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The Ramblings of an Indian Pro Wrestling Fan

Author’s disclaimer: This article isn’t a hardlined prophecy by a wrestling nerd.

Pro wrestling or rather WWE (WWF before 2002) for casual viewers is associated with megalomaniacal storylines revolving around caricatured steroid-injected Davids and genetically freakish Goliaths, thrown in with buxomly ladies. A major section of the  wrestling demograph is built up of especially pre-adolescent freshly testosterone invigorated young boys in schools. The charm of gravity-defying high-flying moonsaults and hard bumps to the ring mat present an exciting entertainment-cum-inspiration source for a lot of these viewers. To do something that isn’t realistically possible in their disciplined and inactive school life hooks them onto the product for the latter viewing experience.

Billy Kidman off the top rope with The Shooting Star Press.

After a few years  and a few revelations later (read as THE INTERNET!), the naive wrestling fans get “educated” about the base realities of the sport and some of them take that as if they’ve been told Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy aren’t real. [By the way, if you didn’t understand what that meant, I was hinting at the part when we realize wrestling isn’t all real and the winners are determined beforehand.] They become disillusioned with the entire product as a whole and disconnect themselves from it by terming it as a step in the process of “growing up”. I digress. Also I digress because I’ve wanted to use this thing because it’s quite cool these days! Okay, let me digress back to the story. But my noble engineering compatriots, the process of growing up isn’t actually that easy.

That’s Mick Foley falling from a height of 20 feet.

The basic underlining concept behind every wrestling match is a good guy going against a bad guy, which is similar to your any television programme like Dexter, Sherlock Holmes, Mandira Bedi’s Shanti and almost every mythical story ever told. The good guy might get siphoned off by the bad guy’s corrupt practices, and other subversive ways. But the money lies in the former defeating the latter eventually at a major event. As governments and economics changed, the characters became more convoluted and rooted to our lives, for example, perhaps the greatest superstar of all times: Stone Cold Steve Austin. Austin wasn’t glamorous or a Hulk Hogan with sculpted biceps, running on the beaches of Daytona in yellow-and-red, brother. He was just a bald guy with a small beard and a black vest with black boots by entering the ring to a straight guitar riff following the sound of glass-break, who gave the finger to his tyrannical boss and kicked his derriere (this article isn’t NSFW, what else do you expect to read?) for everyone’s good!

Stone Cold! Stone Cold! Stone Cold!

The character was simply a hardcore mean machine and the audiences never gave a more resoundingly unanimous loud positive reaction to anyone else.  The point that I’m trying to make is how different yet same the wrestling product is. There’s comedy, romance (ugh), action (obviously) suspense, anticipation and most importantly a conflict for the viewers which guy do they like more, often cheering for the villains rather than the quintessential white knight of the company. To look down upon wrestling fans isn’t too uncommon globally, but our breed has a nasty image of taking the entire show business very close to our hearts. The obsession with the stars has waned out through the years but I kid you not when I claim wrestling fans are more extreme than Justin Bieber (or One Direction / Weezy/ Brezzy / Deezy / Whateverzy) fans.

CM Punk is a straight-edge, punk-rock loving ‘current day Stone Cold.’

I’ve seen toddlers, punk rock chicks, heavily tattooed dudes, freakishly awesome bearded guys (yours truly is a proud member of this category), mothers, and even grannies in the same arena chanting for their favourite superstars. But the Indian scene is quite different, most of the viewers are derivatives of the XY-chromosome and usually young. If you’re a wrestling fan and you tell your friends that you can’t go out with them because there’s a pay-per-view (monthly major attraction show) on TV, you must really be prone to supposedly demeaning jibes like “What are you? Ten?” and a cocky laugh. Or the lamest of them all, “Man, wrestling isn’t real.” Yes, whiz kid, you must be Arnold from Terminator who’s arrived to save me from the fake world. You must also observe how I avoided attempting to type his surname. Who’s the real whiz kid now?

Did you say, “wrestling isn’t real?”

