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WRESTLING COLUMNS

The Renaissance Is Around The Corner
October 5, 2005 by Reginald Cook


Sometimes it's hard for us to know when we're healed when there's blood everywhere. But I've never seen a woman give birth without it. I propose to you that wrestling is being reborn rather than facing a bloody death. We have all voiced our woes at the sad state that our "sport" is in, but the time to cry is over. Things are getting better. I began watching professional wrestling to the tune of Dick Murdoch and Tony Atlas on TBS one fateful Saturday. Since that day in 1985, I have held a love-hate relationship with one of the most highly ridiculed pastimes of modern American pop culture. I marked out with everyone else when Ric Flair performed his Roadrunner vs. Wiley Coyote-like championship reign throughout the eighties and nineties. He narrowly escaped battles against a myriad of performers and garnered both our respect and our hatred for years. I watched the rise and fall of Sting, Bret Hart, and Hogan with pride in my heart. I viewed with wonder the tag-team perfection of the Andersons, Steiners, and the British Bulldogs. I watched the evolution of my favorite dirty little secret to the publicly accepted sports entertainment era we now live in, but without a little jealousy. The old regime had officially been sacrificed for the sake of the uninitiated.

Wrestling was indeed my favorite spectacle. It was ridiculous, but it was mine. It was something that only I understood. Sure, you'd have an occasional run-in with another fan, but you couldn't escape the ever-present internal battle that they were having with the question. You know the one. They'd lean over and confide with me, "you know it's fake, don't you." I would hate the semi-private disclosure of their internal demons. Nonetheless, I would somehow focus my impatience with their inferiority to enjoy the semi-sport that I loved. But when Vince and company went public with "the truth" it saddened me. Now that he had come along with his Rock and his Stone Cold, he had opened the door for the illigitimi to "enjoy" it with me. Ugh! This was mine! Suddenly, every hip talking head had something to say about a jabroni.

Subsequently, we have met with the seemingly disastrous times. But something has snuck into our view. I don't know if it is by design or by accident, but there are a few new wrestlers who make me linger a little longer. They remind me of different times. Better times, perhaps. When wrestling is delivered back into the hands of the purists, such as we are, then the sport is free to replenish itself. Now that the casual fan has gone back to his reality television, the writers are forced to do what they were meant to do. That is to entertain us. We are the true consumers. To us, as Jeff Jarrett said, no explanation is necessary.

The previous columnists and smarks complain about a lack of substance and talent in the wrestling world. More specifically, they dislike the current offerings of the WWE because the headliners of yesteryear now hobble between the ropes and fill our electronic ear with bitter tales of mismanagement and lack of charisma and mic skills. But if you recall, Hulk Hogan was unmarketable. Ric Flair was just a young upstart. Stone Cold was the Ringmaster, and Rocky sucked. I was bored with Terra Rising before Degeneration X took off. But they all caught on....eventually. For now, watch the wrestlers. They want what you want. They were fans before, too. And they acknowledge and hunger for the old days. Look, we have a guy running around doing his best to look like Dick Murdoch, and if someone figures it out, the Hacksaw Duggan look-alike, Eugene, cycles through the personas of our favorite stars regularly. John Cena, may not look the way we think he should, and Batista may not be perfect yet. But those characters point to better days of old and to compelling matches of the future. I know I'm not supposed to offer writing tips, but if someone were to make him angry enough to be serious for a minute.....Look, I'm not saying things are back on track. I'm just saying that we should stay tuned. What we think are the pains of death may just be contractions of birth. The same suspension of reality that we brought with us to stand and cheer for the Missing Link will carry us through to the resurgence of rasslin'. Hang in there, guys. It's all in the script.

by Reginald Cook ..


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