With it being Wrestlemania, I wanted to write something with a bit of gravitas. I then realised I’m not one for all that so I decided to write about something easy, close to my heart, and something we can all relate to: why I love wrestling.
My wrestling fandom began in 1997, when I was just 7 years old. I began watching during the Stephanie McMahon/Test/HHH storyline. My first ever Raw, I sat with my cousin who had been telling me how good it was. It was the big wedding. My cousin brought me up to speed on the story and I watched with glee as it all went horribly wrong. I fell in genuine pre-gay love with Stephanie McMahon (a love affair which continues to this day).
I became enthralled in the story, the fact that the good guy always came out on top. I loved the feeling of danger that came with siding with a heel. I fist-pumped the air when Stone Cold got one over on Vince McMahon. My obsession was deep. Every Christmas, my bedroom became filled with WWF PPV VHS’ and wrestling figures. I loved my wrestling figures. I had hundreds (worth nothing as I always destroyed them). It was using my figures that I first got to grips with writing. I used to spend hours creating intricate stories full of betrayal and scandal.
One of my fondest memories was my first house show. It was 2003, around the time of Wrestlemania. I was a huge John Cena fan. I regularly used to scream “word life” and responded to people in bad rap. My Dad took me into the living room where there was a big piece of cardboard with a marker pen and a brand new wrestling belt. It took me a while to connect the dots and he literally had to spell it out for me. He told me I had 20 minutes to create a sign. I scrawled “Wordlife 619” on it in support of my two favourite wrestlers at the time. We packed up in the car and went. There I watched in amazement at John Cena, Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit, Big Show… the best of the best. Eddie was doing his run against Big Show and recreated the “sewerage” moment. We went crazy. I was high, high up in the bleachers. We weren’t that well off but my Dad had read about the show in the paper. It was one of the best moments in my life.
When I turned 15, I thought I was too cool for wrestling. I abandoned it completely as my friends would mock me openly for being a fan. When I turned 16, my Grandad died. We were very close but my brothers and sisters weren’t so. I felt angry, isolated and I had nowhere to turn. Then I was sat flicking through channels and saw a WWE Experience show (a compilation of Raw & Smackdown moments). The show had changed massively. John Cena was now a corporate good guy. Still, I found it comforting. Nothing bad happens in WWE that doesn’t go unrewarded. WWE has always taught karma. The bad guy gets it. At a time in my life when everything felt unjust, WWE was just what I needed to believe in life again.
So I began watching and was hooked again. This time I joined the Internet Wrestling Community. I jumped on message boards. After a year or so I checked out Wrestlegasm. I had regular chats with Rae and Andrew and it made me care. Eventually I cared enough to open this very blog because I wanted to share my perspective.
I love WWE. I will always love WWE. My big dream is to be a writer there one day. I’m often mocked for being a 21 year old WWE fan. I’ve been to several house shows now and yeah, the landscape has changed. The sweary teens have been replaced by exciteable kids but, you know what? I love it. These kids that chant for Cena, that get all dressed up and wave signs. They remind me of why I was a fan. Why I am still a fan and why I’ll forever remain a fan.
I’d love to hear your stories, get in touch and I might just put them up!