another first

I'll give him this:  the Rock is the Michael Jordan of professional wrestling; he gets non-wrestling fans to watch wrestling.

I’ll give him this: the Rock is the Michael Jordan of professional wrestling; he gets non-wrestling fans to watch wrestling.

Let me explain something:

I like professional wrestling.

Yes, I know it’s scripted – most TV is. Yes, I know they learn how to “take a bump”. But there’s something admirable about the guys who perform approximately 200 nights a year; taking more damage in their falls than they do in the punches they throw. Yes, they are basically actors. In fact, I like to go one step further and state that they are essentially stuntmen – who perform theater in-the-round and they have one take to get their spot right.

Like many of my generation, I grew up watching wrestling in the 80s when Hulk Hogan was king.  Also like many of my generation, I got out of wrestling as I discovered music, girls and alcohol. And then something amazing happened: many of the icons of the 80s came back into vogue in the late ’90s. The story lines got less kid-friendly. Finally, the internet started to break down the fourth wall; separating what was real and what was scripted.  The internet invited  many fans behind the scenes of the business for the first time.  Perhaps more than anything else, it was the back-stage politics (and how they affect the on-screen product) made me an even bigger wrestling fan than I ever was in the ’80s.

I bring all this up because I went to Hooters tonight to watch the 2013 WWE Royal Rumble.  To be honest, I was shocked to see the placed was PACKED – a lot of cheap bastards who didn’t want to shell out 40 bucks to sit at home and watch the pay per view.  But, like a movie or any sporting event,  it’s a lot more fun to watch a show like that with a crowd than in the confines of your own basement.  There’s still something to be said about the human factor – getting out and interacting with others.

No doubt a big selling-point of this pay-per-view event was the return of The Rock.  I’ll say this for the guy: he’s done a better job of parlaying his wrestling success into a legitimate Hollywood movie career than any other wrestler ever.  Love him or hate him, the guy is to wrestling what Tiger Woods (in his prime) was to golf and what Michael Jordan was to basketball.  Simply put, The Rock gets people who don’t watch wrestling to watch wrestling.

The show unfolded about the way I expected it to.  Being one of the more unique pay-per-views the WWE puts on each year, it was definitely worth the trip and the bat tab.  I can’t say I would do this every month with every pay-per-view, but it was definitely enjoyable.

And even if the show sucks, there’s always the Hooter girls…

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