Question – What is the most popular piece in the history of this blog that gets hits every single day?
Answer – “Wrestling – it’s a sport!”
I have Google-imaged under a variety of ‘wrestling, sport’ topics to try to find some of the images I used in that piece in order to ascertain the reason for this weird phenomenon. The thinking was that it might be that some of the images I used in that piece just come up on Google … so it’s not people reading the actual blog post.
I’ve come up with nothing, so that doesn’t appear to be the case.
Love it or hate it, and most are in the latter category, this polarising sport can make for compelling discourse.
But that’s not the reason I am writing this piece.
‘I had a dream’
Mrs YWS Sport and I were laughing this morning because I was recalling a dream I had last night. This is a rare occurrence, especially in light of Mrs YWS, who remembers every single piece of dream information in ‘accurate’ detail.
The dream wasn’t spectacular, but it involved me being given an ‘Adults Only’ magazine while waiting for someone at a newsagent. The foldout in the middle contained details and graphic images of a hardcore match between Mick Foley (I beg of you to click on the link!) and the late, great ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage! (Blogger’s note – this match never happened, but I guess the subconscious part of a wrestling fan’s brain wanted it to!?)
The reason I’m writing this piece is that, obviously, wrestling is inherently in my blood. I love it.
I’m not ashamed of this and in fact, like people within most subcultures, am glad that it is so divisive.
I admit that I do get a little peeved that the wrestling superstars themselves are not respected enough for the work they do, the risks they take and the injuries they sustain. But on the whole, the disdain and mockery from the general public only hardens the wrestling fan’s resolve.
It’s like, “Really, you can’t appreciate the drama, the athleticism and the theatre?! Your loss…” (Please insert the appropriate amount of sarcasm and scorn into that thought process.)
Midday on Monday, Australian time, the 28th edition of the grandest stage of them all takes place – WrestleMania.
I won’t be seeing it.
Don’t worry; this won’t be a lament to match that of missing the Super Bowl. But there are a number of factors that add to the sting more than usual.
Let’s look at just two of them –
The first is the main event, featuring John Cena versus ‘The Rock’, Dwayne Johnson. “Isn’t The Rock that actor??” Yes. Yes he is.
With monthly pay-per-view events and weekly televised matches screaming for new feuds and the unexpected, there is no way that the build-up to this Cena-Rock match could be allowed to develop at the pace that it has over the last couple of years.
But as ‘The Rock’ has been plying his trade in Hollywood, making ‘Fast and Furious’ and ‘The Other Guys’, just to name two, the real life and on-screen tension has evolved more naturally. Add the facts that the event is in Miami, The Rock’s home town and is against Cena – the most polarising superstar of this generation – and you have an enthralling mix.
Since WrestleMania 7, a 6’10”, 145kg phenom with the unfortunate moniker of ‘The Undertaker’ has mesmerised millions.
He’s also never lost at WrestleMania.
To the non-wrestling fan going, “Duh. It’s pre-determined; it’s not hard to not lose”, you need to understand the political hothouse that is the WWE locker room. You ‘put guys over’ – lose to them – it’s generally expected that they’ll pay you back at some stage … soon.
That Taker has been able to extract 19 wins without a tick in the loss column is extraordinary. Considering some of the greats he has beaten at the showcase of the immortals – Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels – twice, Kevin Nash, Randy Orton and HHH – also twice, it’s even more impressive.
And it’s the last character mentioned that scares me as a wrestling fan, and most of my fellow inmates.
While HHH – ‘Hunter Hearst Helmesley’ – Paul Levesque – is one of the better in-ring performers ever, he is also the greatest political power player in the history of the business. He rarely loses, and if he does, you’ll see him pretty quickly getting a win back in the near future. He main-evented for far too long at the height of the Austin/Rock era and most, myself included, attributed that to his marriage to Stephanie McMahon – the daughter of WWE owner Vincent Kennedy McMahon (I love writing that!).
At WrestleMania 28, The Undertaker and HHH will go at it. It’s expected that both will retire after the event. I for one am petrified that the most captivating win streak in the history of professional wrestling will be broken by a decent in-ring competitor who doubles as the man most likely to convince his father-in-law that he should be the one to break the streak.
The streak should never be broken.
Two men’s reputations will be irreparably harmed if it is.
Two of many
These are just two of the compelling back-stories that go into making this year’s ‘Super Bowl of wrestling’ more of a must-see event than usual.
The political intrigue on top of what has consistently been the moment where storylines come together as the entertainers leave nothing to chance while putting on the show of the year makes for an irresistible concoction.
It’s hard to feel too strong a lament, as I am a mere 53 days away from my own return to the sporting arena. Still, the bond that was forged when I was 9 years old as I was engrossed by my first WrestleMania – number 2 – remains in some part to this day.
So, in the tradition of Bret Hart, Steve Austin, Hogan, Michaels, Savage, Steamboat and Andre, I say to Rock, Cena, HHH, Punk, Taker and co – tear the house down, and be careful…
Thank goodness for recording devices. 🙂