Thursday, August 07, 2008

Wrestling: Those were the good old days

I recently had an opportunity to do something that I sort have avoided the past decade and a half: I watched professional wrestling.

And wow, things certainly have changed since I was a kid. I don't mean the fact that those behind it admit that it is entertainment and not purely a sport. No, I am referring to the shift towards more adult-oriented themes and language. If you've read this blog in the past, you know I have no objection to things being for adults in the slightest.

However, I remember wrestling when I was a kid, back when the World Wrestling Federation was fighting to go national (no pun intended), and in retrospect, the whole spectacle seems so innocent now, and when you look at the accompanying media, well, it does seem like it was indeed marketed as family entertainment. It was all very archetypal, and well, just hokey fun.

I mean, there was a Saturday Morning Cartoon back in 1985 (which featured voice work by a young Brad Garrett), and an album as well, and I was familiar with them both, not to mention the whole Cyndi Lauper/Captain Lou Albano Rock N' Wrestling angle.

I still remember most of the major players from that time as well. Aside from the luminaries like Hulk Hogan (before we all found out what a colossal douchebag he really is), Andre the Giant, Rowdy Roddy Piper and The Hart Foundation, I remember Junkyard Dog, Hillbilly Jim, George "The Animal" Steele, Kamala and so many others. But in doing a little more research I discovered that many of the wrestlers who make up those memories are now no longer with us, mostly due to a lot of heart attacks, drug overdoses and road accidents.

But from my brief exposure to what professional wrestling has become over the past few days, well, I can see that a lot of the fun has been sucked out and replaced with a slick glossy veneer, and I sort of feel bad for the kids that are growing up watching it. I sort of feel like an old man saying that in my day wrestling was better than it is today, because it doesn't feel like it has the same heart to it.

Now I consider Mexican wrestling to be an entirely different matter, because I like the idea of it, and in my semi-hipster way, luchadors are cool. Hell, Luchadors are cool in every way. But this WWE wrestling these days... I just don't see how I could get into it. Though given the quality of the WWE movies, I should have known that the wrestling wasn't going to be that satisfying either.


sir jorgewwe said...

i've been into it for years, and still love it, you just gotta revisit your youth.

MC said...

I think the fact that you watched it through the transitional phase may be why it wasn't really jarring for you to see what it's modern form is.

Semaj said...

ah, yes the good old days of the WWF. That Hulk Hogan theme song is horrible. I also watched an episode on youtube and realize how shitty the animation and voice acting was in that show.

They didnt even bother getting Hulk to voice his character on the show. (Then again this is DiC studios)

I remember getting back into it in the mid-90s and being blown away how much had changed in the WWE/WWF.

Stone Cold came onto stage drinking beers and there seemed to be more Hardcore matches. I got back into it when the Rock got big into the storylines and he became a hero.

Fell out of it around 2000s though.

MC said...

I didn't say they were great... I just said I was familiar with the cartoon. And Hulk's voice was Brad Garrett.

I had a friend in real life remind me that I had written about games growing up with the audience, and I wasn't giving wrestling the same kind of consideration. When they put it like that, it made me think that perhaps I was looking at this whole thing the wrong way.