**Updated** I’ve searched YouTube for videos of the matches & moments that I mentioned in this post. Links to YouTube videos are added on the text.
So the other day, I saw these two kids who were talking about wrestling. They were probably about 8 – 10 years old (about the same age I started watching Wrestling). It made me smile a little watching them talking about Wrestling passionately and mentioned names like ‘John Cena‘ or ‘Batista‘ as if they were heroes and villains of mythic proportion. Thus bringing us to today’s post, Wrestling or more specifically, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). Perhaps it’s appropriate to start with why I watched WWE and became a fan. People always ask me why I find it appealing to watch bunch of men ‘pretending’ to fight each other. I always say it’s the storylines. WWE is like a theatre with the wrestlers being the actors and the ring as their stage. You can also say it’s like your favourite serialized TV shows with story arcs and season finales (usually a match in a pay per view event which would end a feud). Continuing with the analogy between Wrestling and TV shows, WWE also have its peaks and slumps in its storyline. People often say that the Simpsons were not as good as their first few seasons or X-files was cool until it went downhill after the fifth season and then was supposed to be dead when Mulder left the show. This applies to WWE too with me quitting the show when the story lines got boring and most of my beloved wrestlers/characters are no longer on the show. The last Wrestlemania I watched was the one with the late Chris Benoit winning the Championship after defeating both Shawn Michaels and Triple H. And that was back in 2004!! woah!! So it has been that long since I watched WWE!
I often divide my viewing history of WWE into two: the Attitude Era and the Brand Extension Era. I was at the Philippines when I watched WWE (then called WWF) during the so called Attitude Era (1998 – 2000). My first Wrestlemania was the one with Stone Cold defeating Shawn Michaels and began his reign as the World Champion. I was in hiatus during the Invasionstoryline (2001) because I came back to Brunei and didn’t have cable TV!! I watched some episodes on a Malaysian channel that aired it after midnight!! Then, I moved to Singapore and didn’t have cable TV on my first two years living there but fortunately the local channel aired it on primetime. I started watching it again beginning with Wrestlemania X8 (the one where the Rock fought Hulk Hogan) and ended with Wrestlemania XX (Chris Benoitfirst World title win).Now all this Wrestling talk makes me feel nostalgic. Here’s some of the things that I missed about WWE:
Stone Cold Steve Austin
He was the ultimate Badass and the main ‘hero’ (or more correctly the Anti-hero) of the show during the Attitude Era. He became the World Champion after defeating Shawn Michael with Mike Tyson as the guest referee of the match. Since then he had many memorable feuds with the Rock, Kane and Undertaker. But his greatest feud was with Vince McMahon. It was a classic man vs authority storyline with Stone Cold as the rebel (beer drinking, giving the finger to everybody’s face and swearing on TV) against McMahon as the stereotypical evil corporate boss. Back in Elementary school, we used to try to be cool by finishing every sentence with “that’s the bottom line coz stone cold said so!” or threatening to “Stunner” people or giving the finger to everybody. See, no wonder parents are concerned! WWE is a bad influence on the kids! Haha
Vince McMahon as the bad guy
Vince McMahon was the ultimate villain of the story during the Attitude Era. I enjoyed that expression on his face when he get angry. He turns red while spitting (literally) out lines like “You’re Fired!!”, “No chance in hell!!” or “Ruthless Aggggrrresssion!!” Perhaps McMahon’s greatest evil plan was ordering Undertaker to kidnap his own daughter, Stephanie. That was an over dramatic storyline haha! Shane McMahon was cool too and I remember when he screwed Stone Cold Steve Austin during Survivor Series. Shane was the guest referee and he gave the finger to Austin instead of hitting the third count.
The Rock and his antics
Whether he’s a face or a heel (that’s the WWE term for the good guy/bad guy), you just gotta love Dwayne Johnson’s character, The Rock. Who could forget lines like “Know your role & shut your mouth!” or “Do you smell what the rock is cookin” or “It doesn’t matter what your name is!!” (He ruined Y2J Chris Jericho’s WWE debut with that line) or the way he wants to take an object “and turns it sideways…and stick it up to your candy ass!!” He was also involved in various funny segments with Mankind (“This is Your life” was classic) and the Hurricane.
I missed all those outrageous match stipulations. Hell in a Cell matches especially THE Hell in a Cell moment where Undertaker pushed Mankind over the top and crashed on the Spanish announcer table (That table always get trashed). There was also the buried alive match, an ‘I quit” match and even a “Kiss My Ass” match! Ladder matches were bloody too (I still think the Hardy boyz vs Edge & Christian ladder match to be the best).
Hot Wrestling Babes
Back in Elementary school, there were two women that we always talk about: Pamela Anderson and Sable from WWF. Hey, what do we know about real women in those days. We were bunch of kids still tricked by big plastic fake boobs and blondes Haha! Then there was Terri Runnels and Debra (everybody wanted to see her ‘puppies’ including Ben Stiller who was the guest on one episode) Nowadays, they’re called WWE Divas and they rarely wrestle. Well I mean they do wrestle, in ‘pillow fights’, ‘bra & panties matches’ and ‘Night Gown’ matches that is. I like Stacy Keibler and I’m glad she’s now pursuing an acting career.
I think it is best to end this WWE tribute with a video of Wrestlemania XX 2004, where Chris Benoit won the World Title for the first time. This moment is special because 1) It’s the last Wrestlemania (& last pay per view event) that I saw therefore it’s memorable for me and 2) Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit have passed away and seeing them in the ring together at the end makes me sad.