December 21, 2003 - by Brad Dykens
I gotta say this: A drunken clown once told me "WRESTLING.... In Canada, it's a Tradition... in Mexico, it's a Religion.... in Japan, it's a Sport... in America.... It's a Joke."
Now he told me he read that on a message board so if I'm ripping somebody off, I humbly apologize, but this is the most genius statement I've ever read! Its truth is unlimited..
A good friend of mine, who shall remain nameless, has purchased a travel package to go to New York for five days to watch Wrestlemania XX and take in all the festivities. Now THAT'S a mark! No, I take that back, THAT'S a WWE-mark! I'm not saying it's a bad thing, I'm glad you enjoy the WWE that much. Vince McMahon's accountant says you're not alone. But what I do take offense to is when you call yourself a "Wrestling Fan"....... Uhhhhh, stop the music, no, you are NOT a wrestling fan, you are a WWE fan! A "Wrestling Fan" or "Wrestling Mark" has seen all forms of the sport; Lucha Libre, Puroreso, Independant, and from its purest form back in the early 1900s, until the 1970s, BEFORE it was transformed into "Sports Entertainment".
CANADA: To the average fan, Canadian Wrestling is defined in one word, "Hart".. To the more old school fans, they remember far back to the days of Whipper Billy Watson, Gene Kiniski, the Rougeau Family, the Vachon Family, Ric Martel, and the most hardcore fan will know about the Cormier Family from the East Coast, where the top promoter was Emile Dupre, the father of current WWE Rookie Rene Dupre. As you can see, wrestling in Canada is often a "family" affair, and that translates to one thing... tradition! Its no wonder Canadian wrestlers are built so tough, the harsh winters are enough to turn anybody's skin to leather! When the legendary Stu Hart landed in Edmonton in 1948, and later settled in Calgary, it was like a destiny on the verge of being filled. Helen Hart once joked that every time her husband hung his pants over the end of the bed, she ended up pregnant! In the end, Stu & Helen would have twelve children, eight boys who would become wrestlers, and four girls who would marry wrestlers. What do you do with a house full of wrestlers? You start a promotion! Actually Stu was promoting shows in Eastern Canada long before any of his sons stepped into the ring, but he sure did his best to bring a lot of "main eventers" into this world!
MEXICO: Planchas and Sentons and Masks, oh my! Lucha Libre is a highly respected form of entertainment in Mexico, where a wrestler can achieve "God" status without ever showing their face. Possibly the greatest wrestler to ever come out of Mexico is El Santo, who's star status could easily eclipse that of any American celebrity ever. Santo appeared in dozen of movies while headlining Wrestling events all over the country. A style that is not all about beating the snot out of your opponent, instead it is about putting on a show for the people doing breathtaking airborne moves to take down your opponent.
JAPAN: If you thought that was stiff, check this out! Japanese wrestling, or Puroreso as it's known, is the closest to a "Sport" as Professional Wrestling will ever get. The athletes will kick, slap and stretch their opponents and never EVER pull a punch. If you believe Steve Austin is the toughest son of a bitch in wrestling then you need to go to Japan. Some of these men would make Steve Austin cry like a baby, even in his prime. Puroreso was built on the legendary shoulders of one man, a man named Rikidozen, who fought epic battles with the likes of Lou Thesz in front of enormous crowds in Japan for the World title. Rikodozan created the Japan Wrestling Association (JWA), the first major wrestling organizations in the region. Two of Rikidozan's protégés were Antonio Inoki & Shohei "Giant" Baba, each of whom went on to create their own promotions, New Japan (Inoki) and All Japan (Baba), and engaged in a back-and-forth rivalry for the last 34 years, and the fire still burns within each promotion to this day..
USA: Every single day, American wrestling pulls further away from actual "wrestling" and even closer to Circus. Among historians, and those who have taken in many versions of professional wrestling over the years, today's product is an absolute joke! Not to mention unbearable to watch! Some of us, present company included, have gone as far as to get down on our knees and pray to the man above to transport us back in time just so we can enjoy the overall wrestling product once again. Bruno Sammartino was arguably the greatest champion of his era, he wrestled for several decades, wrestling is in his blood, but does Bruno Sammartino watch wrestling now? Hell no! Would you watch something you sacrificed your body for years on go to the crapper? I wouldn't! Of the countless interviews I've read or watched it always embarrasses me when an old school hero of mine speaks his or her mind about the current wrestling product. "I don't watch it." or "I don't agree with it." are common statements, and that's just sad. It would be like Johnny Carson handing over the Tonight Show to Pauly Shore so he could make fart jokes on late night television. It's shameful, and I shouldn't be the one who is embarrassed, should I?
The OWW Verbal Stunner of the Week: I was watching an old episode of Superstars from around 1987...Vince and Bruno were doing commentary back and forth. A job guy named Paul Faben was introduced. Vince asked Bruno if he ever heard of Paul's brother Kay! - - - Kay-Faben!
by Brad Dykens
I must argue. Sure wrestling in the US is very different from those of different places, yet if you compare Smackdown to RAW, the wrestling standards are way different. While RAW focuses more on Entertainment, Smackdown is more wrestling. With such superstars as Rey Mysterio, Ultimo Dragon, Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerreo, and many more real true athletes, you can't say WWE is bad, unless you yourself are willing to show when those wrestlers weren't good in the other styles such as Lucha-Libre and Japan wrestling.
I am a big fan of WWE, however I also watch other types of wrestling/fighting, and consider all types great. Why do I like WWE? Because it's so known to myself in America, and no it's not great but it's defiantly not so bad that you can't get a thrill from it. Wrestling changed with time, and so it became different. You cannot change that, and there will be no turning back now.
