“You do know it’s fake, don't you?”
These seven words have undoubtedly been heard by every wrestling fan for as long as there have been wrestling fans.
The Yankees did not become a dynasty based off of predetermined results. No football team has made it to The Super Bowl because they threw 30 other teams over the top rope. Wrestling is an entirely different beast. It is showmanship, theatrics, awe, athleticism and spectacle. Those are all the things I need to be real.
One of my earliest memories involves my entire family sitting around our TV, watching Ric Flair in this blue sequined robe, talk as only Ric Flair can. I don’t remember what he was saying, any of the matches that came before or after it. I can tell you this … I remember the WOOOOOOs. My Dad gave a woo. Both of my older brothers? Woo! My Mom gave a woo that only a small Guyanese woman could give. I can't lie to you, I woo-ed too. I could barely form a sentence, but I woo-ed.
Surprisingly, this isn’t the moment I fell in love with Wrestling. At WrestleMania 12, the WWE's (then WWF) equivalent to the Super Bowl, Shawn Michaels defeated Bret Hart in a 60 minute Iron Man match, in which the person who scored the most falls would win the match, and ultimately the WWF Championship. 60 minutes went by, and not a single fall. It is at this point that sudden death rules are in effect. Now, I have to tell you, I am the biggest Shawn Michaels fan in my family, while my oldest brother is the biggest Bret Hart fan. This is some Knicks/Celtics level stuff going on in our house.
Two minutes into sudden death, and Shawn Michaels wins the match with Sweet Chin Music, and I heard the words that have stayed with me my entire life.
“The boyhood dream has come true…”
Wrestling isn’t real. I understand that more than anyone else. It doesn’t need to be real for me to enjoy it. Wrestling represents a time in my life where I had all of my family. It represents following my dreams and making them a reality. It represents so much I can’t even put into words. The friendships I’ve made because of wrestling, showing someone who has never seen a wrestling match and in their entire life my favorite matches, and watching them become enamored with it all. Nothing can replace the feeling that produces.
Those feelings are as real as the clothes on my back.