Every now and again I go back and look at old wrestling matches. For a while, I thought of it as a guilty pleasure of mine. Then I realized how idiotic the idea of maintaining a guilty pleasure was, so I kept watching wrestling and just admitted my approval of it. It made it that more enjoyable to me.
There’s something about watching two enormous mountains of flesh picking one another up like they weigh nothing, only to slam them down on a ring that’s a responsive as a trampoline. They bounce, lie down, get up, and go down again. It’s excellent and enjoyable.
As a kid I used to love wrestling. And loving wresting as a kid growing up in the Netherlands was hard. I knew what wrestling was, mostly thanks to pop culture references and video games based on wrestling, but never did its presence grace the television set. At least, not until TNT Classic Movies shared a channel with the British Cartoon Network. They’d make the switch from cartoons to old classic movies at about 8 ‘o clock, and on one faithful night that switch blew my little world away.
In all probability, it wasn’t a planned event. I’m sure that the people in charge of broadcasting Cartoon Network over in England had no idea they shared a channel with TNT on the other side of the North Sea. Still, I’ll never forget that big switch that night.
A lot of kids, or at least me but I like to pretend I was not alone in this, happily watched Cartoon Network until it turned to TNT’s broadcasting schedule. Sometimes, the switch was made later than planned. It was one of those nights that night. Instead of switching over to TNT, we got an episode of Dial M for Monkey. Not just any episode, it was an episode no-one had seen before, as we’d later all agree on full of excitement at school.
It was the wrestling episode in which an evil alien traveled the galaxy, challenging the heroes of Earth to a wrestling match. If anyone could best him, the planet would be saved.
Naturally, Monkey saved the day and then… Wait. Holy shit. These are not old movies. Is this TNT? Holy crap, is that Macho Man Randy Savage?!
Kids everywhere went nuts. Wrestling was on TV. We’d never seen wrestling before. We knew what it was, we’d always wanted to see it, and all of a sudden, there it was. For a long time wrestling was the most amazing thing in the history of ever for all of us.
I think at some point TNT stopped airing it, and a different channel quickly picked it up, airing it at a much earlier hour. But I could be wrong. I do know that it disappeared after a while. Sometime after the WCW/NWO rivalry had been properly installed as the main point of that era.
It wasn’t until at least four years later that wrestling finally made its way back to TV. When it did it got the exact same response again. Wrestling was a huge deal with all the kids again. This time we watched as The Rock came back as the people’s champion, fighting against Stone Cold Steve Austin as he’d established himself a fine position in The Rock’s absence.
It was an amazing rivalry, and a hell of a ride to watch.
Then some time after their first big match against each other, pro wrestling faded from the Dutch networks again. It might have come back again at some point, but if it did it was after I stopped watching TV altogether. Or at least, after I only started watching shows I like, when I want to, thanks to the power of the internet.
Every now and again I watch the odd match. Maybe once a month at most. When Macho Man Randy Savage died, I looked up some of his matches on YouTube. They were great fun.
Last night I watched The Hulk fight The Ultimate Warrior. Say what you want about wrestling, but there’s something awfully impressive about two gigantic men their size bashing each other for the amusement of others. It almost looked like they were fighting in a toy ring with a dwarf referee. Incredible.
I know wrestling is fake. It’s a show. An act. And honestly, I wonder why this should be a problem. Movies are fake. So are TV shows. I’m pretty sure a lot of the fiction I’ve read didn’t happen either (although if it did, that would certainly be most awesome). So why does wrestling have to be real to be entertaining? I’m certainly not the type to deeply analyze the characters, their strengths, their flaws, how their career works, or any of the in-depth things a lot of the wrestling fans are into.
Does everything have to be real for it to be enjoyable? Where’s the magic in that? I often feel like this kind of argument is brought forward by the same kind of people who attack Nintendo for making unrealistic childish video games while enjoying their xtremely realistic war shooters. You know, the ones with automatic healing, killcams, and respawning armies.
I like touching on silly, fun things every now and again. Not everything needs to be real or realistic to be fun.
Heck, if there’s any more matches like that 9-year-old Japanese girl’s match, I’d happily watch that.
Just every once in a while I enjoy sitting down and watching two colorful characters beat the ever-loving crap out of them.
And there’s nothing wrong with that.
At least, I hope there isn’t.