AS I SEE IT: The Dudley Boyz Return!
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets
First…in chronological order…in what was quite a roller-coaster week.
We wrestling fans don’t get too many real mark-out moments anymore. With internet spoilers…social media…or storylines being written so transparently… we almost always find out about someone’s return or debut before WWE, TNA, or whoever wants us to.
But this past Monday night…we got a real, honest to God, blow-away mark-out moment we didn’t know was coming…when the Dudley Boyz returned to WWE for the first time in 10 years. The New Day, who seems finally to be getting over…not just as the punchline to a chant… just on their sheer effort working the gimmick…and their ability, which was always there to begin with… had just won a match against the Lucha Dragons…with Xavier Woods playing a hilarious trombone to celebrate their title win the night before at Summer Slam, and all of The New Day just hamming it up big time.
All of a sudden…the pyro and the trademark music sounded, and the Brooklyn crowd went raving batshit as the Dudley Boyz came out in a WWE ring for the first time in 10 years.
The Dudleyz tossed Woods out of the ring, and did their trademark spots with the “Wassup” head dive off the top rope, then as Bubba Ray played conductor and counted one, two, three…the entire Brooklyn crowd then screamed at the top of their lungs: “Get The Tables”.
Here’s the segment:
Less than twelve hours later, on Tuesday morning, we were awakened to hear about the live, on-air murders of two young journalists on a live news cast of Roanoke area’s WDBJ channel 7; when a former station reporter, Vestor Flanagan (who worked for the station as Bryce Williams) shot and killed 27 year old camera operator Adam Ward, and 24 year old morning reporter Alison Parker at about 6:45 a.m. as the two did a live standup at a local water park; in an act of workplace violence. A local staffer for the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce, who Parker was interviewing at the time of her murder was also injured in the shooting and is in stable condition after surgery.
Flanagan was chased by local, state and Federal authorities, and finally pulled over on I-66 in Virginia, where he shot himself and later died.
Flanagan had mental health issues, with termination for behavioral issues at each place of employment; and made apparently unfounded claims against Ward and Parker after his termination from WDBJ, as well as other workplaces from which he has been fired. Along with this firing, his mental state was somehow also set off by the Charleston church killings.
So yet one more killing, and the endless lunatic newsreel goes on and on and on, because as a nation we refuse to deal with the fact that people who have no business with guns can easily obtain them…and can use them to kill others. The incidents happen because of racism, religion, mental illness, domestic or workplace violence; or a combination of more than one of the above.
What do we do? We make speeches about the Second Amendment. We claim that government wants to break down our doors and take away our guns. Even if all that’s suggested are universal background checks. No one needs a semi-automatic weapon to defend their home, do target shooting, or hunt.
Watching that, and as the followup stories occurred this past weekend…and the funerals this week…the sadness at two young lives lost, and the anger at a subculture with a fetish for weapons bordering on a sexual obsession, and the gutlessness of our Congress and state legislators was almost too much to bear.
But the week ended with one small moment of joy.
Eiji Ezaki, known by puroresu fans as Hayabusa, was paralyzed in October 2001 after breaking his neck after landing on his head missing a lionsault. Ezaki was paralyzed from the waist down, and was never thought to be able to leave a wheelchair again. But he always said he’d walk into a wrestling ring again.
14 years later, on August 5 (the video was just discovered on You Tube)…in front of a crowd that included most of the greatest living names in Japanese wrestling, including Kenta Kobashi, Genichiro Tenryu, Keiji Muto, Naomichi Marufuji, Tatsumi Fujinami and others, Ezaki walked unaided (except for a cane) a short distance into a wrestling ring. There wasn’t a dry eye in the arena (or in the studio audience of the Japanese TV show airing the video), including Kobashi, Tenryu, Muto, Marifuji, Fujinami and the rest. His walk was very slow…but he walked…into a wrestling ring again.
What connects these three things I discussed? The horrors, the fears, and the sorrows of the real world and our inability to overcome them all too often weigh on us. Yet scripted moments like the return of the Dudleys last Monday night gave us escape and momentary joy to take our minds away from the real world.
Then Tuesday morning brought it all back again….in the most stark terms imaginable, or unimaginable.
Then late this week…a very unscripted moment…as a man, who happens to be a professional wrestler, overcame a challenge that no one thought possible and inspired those of us who watched it. It gave us a moment of joy…and probably a few tears watching the video.
Perhaps it will give us inspiration to take on the challenges we each face…and the challenges as a nation we have yet to face.
Until next time…