As we grow older, it seems that the changes in the world around us begin to come faster and faster. In my own lifetime, I've seen computers go from gaudy plastic boxes with ugly black & green screens that run on hard discs to three-dimensional, beautifully colored touch-screen tablets no thicker than a magazine running on computer chips the size of a matchbook. But it's comforting to know that while almost all things evolve, the world of professional wrestling stays exactly the same.
My love of pro-wrestling started early on a Saturday morning in high school when I caught a recap show of a then-WWF program from earlier in the week. I had caught bits and pieces of wrestling before, but never really sat down and watched a match. I knew better than to think that what I was watching was real, but the more I watched, the less I really cared. And then I saw what quickly became my favorite move in wrestling...
But time moved on and so did we. In my case, I got to college and for some reason became way more interested in booze, women and drugs. Wait, did I say women? I meant video games. Wrestling, however, just became harder to keep up with. And even when I did find the time to sit down and watch, it just didn't seem as enjoyable without my friends to see it with.
Then, sometime early last week, the idea snuck into my brain. Wrestlemania, the Super Bowl of pro-wrestling, was coming up. The more I learned about the match-ups, the more my interest grew. The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin appearing as special guests? A no-holds barred match between Triple H and the Undertaker with the Dead Man's perfect record on the line? Flashing lights? Fireworks? Heavy metal? Spandex?!
How could I resist?
It helped that I was nursing a righteous hangover and had just induced myself into a semi-coma by watching three hours of April baseball. So with my brain almost completely shut down, I was in the perfect frame of mind for the WWE's premiere event.
And sure enough, it was like we had never stopped watching. The Scizz, Yachtsman and myself all cheered for our favorites and laughed out loud when bums got what was coming to them. We didn't need to catch up on the background stories to these matches. After all, how complicated does it ever get? They used to be buddies, then one guy hit the other with a chair for a belt/for a woman/for a good reason/for no reason and that was that. They must fight. They must put each other in painful submission holds that don't look all that painful. They must glare at each other for 10-seconds straight.
And the biggest match delivered as much as we hoped it would. Triple H and the Undertaker delivered an epic battle, delivering one punishing blow after another, including the classic destruction of the Spanish announcing table (Triple H slammed the Dead Man through it). Triple H even gave us a classic, well-acted "Oh my God, I can't believe how badly I've beat this man and he's still kicking out of my pin!?!?!" reaction after the Undertaker withstood three of his finishing moves. Ultimately, the Undertaker got Triple H to tap out and kept his undefeated streak alive (much to the delight of the Yachtsman).
In the end, it was everything I hoped it would be and more (and by more, I mean Snooki wrestled too). And I realized that pro-wrestling is as much about the people you're watching it with as it is about what you're watching, if not more so. Where a contest in real sports can go on with or without the audience, wrestling just doesn't feel the same unless you've got equally big fans watching it there with you. Other than the marquee matchups, it didn't really matter who fought who or why, so long as someone got whacked in the head with a chair at some point.
And yes, Vince & Co. brought me some of the brief comfort I was hoping for and reminded me that while most things in my life are bound to change, I can always count on wrestling to be sexist, racist, loud, obnoxious, crass and wildly entertaining.