As 2011 draws to a close, I’ve been looking back on the year in sports. There have been lots of interesting things this year.
Aaron Rodgers finally escaped Brett Favre’s shadow by winning his first Super Bowl. Then follows it up with a 13-0 run before finally losing this season.
The Boston Bruins winning their first Stanley Cup since Bobby Orr played for them.
The Dallas Mavericks winning their first Championship in franchise history over, the newly minted most hated team in the NBA, the Miami Heat.
All the horrific stuff at Penn State and Syracuse.
Cam Newton proving everyone wrong. Drew Brees breaking Dan Marino’s passing yards record.
Coach K setting the all-time wins record.
The untimely deaths of two Baltimore sports heroes- Bubba Smith and Mike Flanagan.
But the thing that captured my attention the most…..
Three letters: W W E!
I know what you’re thinking. Really Chad? Really? Wrestling is fake and it’s not even a sport.
Let me give you a bit of a backstory here.
When I was little, I was really into the WWF. Hulk Hogan, Roddy Piper, Ricky Steamboat, Randy “Macho Man” Savage, and Junkyard Dog were among my favorites. I collected the toys; many of which I still have, and my eight year old son plays with.
I waited for that one Saturday night a month when Saturday Night Live was preempted by Saturday Night’s Main Event.
I even talked my parents into taking me to a live event at, what was then, the Civic Center.
However, after I graduated high school in 1990 and went off to college, I lost my passion for WWF. The main reason being none of my college friends were into it.
About two years ago, my wife and I went out and my son spent some time with a friend who was watching WWE. He came home talking about it non-stop. He wanted me to watch it with him but I resisted. I figured it would be something he got out of quickly. My son and wife would go upstairs and watch Smackdown and I would watch something else.
Earlier this year I finally gave in and watched an episode with him. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.
This past June, Raw came to First Mariner Arena. My son’s birthday is at the end of May so one of my presents to him was tickets to the event. That was it. I was hooked once again. To be fair, I was hooked before then but going to a live event solidified it.
Since then, I’ve bought a bunch of action figures for both my son and myself, DVDs, PPVs and tickets to the Tables, Ladders and Chairs event a couple of weeks ago. The TLC event was one of the best sporting events I’ve ever been to. I can’t wait for the DVD to come out.
That first episode, I saw a character named The Miz. He’s a heel, or in layman’s terms, a bad guy. He was on the mic doing one of his trademark rants. Instantly he became my favorite. He may not be the most versatile guy on the mic but he has a lot of humor and sarcasm in what he says. He reminds me a lot of Roddy Piper in this respect. A jerk but funny at the same time.
A lot of people don’t like him because they don’t respect the way he came to WWE, via the Real World. They think he didn’t earn what has been given to him. To me that means he has to prove himself every night and thus earn it even more.
He also finished second on the fourth season of Tough Enough which offers the winner a WWE contract. So he wasn’t completely handed everything.
The best guy on the mic is by far CM Punk. I couldn’t stand this guy when I first started watching again but he always kept me glued to the TV, I couldn’t turn him off. He comes into the ring and sits down to deliver his “pipe bombs”. I always felt like he was a smug jerk. Which he is, but his wrestling abilities and his promo on an episode of Raw in June blew me away and he has become another favorite for me. He’s more cerebral than the Miz though.
As far as the action goes, I prefer to call it choreographed. Yes there are times they miss each other and have to “sell” a punch or kick, but that happens in every action movie. No one has a problem watching Jet Li kick someone’s butt in a movie because it’s fake. It’s still exciting.
I suppose you could make an argument about WWE not being a sport. However you can’t deny the athletic ability of these guys. Particularly, the high fliers. These guys launch themselves off the top rope, off a ladder or scaffolding. They do things they would need wires to do in the movies. Pull up John Morrison, Kofi Kingston, Jeff Hardy or Rey Mysterio on YouTube, and tell me they aren’t athletes.
They have to have the execution on some of their moves down perfectly or someone could be paralyzed or even killed.
Yes there are some guys that are just big and fat and don’t have much more than power moves but those guys aren’t as prominent as they used to be. There are many more ripped guys than, out of shape flabby ones.
Plus take into account there is no off season and no breaks. They work about 300 days a year. The only break they get is if they are injured and rehabbing, or suspended for whatever reason.
I love the storylines. They run the gamut. Good versus evil. Revenge, redemption, betrayal, even an occasional love triangle.
Maybe my favorite of the current crop of stories is R Truth. His character is absolutely insane. He rants about “Little Jimmy”, and the head office conspiring to keep him down. He has these crazy eyes and plays the part very well. I almost feel like he isn’t acting.
Not to mention the beautiful women to watch. Several of which are very talented in their own right but WWE needs to figure out how to use them better.
As I’ve gotten back into it, I’ve seen how many guys my age are still into it and never lost their interest. I’ve been able to go to them with questions to fill in gaps that I have.
I now tape Monday Night Raw and Friday Night Smackdown every week to watch with my son. It’s definitely become father/son bonding time and if not for him I’d be missing out on a lot of fun.
If you keep in mind that the “E” in WWE is for “entertainment”, you just might find yourself enjoying it as much as I do.