Pro wrestling’s also had a deep bond with rock music, except for the occasional Flo-Rida and Limp Bizkit, it’s all smooth Rollin’. (Another inside joke) Sure we do have our Undertakers, Kanes, Ultimate Warriors and Papa Shangos but who doesn’t? Aren’t Indian films and TV shows filled with larger-than-life-ridiculously-powerful villains and vamps? And those who complain how wrestling isn’t the ‘same’ as to what it was back in their day simply need to roll their eyes and take a whiff of their surroundings, it’s 2012. Kids have i-Phones!

Papa Shango

Mogambo
Fair enough?

So sit back, reminisce the old days on Youtube, or watch the new product on television or the internet. There’s TNA, ROH and a lot more independent stuff too. And for the sake of whatever you believe in, don’t ever taunt wrestling fans with a “That isn’t real.”, because you could be right in the middle of a real fight if your friend’s flipped to the right amount.

P.S. This is my entry for my college magazine.

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Why It Stays Lukewarm.

I am writing this purely as a fan & I won’t make any references to kayfabe like the dirtsheets & other computer wraaastling mafias do.

I was around 5 when my dad showed me Kane fighting inferno matches, and those bouts scared the shit out of me just because of Kane’s mask & his daunting appearance. I started watching wrestling 2 years later hooked on with some WCW as well. Having missed out on the Austin 3:16, I was heavily into The Rock. Austin was one of a kind, trail blazing messiah for the ailing WWE, but Rock was E-lectrifying! (Electrifying)

I saw The Rock and cheered him even during his villain run. Whatever he did, I was a fan. Around that time, The Mummy Returns came out featuring him. Everyone at my school was totally into anything that the Rock did. Around 2003, the number of mainstream appearances & movies kept on increasing. All of his movies were shoved down my throat by the aggressive marketing that the company did. Soon, Rock was gone. No formal announcements, no goodbye speeches. I started looking for a new guy to watch the show for.

Brock Lesnar went past like a bristling wind, along with Goldberg. Evolution was a great stable of 4 villains (Triple H, Ric Flair, Batista & Randy Orton) Shawn Michaels had always been there. It took a while for John Cena & Batista to come out of the pack as the new flagbearers of WWE. Cena was also one-of-a-kind with his rapping skills & jorts. By 2005, Cena almost became “the guy” as he completed his draft to Monday Night Raw. I confess I became a believer in his “Hustle. Loyalty. Respect.” until he squared off against Shawn Michaels, that was the point where Cena started getting the boos from the crowds.

From that match, precisely Wrestlemania 23, Cena wasn’t the gushing hero with all the people chanting in his favor. This continued till the time he squared off against Edge. Cena’s hated for the continuously same persona that he exudes. My argument starts here, even The Rock had a line-up of catchphrases up his sleeve that he used to gain an instant reaction from the crowd. Then why target Cena for the monotony?

I continued being a viewer rather than being a fan of a particular superstar until last year (CM Punk’s cult promo) but Cena-Rock did provide for some excitement.

Cena made a few jibes at The Rock that resonated for my feelings for the Rock. He made a few valid points. Rock started his own anti-Cena tirade with constant references to John’s apparel, lifestyle and what not. Slapstick entertainment? Yes. Long term interest? No. They did virtually nothing to build this “Greatest match of all times” until a cameo from the Rock at Survivor Series and few more catchphrases thrusted as arbitrary trending topics on Twitter.

I still couldn’t buy into the real reason behind this feud. It appeared just a one-off match to garner eyeballs, no personal angst as opposed to what they claimed. Kung pao chicken, Rock concert & “Trending worldwide” sucked. The Rock delivered a promo under a statue of Rocky Balboa, that’s where it really started. The Rock gave the reason for winning this, he had to defeat three generations of superstars to become the greatest of all time. This gold was late-found though.

The week after that, Cena and Rock made a great final build. Rock said “I simply don’t like you” at the end of it, I scratched my head again. I still couldn’t figure out the reason why he doesn’t like Cena. This is where this feud fails for me. Cena gave a practical reason for his issues with the Rock. I somehow figured out why this match is important to The Rock but I couldn’t understand why he hates Cena.

I’ll be watchingWrestlemania 28 because I am a year-long viewer and not for this “Clash of titans”. Hope it turns to be as great as it is expected to be.

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