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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Pro Wrestling: The One True Sport

One of my biggest secrets and guilty pleasures is that I have always been a fan of Professional Wrestling.  Its has always been something I have felt a little weird talking about and admitting.  Wrestling does have a certain stigma attached to it.  Unlike "traditional" sports it's not a genuine athletic contest.  While wrestling is definitely a show of athletic feets, the biggest draw has always been its drama and storylines.

That is what makes wrestling better then all other sports.  "Real" sports just don't have the same drama.  Have you ever seen two boxers fight over one eating the other's dog? Or maybe straight up try to murder each other on live TV.  Have the Chicago Bears ever snuck onto the field during a game with another team and cost the Green Bay Packers a game.

This drama and insanity gives Pro Wrestling the edge over any other sport.

I remember my first experience with the world of pro wrestling.  I was 11 years old spending the night at a friend's house and he flipped WWF wrestling on TV and I was hooked for life.

Take a look.  That is the Ultimate Warrior, a face painted tassel covered maniac, wrestling Sgt. Slaughter, an American military man that has defected to supporting Iraq.  The match is interrupted by an invincible zombie coming out of a casket and then the day being saved by none other then Mr. Hulk Hogan.  Watch that clip and tell me that you don't love wrestling.

After moving to the South I noticed a new kind of wrestling, one I never realized existed: local wrestling.  This is were we can watch people in our own community dress in wild costumes and battle each other in simulated combat.

I was both intrigued and a little frightened when I finally worked up the nerve to go to one of the local shows.  Now, as a kid I had seen live wrestling and had been to Wrestlemania 13, but nothing could prepare me for what a blast this would be.

Me, my son and two of his friends would go to the national guard armory and check out the the local wrestling federation.  We sat so close to the ring that the wrestler's spit and sweat flew on us.

The crowd was totally into it, screaming and cussing at the wrestlers.  The wrestler's would even let the audience get physically involved as the good guys would hold the bad guys and let audience members (usually girls) slap their chests.

This old lady even got a little carried away and attacked the bad guys.

After my first show I was hooked and continued attending the various wrestling shows through out Western North Carolina.

One of the craziest things is what these guys were willing to do to their bodies in order to entertain the audience.  Keep in my mind that they receive no compensation and are doing this for "fun".

Check this out

And this

This guy let someone drop him face first into a pile of thumb tacks.

His mother actually ran to ring and begged him to stop wrestling. Don't look to close, or you will see the thumb tacks stuck in his forehead. 

I think my favorite part of the experience is the crazy characters you come across.

This is Simon Sermon.  He is was one of the main bad guys.  I looked him up online and it turns out that he has released a documentary about himself being an openly gay wrestler.  Traditionally homosexual characters in wrestling such as Gorgeous George and Goldust have been portrayed as effeminate, cowardly, and perverted.  Simon's goal is to fight stereotypes and just be a wrestler who just happens to be gay.

He was great at playing the part of the villain and getting the crowd riled up and hating him.

As I was taking pictures.  He stopped to spit right at me.  It was awesome.

This is the Man they call "Cornbread"

He is one of the most popular wrestler's in the area and gets some of the loudest cheers.  Cornbread is actually the alter ego of this man.

The local High School Band teacher.  Cornbread receives huge support from his band students, as they show up in droves at local events and in one instance bombarded his opponents with actual hunks of cornbread.

Another one of the locals that is extremely popular is Billy "The Redneck" Starr.

 Despite looking like a guy that would roof your house, he had an odd charisma.  My son and his friends had him sign their bodies.

This is probably my favorite local wrestler is the mysterious "Goatboy".  He comes out to the ring with "Land Down Under" by Men at Work blaring over the intercom.  While wrestling he acts like an actual Goat while his opponent loudly complains that he should not be forced to wrestle and animal.

Here are some more of the colorful characters the frequent local wrestling matches

It isn't all for local boys, every once in awhile a big name wrestler from days gone by will show up.

Here is the Barbarian who wrestled for WWF and WCW during the 80s and 90s.

 Here is Ricky Morton, legendary underdog, who has wrestled for every organization under the sun for the last several decades

Here is Al Snow who wrestled for WWF in the 90s.  He was known best for talking to a severed mannequin head, for some reason he didn't bring the head.

So there you have it.  Wrestling is the only sport worth watching, and the bush league is way more awesome then the stuff on TV.  Visit your local National Guard Armory or High School Gym NOW!

The Carpetbagger