First and foremost, I hope everyone is having (or had if you are reading this after) a happy Thanksgiving season. During this time of year, friends and family come together to enjoy their company. They also remember what they should be thankful for.
I certainly have no shortage of things I’m thankful for, and one thing in particular that I’m thankful I get to watch is pro wrestling. Before I elaborate, I’d like to express my gratitude and thanks for the opportunity to write for this website.
I’ve been writing here on EWN for approximately five or so years. There were rough times where I believed I was being exiled from the site and was no good. However, I’ve become an integral part of a wonderful family of people who love pro wrestling just as much, if not, more than me.
To all of my wonderful co-workers and to the people who read my articles to express their opinions, be it positive or negative, you have my never-ending thanks.
My first exposure to pro-wrestling wasn’t through television. It was actually through SmackDown vs. RAW 2007. When I first played this game at my friend’s house, I thought that this was something out of a Marvel comic book and who I was seeing were not real.
I saw a very tall guy with dark clothing and a menacing look who called himself The Undertaker. Then there was this short man with a mask and plenty of tattoos who called himself Rey Mysterio. As I looked up and down the roster, I saw many superstars of all different shapes and sizes, but I thought this was strictly a video game.
Then, one day I happened to see Rey Mysterio taking on Mark Henry on an episode of SmackDown. At this point, I was still completely oblivious to the fact that pro wrestling was staged and that everything I was watching was pre-determined. But I’ll never forget cheering for Mysterio so hard to complete the upset and take down the World’s Strongest Man.
I didn’t actively start to watch wrestling until 2012, which was when WWE was preparing to build towards WrestleMania 28. John Cena and The Rock were trading verbal fisticuffs, Kane was torturing Randy Orton’s dad, Chris Jericho was talking smack about CM Punk’s family, and Triple H and The Undertaker was in the middle of an intense feud with Shawn Michaels in the middle.
I don’t know what it was that specifically drew me in, but there was something about what I was watching that made me want to come back next week and watch more. It didn’t matter whether or not what I was watching was good, bad or average. All that mattered was the experience.
Then, I realized that WWE wasn’t the only home where I could watch pro wrestling. When I looked at some of the other companies such as ROH, TNA and NJPW, I witnessed crazy matches on a larger scale. You wouldn’t believe the amount of times I went to Dailymotion and looked up old matches such as Bryan Danielson vs. KENTA and AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe vs. Christopher Daniels.
Eventually, pro wrestling just became something that I watched borderline religiously. This built up to my first live show experience. It was NXT: Takeover Brooklyn II in the Barclays Center, where The Revival had an intense match with DIY and Shinsuke Nakamura won his first NXT Championship. Then, I had the pleasure of going back to the Barclays Center the next year for Summerslam.
I have to say that the live experience is really something that you can’t beat. It’s one thing to watch everything unfold from behind a television screen, but it’s another to interact with fellow fans (who aren’t disruptive) and seeing amazing matches take place live. The energy is so palpable to the point where you can pretty much touch it.
Some people call pro wrestling violent ballet, and others call it just a fake broadway production featuring sweaty men in trunks grappling each other. Whatever you choose to define it as, what cannot be denied is that there is always something that draws us back the next week.
For the past couple of months, Monday Night RAW has been borderline insufferable to watch at times. It’s basically the equivalent of watching a hamster run on a wheel. However, I still plan on watching RAW next week. Why? Well, aside from the fact that I’m responsible for posting the results, there’s just always a sense of needing gratification that I get from pro wrestling.
Last week’s RAW ended with a (presumably) heel Seth Rollins curb stomping Kevin Owens into oblivion with AOP seemingly acting as his muscle. I’m curious to see where it goes. Pro wrestling is the circus that never ends, and there is no end in sight.
My love for the profession has spanned for many years, and it came during a time where I had trouble finding what I was good at. Eventually, I found writing as an outlet to relieve stress, and then I decided to put two and two together and start writing about it.
This Thanksgiving, it is important to remember to remain thankful. I’m thankful for getting to experience a sport that can invoke a variety of emotions, be it positive or negative. Some of us never forget the first match we watched, or the first time we ever bought tickets to witness a show live.
While pro wrestling itself isn’t “real”, the feeling that I get when I watch a great match or listen to a scathing promo is about as real as it gets. I’m thankful to not only watch wrestling, but to write about it on this platform.
On behalf of EWN, I’d like to wish all of you a happy and healthy Thanksgiving season. I hope it is filled with friends, family, food and memories that will last a lifetime.