Hello, and welcome to another issue of I GOT TILL 5. The weekly column that looks at a part of professional wrestling, offering both sides of an opinion and ends off with 5 YES’s, 5 NO’s and possibly a few MAYBE’s.
Firstly, apologies for not having a column last week, and for this one being a day late. University has just finished and my internet at my Uni house has been cut off. I’m currently on the stairs of my friends flat typing this up whilst listening to the Oliver & Company soundtrack. Who remembers that film? Classic.
But I’m back now, and I promise not to be a dick this time and actually write about wrestling again. It was really bad timing for me, as I missed the Payback PPV, as well as the past two Raw’s, which I’ve been told have been very good. It feels very strange to be left out of the wrestling loop the way I have been recently, and thats what led me to my column today.
I have a lot of friends who aren’t active followers of professional wrestling, but will happily watch it with me, and often get involved with the current storylines and matches if they see someone that they recognise. So I sent a mass text out to my friends and asked them to give me the first three things they thought of when hearing the word “Wrestling”.
The results were fairly interesting.
Unsurprisingly, The Rock was the most popular answer. The people I asked are roughly in my age group (20 – 22) and would’ve heard of The Rock growing up as he was fucking everywhere and everybody loved him. But whilst I had expected The Rock, I also expected Stone Cold and Hulk Hogan to come up. But they didn’t. Not once. Not even The Undertaker was mentioned, a guy who my friends claim is their favourite wrestler of all time.
This confused me at first, because obviously The Rock, Stone Cold and Hulk Hogan are among the three greatest wrestling personalities of all time! They have helped revolutionise the business in ways that I don’t think any of us can fully understand, and the amount they’ve done for Wrestling in general is incredible. But then I realised that I was speaking as a wrestling fan. Of course I knew what they had done for the business, I read about it all the time. I’ve followed their paths to superstardom and I’ve heard countless stories from other writers and wrestlers on how they influenced their careers. But other people wouldn’t know this. Some people today still ask if Kane and Undertaker were actually brothers. To me, it’s the strangest thing in the world when someone doesn’t know who Stone Cold Steve Austin is, but then I realise that I have no idea who Fabio Capella is. I don’t understand football (or soccer for you ‘Mericans) and don’t think I ever will, but I know a couple of the players from playing Fifa and sitting with my housemate watching games on the telly.
And that makes The Rock’s mention that little bit more special to me. The fact that over half the people I asked said The Rock is incredible. The only other wrestler to get mentioned by name was Rey Mysterio (another shocker as the same guy also said “a ring” and “the letter W”) so it shows the impact he had on our popular culture as well as the wrestling business. One of the mentions of The Rock wasn’t by name, but by his catchphrase. “IF YOU SMELL” was the first answer I was given and it instantly gave me a buzz. It’s a catchphrase that makes absolutely no fucking sense if you really think about it, but it gives you an instant memory, takes you back to a certain moment or gives you a certain feeling. For me, it’s the beginning of his entrance theme that gave me such excitement as a kid. I was at the most recent Raw TV event around April and was sitting in the limited viewing seats, so I couldn’t see the Tron, and at one point The Rock’s music played to advertise something he was doing. But we had no idea, not being able to see the Tron, so we went fucking ape shit and were on our feet, cameras at the ready, and then a voiceover played over advertising a film he was doing or something and our entire section groaned, booed, and chanted “WE CAN’T SEE SHIT”. It was a fun disappointment, but it made me think about just how much enjoyment I get from that simple catchphrase.
As well as IF YOU SMELL, the same person also gave me “YES!”, “Oh my GOODNESS” and “EXcuse Me!” YES was fairly expected from him, as I have a massive boner for Daniel Bryan and proudly wear my YES! shirt whenever possible, and frequently “YES!” when I’m out with friends drinking. Not only is it fun to shout when drunk in a club, it also attracts other wrestling fans (which there are always a surprising amount) and it’s a fun, easy thing to shout. And shouting is always fun. But to remember “Oh my GOODNESS”, the classic Booker T commentary line, was shocking to me. I’d completely forgotten about it. It’s odd the little things that stick out in peoples minds.
Amongst the other things that were mentioned were Wrestlemania and Big Belts. Big belts are synonymous with physical sporting events, but it still made me smile that these are a recognised thing within the non wrestling community. Title belts are something I will write about in a later column, but they’re something that always make me happy and I greatly admire. Wrestlemania is fucking Wrestlemania. My facebook explodes with it every year.
Most of the other answers bordered on the classic “wrestling is fake and gay” line, with “sweaty men” and “big muscles” being the ones that stood out most to me.
As I can’t really do a YES! or NO! this week, so instead I shall just point out 5 things that I took away from my column.
- The Rock – Global superstar. Has more name recognition with my generation than Hulk Hogan. Would a younger audience say John Cena?
- Catchphrases – Stick out to people more than anticipated. A good way to measure a wrestlers popularity
- Tradition – Big Belts and Wrestlemania. It makes me happy to know that these are things people symbolise with wrestling.
- Taboo’s – Sweaty Men wasn’t what I had in mind when I asked people what they thought when hearing Wrestling. It’s a shame that people can’t see past two men in tights grabbing each other, but then again I will never understand the appeal of two teams kicking a leather ball around a field.
- Memories – Rey Mysterio stood out to someone so much that he was the first thing someone thought of when thinking of Wrestling. Gangrel was the first wrestler I ever saw on TV (and coincidentally the first “major” wrestler I ever saw live) and it fascinates me to see which memories people have and what triggers them.
And that ends another edition of I Got Till 5!
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed the column. Please leave suggestions in the comments for next weeks topic where I will definitely have internet. Until next time.