Ah, childhood memories.
That was the intro to the Playstation 1 video game, WWF Smackdown! 2: Know Your Role, and it still gets me hyped like an 11-year-old boy every time I see it. I’ve been on somewhat of a nostalgia kick ever since watching Saban’s Power Rangers last week, and it was only a matter of time before I started reliving another aspect of my childhood: the WWE.
I didn’t start watching wrestling until the 6th grade, which was in 1999-2000. All of the kids at school would constantly talk about what this guy “Stone Cold” Steve Austin did and what The Rock said, using foul language and the wrestlers’ signature moves to recreate the scene. And since I wanted to be a part of the conversation and it seemed like the kind of television that my parents didn’t want me to watch, I had to do some research and witness this for myself. Upon turning on the TV to Thursday night’s Smackdown, I saw two guys with a punk rock image being accompanied to the ring by this sexy, redheaded woman who happened to be showing her thong.
I would come to know them as The Hardy Boyz and Lita. And after seeing all three athletes perform high-flying stunts and look cool doing it, I was locked in for the rest of night. The remainder of the show consisted of intense violence, action, soap opera drama, championship beefs, blood, bra & panties, uncensored curse words, and intriguing characters. For an adolescent boy, THIS WAS WHAT LIFE IS SUPPOSED TO BE ABOUT! Why was I wasting my time with Nickelodeon when this was on my television screen every week? The cherry on top was finding out that I could witness this on Monday nights as well; Monday Night Raw.
I was on board with the product heavily throughout my middle school and high school years. I was never a “Top Guy” kind of kid, I looked up to the mid-carders; Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Rey Mysterio, and etc. Every storyline, pay-per-view result, and video game (on the Playstation console), I was up-to-date with. However, around my undergraduate years, I started to slack off. I don’t know if it was due to my lack of ability to believe in the caricatures anymore or that the direction of the product changed (PG era), but I became disinterested. That lasted until I attended Full Sail University and became a marketing intern for NXT.
Not only did I get to see the events up close, but I got to learn about the pre-production of a live event and the amount of work that goes into it; which gave me a higher level of respect for the brand and temporarily got me back on board. For those who have so many critiques online about what the performers do and don’t do, stop talking. Those men and women are doing some death-defying stunts for your entertainment—rehearsed or not, it’s dangerous and should be respected.
I don’t see myself reinstating my cable, but I may purchase the WWE Network sometime in the future. There were some great moments that I wouldn’t mind witnessing again. And now that the cruiserweight division is back and Charlotte, NC’s own, Cedric Alexander, is competing, I definitely have to stay abreast of what’s going on.
Until Next Time…