A Long Time Fan Looks Back
April 28, 2005 by Chip Redmond
Like most fans out there, I have some opinions on where WWE should go from here. I almost wrote about those opinions in this, my debut column. But after some thought, I decided to simply talk about how I love the industry, and to point out a few reasons why. Next time I will offer my thoughts. And at some point, I will probably talk about some Old School stuff (which I will at least touch on in here). For now, however, I will simply reminisce.
I am a huge wrestling fan, and I have been for 25 years. I can remember watching as far back as the early 80's, cheering on JYD and Hogan and the Road Warriors, laughing at Koko B. Ware's dancing, and the Iron Sheik's speech, and Adrian Adonis in general. I remember watching Larry Zybszko and Ivan Putski and Greg Gagne. I remember screaming at the TV when Jesse the Body helped Dino Bravo bench 715 pounds.
In Michigan, the vast majority of wrestling on TV is WWE. When I was a kid, I could catch some NWA or WWW here and there, and even a little AWA once in a while. And for a few glorious years, I could watch WCW Nitro on Turner Broadcasting and WWF RAW/ WAR ZONE on USA. And yes, I did go so far as to split my cable signal so I could watch 2 TV's at the same time in the living room. Now it's all WWE, with TNA once a week on Fridays.
On the WWF side, I was a Don Muraco fan, whether he was a heel or a face. I always cheered for Roddy Piper, regardless of whether he was cracking Snuka with a coconut or beating the crap out of Adrian Adonis. I usually laughed at whatever Bobby Heenan had to say. I though Ahmed Johnson was a pretty bad dude. I liked JBL in the APA, but now I usually find something else to do when he talks. I thought Marlena and Gorgeous George were super hotties, and I shuddered when I first saw Nicole Bass. The Brooklyn Brawler was fun to watch, even though we all knew he would never win. And even when I was a kid, I realized that guys like Lex Luger and Ultimate Warrior were there for their size and not their 4- or 5- move wrestling arsenals.
In WCW, I always respected Ric Flair, but never really liked him (even when he came to WWE). I knew that Steven Regal was truly a tough guy. I saw a lot of potential in Steve Austin and Chris Jericho, once I learned to look for it. I turned away as Sting's storylines got cheesier and cheesier. I developed a strong dislike for Eric Bischoff. I shook my head at 3-Count, and cracked up when Tank Abbot became their 'groupie.' I thought Madusa and Miss Hancock were super hotties. And I respected Chris Benoit more every time I saw him- a trend that continues to this day.
I bought a lot of merchandise during the 'Attitude Era.' I tuned in to see what Stone Cold was going to do to McMahon. I sang along when the Road Dogg did his D-Generation X talk (4 of us in my dorm room yelling "LLLLLLet's get ready to suck it!"). I never missed Raw when Shawn Michaels or Austin or Mick Foley was the GM. I felt the earth shift when Paul Heyman and Eric Bischoff came on board.
Finally, I have mourned the men that have left the world too soon, and there have been too many, just in my time. To name just a few of the more tragic ones, the ones that hit me the hardest: Road Warrior Hawk, whom I first read about in Pro Wrestling Illustrated before I had even seen him on TV; Elizabeth, who was one of the truly beautiful women to look at before the age of silicone; Crash Holly, whose 'Super Heavyweight' gimmick was pretty funny stuff; Curt Hennig, whom I always thought was underused in WWE, even when he was getting a lot of TV time; and of course, Owen Hart, about whom everything has already been said. Others that had an effect on me were Gorilla Monsoon, Kerry Von Erich, Hercules Hernandez, Andre the Giant, Terry Gordy, Dino Bravo, Junkyard Dog, Rick Rude, Brian Pillman, and Stu Hart. We also should not forget Yokozuna, Gentleman Chris Adams, Davey Boy Smith, and the one and only Freddy Blassie.
It seems that especially in this business, fame is often accompanied by a high price. All of the men in the previous paragraph paid it, as did guys like Adrian Adonis and Big john Studd. It is a business that attracts big and powerful men, and although their hearts are large, they often cannot keep up with what the wrestlers ask. Jeff Hardy once said that when you're a wrestler, your body hurts every day, and I believe that. I have the utmost respect for the guys that I watch every week- even if I don't like a wrestler's style or his gimmick, I admire what he does.
For the guys who have passed on, I wish them peaceful rest. I'm glad I got to see them do what they were best at. And for those who are out there now, especially the guys on the independent circuits that aren't collecting the big paychecks, the guys that simply do it because they love it, please keep on doing it. If you make it up here to Michigan, I'll pay to see you, and I'll buy your merchandise, because I respect what you do and how you do it. Thank you, all, for 25+ years of entertainment. And here's hoping for 50 more.
by Chip Redmond ..
Don Philip (from Germany) wrote:
First of all i´d like to say a hudge Thank You Chip,
i really enjoyed reading your article, and your credit to all the guys risking
their health or even their lifes to entertain us.
I think that wrestlers in general are the most underrated performers in the
whole entertainment industry. And i always get mad and very angry everytime when
someone who has no idea of what it means to wrestle, makes fun of wrestlers and
wrestling, by stating such dumb arguments like "its just all fake". I think
nobody should play a wrestler for a fool, or simply discredit what he´s doing by
saying stupid things like these. And thats why i do like you article very much.
Because I for myself, got the hell of respect for every single guy who steps
into the squared circle. Even more if he´ll never get the opportunity at the big
spot and as you mentioned it, the big pay cheques!
Katie P. (Green Bay, Wisconsin) wrote:
I have to agree with you on all angles you have brought up in this article on
OWW. I give a ton of respect for anyone who have been injured or risked their
lives for the wrestling fans...I agree the same way that people who don't
understand about how much people put their lives on the line to entertain
people. I just wished they don't come out and say how stupid or fake it is and
why do you watch something so stupid. I just love to see all those aerial moves
and kick ass finishers being done. (I think of how impossible to see that kind
of stuff.) Also props on the mini-tributes to the fallen wrestlers/valets...
Once again, I give you a standing ovation on this article and a BIG THANK U!
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