If you are stuck at home reliving all your childhood memories, I’m sure you’ve spent a fair share of your time watching wrestling. Just like I did! While listening to the Wrestlemania updates on the closed-door event this time, I was taken back to a memory. A sixteen-year long memory of what this event really means to me.
I guess I was around 7 when I first saw a wrestling match. That’s when I watched Mick Foley in his Wanted Dead/Alive attire, a frightening mask and barbed-wire props along with his lethal strikes on opponents. It was gory and the other guy was bleeding to death. At first, I thought it was straight out of some action film as I’d never witnessed that much of violence at such a young age. But as the matches continued and the superstars kept appearing from backstage, I slowly started to understand that it was an entertaining action sport. Since that day I’ve been a big fan of wrestling.
At first, I wasn't sure of what wrestling was all about. All I could see was people fighting against each other, men and women throwing themselves over the other, jumping up from the ropes and climbing up the cages and performing awesome finishing moves. But the insane vibe of the sport and the atmosphere created by the fans around the ring caught my attention! I mean, how can someone not be a fan of it?!
To add up to this fandom, there were the console games that had its dedicated WWE games on them. I’m sure all of you must have played this game all day long in your childhood. Be it at the game centre or at your own house (if you were rich enough i.e), it came at the expense of sleep and studies. But boy was it worth it!
I loved these games for how they transported us into a realistic, virtual world of the sport. Didn’t we all assume while playing these games that we were The Undertaker, The Kane, Edge, John Cena, JBL, Eddie Guerrero, Brock Lesnar, Randy Orton, Shawn Micheals, Stone Cold, Ric Flair, Goldberg, Chris Jericho, The Hardy Boys, Batista, Rey Mysterio or anybody else that we loved? And how many times have we enacted this with our siblings and made them cry despite the several warnings to not to try this at home? If it wasn’t our siblings, then it was the pillows that got pinned down! 1...2...3...
It took me ages to figure out how it all worked. The different Pay-per-views, the Red and Blue brand, the different characterization, the storylines, the Face and Heel turn of the players. And obviously the Royal Rumble which paved its way to the grandest stage of them all. The Wrestlemania!
Back then, this wasn’t as easy a task given how much our parents loathed the wrestling. I remember having to often sneak out during midnights to watch the repeat episodes. Those restrictions are long gone now tho. Some even say they’ve grown out of it! But if growing up is an excuse to grow out of this sport then let’s just say that I haven’t grown up a bit.
It’s been about 16 years now and I've still been a loyal follower. For the last 8 years, I have watched every Pay-per-view, known every player around and understand every storyline that goes on. The Golden Era, The PG, The Attitude, The New Generation Era, DX, NWO and whatnot. In fact, I sometimes rewatch the episodes just for the commentaries and the audience reactions. Still gives me the goosebumps!
Two years back when the hardy boyz made their return on Wrestlemania, I completely lost it!! It was insane and I was literally jumping on my bed to see those legends come back home for the Ladders match. They won their championships of course! Every time when Randy Orton delivers an RKO, every time John Cena’s music comes up or every time The Shield, The Newday or The USOS come to the ring I can bet you my day instantly gets a lot better.
So mindless is my obsession that I will still believe that Undertaker is a deadman if I have to. Remember the time when we all cried once the STREAK WAS BROKEN? I’m so attached to this sport that I had happy tears in my eyes when Edge made his return this year during the Royal Rumble. This sport has become a part of my life now and maybe a little more than that too!
Though I understand that it is all scripted, I would still sit for two hours straight on a Tuesday or Saturday morning to watch the entire episode of Raw or Smackdown. It is literally a dream come true if I’d be able to watch Wrestlemania Live within the next five years. The Grandest Stage of them all which every superstar dreams of every day of their in-ring career - one Wrestlemania Moment! I can only assume that witnessing one such moment of our favourite superstars wrestle each other while sitting amongst some 80,000 fans would be nothing short of pure magic.
This sport is all about the WWE Universe and every loyal fan who screams their heart out for it. That is why this year's Wrestlemania was not as entertaining as it used to be. It did not feel like home this time. John Cena, Edge, Randy Orton, The Undertaker, Goldberg, Kevin Owens, Rhea Ripley, AJ styles and every other brilliant superstar tried giving us brilliant performances.
Although I do appreciate their effort to keep us entertained even during this hard time, the truth is, it didn’t feel like Wrestlemania. I couldn’t watch the matches despite all my favourites participating in it.
It is us, the fans who make this sport a bit more than just that. Our emotions run this show! I’m proud to say that I’m one amongst them and I belong to the WWE Universe. I’m pretty sure that one day I will be in one of the stadiums as a part of the WWE Universe, screaming my heart out, shouting 1...2...3… as one of them pins the other. With tears in my eyes, I’ll be reliving all my childhood memories from the first wrestling match I’ve ever watched to that very moment of witnessing my Wrestlemania moment Live. Someday I’ll get there. Someday soon!
Forever a WWE Fan,
Sathya Sai Narayanan