Hey, sorry for the lack of updates this month. As I’ve been working at a new job, the adjustment period has been a bit rough and exhausting, not leaving me with much mental room to do writing things.
However, since I am currently in my days off recovery period and today is a bit of a special day, I think I can pull it off.
It’s been a year since Wrestlemania 31, which officially capped off my first week of being into wrestling. At that point, I only wanted to watch it for the match between AJ and Paige and The Bella Twins, but I fell all the way in from the start of that Intercontinental Title match that ended up being the last championship Daniel Bryan would ever win to the moment Seth Rollins cashed in his Money in the Bank contract in the main event. It was insane and magical and I never wanted it to end.
It’s been a year. Wrestlemania 32 is on Sunday. What have I learned in this year?
That falling in love with a particular wrestler can either be instantaneous or take some time. I knew from the second Finn Bálor walked through the curtain dressed like a dragon at Takeover Unstoppable that he was going to be my guy. I just didn’t know to what extent yet. On the flip side, I feel like if you told me a year ago that I was going to love the Bella Twins and be sad that Brie was going to retire, I would have thought you were lying. And yet, sometime last summer, with all the Team Bella shenanigans, I realized that was absolutely 100% true. I even regularly wear a Fearless Nikki snapback now.
That as fun as wrestling can be on TV, nothing beats seeing it live. Whether it’s in a rec center gym in Gainesville, Florida, a Ring of Honor show where you have no idea what’s going on, a theater in Nashville where you ran away to for a few days after getting laid off, or any of the times you take MARTA a few stops over to Philips Arena. Nothing really beats the way a room shakes at certain chants or lights up when you only have cell phone flashlights to go on. The Undertaker taking forever to get to the ring doesn’t seem like long enough when you’re seeing it in person. A giant man getting tossed into a metal barrier right in front of you can be just as terrifying as Mojo Rawley running around the ring with a small child after a victory. That you can know that the future holds something for someone from the way they act during the match, but you just have to ride the moment while you’re in it and try not to guess what that future is. I may not be going to Mania this year, but I got two NXT house shows the week after and I’m aiming for Orlando next year. And Takeover Brooklyn 2.
That even if a guy you like isn’t your guy, it still sucks when he has to retire.
That most pro-wrestling fans are the most unreasonable assholes you will ever encounter. This isn’t just for the ones you meet on the internet, but at shows as well. The guy who told me that Naomi disgusts him and that she would be better if her body had Alicia Fox’s face still haunts my dreams. Still, with any fandom, it’s best to surround yourself with people you can talk with. Women fans are way more fun anyway.
That pro-wrestling can tell an amazing and emotional story if everything comes together right. Bayley and Sasha is the example I go to the most, but I saw it in matches with Sasha and Becky at the first Takeover I ever watched. Or Rollins and Ambrose at Money in the Bank. Or every goddamn thing with Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens that’s inevitably going to main event Wrestlemania one day. Wrestling can be over-the-top and dramatic, yes, but there are times where it all just comes together.That pro-wrestling can be downright inspiring. I’ve said that NXT especially helped finish the job that Carol Danvers started, helping me get over a relationship I clinged to long after it should have died. Bayley and Sami have reminded me that my dreams are worth it, especially when it comes to doing it on my terms. Finn and his demon have helped me with learning how to not be afraid to get angry, and how being Bulletproof doesn’t mean being invulnerable, unfeeling, or unkind. Not to mention how Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch speak to my soul as well with their own drive and personalities. It’s weird to say I identify with both the face and the heel, but I do. And if I can finally afford to do kickboxing lessons, it’ll all be wrestling’s fault.
That even with all of that, it still never hurts to just lay back and enjoy the fun. Because that’s ultimately what these people are here to do. Entertain us. Sometimes it comes across as story, and sometimes it comes across with unicorn horns and trombones.
To a year of loving this weird sports soap opera. May I get many more years out of it.