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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