Vince chose to make something bigger, and even though he has lost some fans, he has gained others in there place. I'll take WWE Wrestle Mania XX over any Japan wrestling tour because I can get there and pay less than a few thousand to watch some of my favorite wrestlers such as Shawn Michaels, Benoit, Guerreo, and Mysterio.
So before you go calling people who want to watch a WWE WrestleMania and spend some time at it's events, think about how possible it is to go to Canada, Mexico, or Japan and watch wrestling that you rarely know. If I saw more of those Wrestling territories on TeleVision, I'd watch. Therefore how can you judge one person's wants on a whole nation? You can't... Some people like WWE, some dont, some liked many, and some like none. It all depends on the person and not the group my friend.
Phil Haller wrote:
Your Column was great and i have to say i 100% agree with you i read that saying on a Raven forum. If you have had chance to read my reply to the number 1 wwe fan you will see that i pretty much said the same. I am a rabid puroresu fan and a huge fan of CMLL and AAA. I love Canadian wrestling like CWF, FLI, Stampede, IWS the list goes on and i understand exactly where u are coming from because these days i cannot enjoy WWE i cant sit through an episode of RAW smackdown maybe cos of a few talented guys but the gimmicks and storylines are terrible. what ever happened to tradition 70's and early 80s NWA where it was treated like a sport as it is in Japan. I agree with the Austin theory i also reckon that if Lesnar ever got into the ring with Kawada he would be eating out of a straw for months. same with Austin imagine Hashimoto, Kawada, Misawa, Kobashi fighting austin they would kick his teeth out faster than he can say dentist.
I read your column and I, too, agree 100% with everything you have said.
Hell, when I first came into the wrestling chat rooms 4 years ago I had a good understanding of professional wrestling as time went on. I was a mark... yes I admit it. I was a WWF mark up until 2000. But I've learned to understand the real reason I watch wrestling.
The US wrestling is crap nowadays and I feel bad about it. Sure, I still mark out to some of it but I know I'd mark out to so much better things. Ever since I moved to where I am now, I started watching AAA and CMLL a lot. Sure I have no damn clue what they're trying to say but I didn't care. I liked a lot of the guys they had on there. I watched La Familia Negra (The Black Family) lose to KISS (yes there's a KISS stable in Mexico..or at least was) and that's what I liked. They had cage matches as most of their main events but they played it off perfectly. They had BS promos but that didn't matter.
I happened to catch some footage of some great puroreso a while back and I gotta say HOLY CRAP!!! No wonder Hogan went there before TNA. They let loose on so much more than USA or Mexico or anywhere. Great Muta, Masa Chono, and a lot of the guys out there are really that damn good and yes, those guys will make tough guys like Stone Cold and even the Undertaker, even though he's my favorite US guy, cry like a little bitch. Toryumon, Ultimo Dragon's promotion, was rated as one of the best in the world by Pro Wrestling Illustrated and for good reason. Three quarters of those guys have enough high cruiserweight ability to make Rey Misterio or Jamie Knoble look more confused than they already sometimes are.
So before you say WWE is the best fed there is, start doing homework and actually keep an open mind that there are others out there because WWE is more hype than action. As far as US wrestling is concerned, I feel its good if you're just getting into it because it's everywhere. It's on toys, TV, shirts, masks, and books. So it's no surprise that you'll start watching it. But just don't come to us and say it's the best because there's more than just them.
Well, if you want to start talking about USA wrestling becoming a circus, then you are probably right on the money. This reason is another one of millions others that state that the WCW was the only great federation that the U.S ever had. WCW went through the greatest legends, most talented wrestlers, written better, and most of all, was WRESTLING, not a circus. Just wanted to add that.
It is a very nice article, but in my opinion, someone doesnt have to have seen ALL forms of wrestling to be a fan. They should probably watch SEVERAL forms of it, but not all of it.
The reason American wrestling seems like a circus is because of the fanbase these days. Back in the 80's, fans loved to see someone hold the belt for over a year or watch wrestling match after wrestling match. But today, the fans would rather see the crappy angles the WWE does. I like WWE but i dislike how they have more angles than matches on RAW and Smackdown!. I am not a WWE mark though. I watch TNA Wrestling and have seen some of the other forms of wrestling you mentioned.
Im not trying to bash you, in case that is what you think, because i think this is a good article and, unlike some bad ones *cough*Wrestling Worlds Mistakes by Xtreme Falls*cough*, it is a good read that isnt made of rubbish or pure crap.
Brad Dykens wrote:
You're right, you don't have to watch all forms to be a fan. But I think they should watch all forms to have a valid opinion.
The Burn wrote:
I would like to say I agree with most everything in this post. It's just I don't think most of the U. S. 'wrestling' fans consider the WWE to even be a part of the United States wrestling scene. The closest we have on television is indeed NWA TNA and everything they're trying to make up for that the WWE just doesn't have.
The true heart of American Wrestling resides in the indy feds where us young guys strive to not only keep up with the World's styles from Mexico, Japan, and Canada. But I see many keeping up the tradition of outragous over the top characters that U. S. wrestling always had and needs once again.
I think it's a shame that we don't have a Harley Race for this generation. I think it's a shame that if there was ever an Anderson worthy of being on air the WWE would use him as opening match fodder. But I have hope, with the current youths joining the WWE the chance to change the product into something worth admitting your a fan of is something that won't get you jeered on the internet any longer.
All people have to do is request it and I'm sure there are many wrestlers who'd be willing to make a mark once again. ;)
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