It was sometime in 1979, I was an eight year old Indiana kid who’d discovered the entertaining world of pro wrestling. It was the greatest athletic theatre ever…good vs. bad…the faces and the heels.
My first ever exposure to this sometimes insane world was the Indianapolis based WWA, headed by the late, great, legendary Dick The Bruiser. I’ll never forget thinking, what is this wild & crazy stuff?!?
The first live event I attended was headlined by Dick The Bruiser and another legend we lost years ago, Bruiser Brody. Quite an introduction into a live event. I was hooked as a fan. It was just great entertainment.
As we got into the 80’s, I was getting into the WWE (WWF at the time) during their expansion period with Hulk Hogan and company. My first live WWE event featured Junkyard Dog, The Missing Link and others. I was able to check out the NWA with Ric Flair, the AWA, World Class etc. The 80’s was an interesting period of time to be a fan.
By the 90’s, WWE was now dealing with WCW and ECW. I liked all three, but for different reasons. I miss those times. With WCW, to me, what made Nitro so great wasn’t the nWo (although I liked it, it wasn’t my main reason), it was something that WCW took from ECW and that is great wrestlers…Chris Jericho, Dean Malenko, Chris Benoit (talking talent, NOT what happened later), Eddie Guerrerro. Those guys made WCW great, along with the luchadores from Mexico…Rey, Juvi, Psychosis etc. People like to label ECW as that place that was just violence and extreme situations….it was also great wrestling. WWE also took from ECW with the edginess of the Attitude Era, which launched Steve Austin and The Rock into super stardom. It happened ORGANICALLY with them. That doesn’t happen very often. Pay attention to the people and when something hits, run with it and to not do so is foolish.
I’m more old school than new when it comes to pro wrestling or sports entertainment. I dig some of the Ring of Honor stuff, DragonGate USA, Evolve etc. Much of the real talent today (Daniel Bryan and CM Punk) is from that world and hopefully will still continue tomorrow. When you get guys who can WRESTLE and work, can talk, are over organically, as a business, you should want more of that for your company, not less.
TNA. Well, they have talent (or had) with AJ Styles, Low Ki, Austin Aries, Robert Roode (who seems to be a great fit for WWE imo), Samoa Joe (the real deal…Samoa Joe vs. KENTA in ROH!) Over the years, when I think they are onto something, they ditch it or diminish it someway. They can never be WWE, but they can be a great TNA.
With entertainment in ANYTHING…tv, music, movies, radio etc…the basics are always the same, which is just be entertaining…whatever it is. It’s the same with pro wrestling and storylines. All of these things go through various phases of change, which is normal and it should, BUT, entertainment has to be entertaining. Evoke emotion. Real, not fake or forced.
I have many opinions on pro wrestling…past, present & future and may share those over time.