s not exactly a sport that does a lot of good for your body in the end either. But somehow it was harder to reconcile with wrestling. I was sick of dead heroes, I suppose. I went out cold turkey and stayed out, I thought maybe for good. But, when you remember watching wrestling since literally your earliest memories of TV all the way through being a focus of the whole early phase of your life, shaking something off for good isn’t so easily done.
It’s funny the things that can trigger a reaction. I have missed wrestling, to some small degree, but until all those recent theme music polls broke out at DVDVR I didn’t really have that much of an itch to do much about it. But then you start listening to those theme musics and they can’t help but bring back memories. Mostly good. So you start getting an itch. Then the match listing for the eventually forthcoming 1980’s All Japan set pops up. I look at that, and it’s a lot more than the start of an itch. It’s a real desire to watch this stuff, and enjoy the hell out of it at least one more time. There it is plain as day: Jumbo, Tenryu, Terry Funk, Stan Hansen, Flair, Misawa (even if his early stuff isn’t really what we remember most), that crazy great Killer Khan vs. Riki Choshu match, Furnas and Kroffat, and just a boat of awesome matches. Am I really going to say no to that? I don’t think so. If nothing else I just want to hear people in the Budokan chant along and go nuts for matches and generally make a mockery of that amazingly insane old talking point that “Japanese fans are quiet and sit on their hands, dontcha know”. People come up with some really weird shit when you leave them to their own devices.
Anyway, I promise my other blog entries won’t look much like this one. Don’t worry, there will be plenty of match content forthcoming in my other posts. Mostly I am going to dig into matches from my own collection that I want to revisit, the wrestling I really love. That’s going to be mostly Japanese stuff, from the 1990’s or earlier (although for now I’m going to avoid All Japan of the 1980’s specifically so as to save that stuff for the forthcoming project on that front). True it’s been covered a lot. But this is my blog and if I want to help the glorious information overload on the internet, I will. I’m not that interested in new wrestling (I am 29 so in wrestling fan terms I am a GEEZER that remembers TAPE TRADING on GEOCITIES after all) and my itch for it is really to take a trip down memory lane with the stuff I love, see how it’s held up, maybe discover a hidden gem or two along the way. It won’t all be Japanese, because I do truly love good American wrestling too. I hate that stigma that loving Japanese wrestling means U HATE AMURRICA. Fuck that. What a lame talking point that always was. Rude vs. Steamboat Ironman, Wrestlemania X7, The Midnight Express, Ric Flair, The Royal Rumble, the Bill Watts Russian Flag angle, the random alternate universe of Bischoff-era WCW Saturday Night, Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin, Terry Funk getting kicked in the head by a horse on WCW Thunder… yeah. I could go on and on. There is a lot of stuff out there I love, from the sublime to the ridiculous. But to try and add a bit more and keep it from being too much of a niche I’ve also decided I’m going to dig into other things that will be new to me, usually I’m hoping something I can link to off of YouTube so we can all share the love (or INTERNET OUTRAGE) together. And I’m thinking about throwing in a “promo of the week” clip just for the hell of it, because that stuff deserves a lot of love too.
Hopefully I can aim for one post a week, maybe one thing out of my own collection, something new to me off YouTube (I’m sensing the possibility of random Steve Regal, finally checking out Buddy Rose a bit more, and who knows what else), and a promo, which shouldn’t be terribly overwhelming for time, and hopefully some people enjoy it. Some time in the next few days I will get this started and I’ll try and keep it going as a weekly thing. A celebration of all the fun we have with this, and why no matter what flaws it has we still love pro wrestling.