I watch pro wrestling.
Well, kind of.
These days, I rely on DVR to do most of the dirty work, though. Out here on the West Coast, we don't get any of the weekly shows live, so I'll check the spoilers to see if I should watch. Even then, I'll lean heavily on the fast forward button and finish most two hour shows in 15-20 minutes.
In California, admitting you watch wrestling is not unlike telling your friends at the Black barbershop that you watch baseball. The only people in San Diego who'll own up to watching WWE are either kids or Mexicans. And, heaven help us if the Mexicans start having lots and lots of kids. Ahem.
Seriously…Mrs. Bootleg and I were together for three years before she learned of my secret shame. Remember the last time y'all lifted up your shoe only to find dog sh*t on the sole? That's the face she made that night.
She eventually learned to tolerate all of the fake and, while never becoming a regular viewer, she'd sit through a segment here and there. Oddly enough, she'd stop watching for several months, then walk into the living room with a dismissive "I can't believe you watch this" and, without missing a beat, say, "Wait, when did The Rock come back?"
For those scoring at home, Mrs. Bootleg is back to being "aghast" at wrestling. I remember her indignantly leaving the room during one of Cryme Tyme's ring intros with the same silent rage that she usually saves for bruthas who date outside the race.
So, it goes without saying that the wife would not be joining me at last night's Smackdown/ECW TV taping.
This was only the fifth live show that I've attended. In '88, I saw Ted DiBiase and Randy Savage headline at the old Los Angeles Sports Arena. To this day, the only thing I remember is seeing Ken Patera and Dino Bravo arrive in the same rental car, despite being mortal enemies who wrestled one another later that night. How…how could this be?
In '95, I was one of the
Then, in '97, as part of an internship through my advertising/marketing class, I helped promote a WCW Monday Nitro taping on the San Diego State campus. This surreal evening will never make its way to my resume, but I did meet Scott Hall and Rey Mysterio and got to go backstage before any of the talent could plow through a spread of stale sandwiches and soupy room temperature potato salad.
Finally, in May of '99, I went to a bizarre Sunday afternoon taping of Heat and Raw. This was at the height of the convoluted "Corporate Ministry" era and featured a Vince v. Shane match and Undertaker v. Big Show. The latter is memorable because Taker whacked Show with a "baseball bat", only to have half the bat break off and fly into the crowd, about two rows from me. A ring attendant quickly took away the evidence, but not before we all touched the plastic-encased Styrofoam "shrapnel".
For my fifth and, most likely, last live event (c'mon, people, I'm almost 34 for f*ck's sake), I was joined by three friends…two of whom have been drinking since noon.
If you just want the match results, I did a quick write-up for Widro over at IP.
If you want to hear about audience fights over projectile worms or a near race-riot in the crowd or which diva has the absolutely lumpiest ass or why so many small children literally left the show in tears or even more detail on the matches…you'll have to come back tonight for Part II.
Yep, I'm using wrestling to hook the audience.
What a strange and unfamiliar environment this is for me.