It seems like it’s starting to become cool for people to be wrestling fans again. With Valient Thorr and Fight Like Apes writing songs about the sport and countless websites and newspapers all devoting space to the baby oiled behemoths, it ‘s never been a better time to get in on the action.
I’ve been a wrestling fan since I was about 6 or 7. We used to watch the British stuff (Giant Haystacks,Danny Boy Collins, Adrian Street etc) up in my granda’s house in High Street and woe betide anyone who spoke during the broadcast. If they did, my granda would usually shut them up pretty quickly. He loved watching the action in the squared circle and so did I, much to my Da’s disbelief.
As I got older and the British stuff got cancelled, I started to watch the WWF. It didn’t take long to get into the catch as catch can style and my favourites were the Million Dollar Man, Jake the Snake, Ravishing Rick Rood and Shawn Michaels. Basically I liked the pretty boys who were there to piss off the hicks and camp it up while stealing their girlfriends.
As the years went by I still continued to watch the sport even though there were a few lean moments (I’m looking at you British Bulldog) and I started to become interested in the backstage stuff. Wrestlers are an unusal breed. Most are stand off-ish and defensive when they’re taken outside the world of spandex and there are dozens of dark characters whose dabbles with drugs has completely destroyed their bodies,mental state and reputations (Jake the Snake,New Jack,Lex Luger…).They’re almost like carnies, travelling the world working for fuck all money as they put their bodies through massive amounts of pain purely for the love of what they do.
I’ve only ever interviewed one wrestler. His name was Chris Jericho and at the time he was coming to Belfast to play a gig with his band Fozzy. At the time Jericho had “retired” from the WWE and was trying his luck as a full time warbler. His agent told me that under no uncertain terms was I to ask about his wrestling days or anything related to that world, then gave me his mobile number and told me to ring him whenever I liked. To be honest, with all due respect to his agent, there was no way I wasn’t going to ask about him about his former life. He spent three decades on the road wrestling and that’s where the story was. To pretend it didn’t happen was pretty fuckin’ daft if you ask me.
So there I was, ringing up a Canadian wrestler from my glorified squat at the time feeling all excited and deviously planning ways in which to make him talk about Vince McMahon and Co. Chris answered the phone with an abrupt “Yeah,” and for the next 20minutes we had a prickly conversation that was as much fun as getting my pubes pulled out by a 20stone biker. I’d always found Jericho to be quite a charismatic bloke when he was cutting promos, but in person he was an utter tool who was taking himself far too seriously. At one point we had a full blown argument about Iron Maiden. Now usually I’ll let my subject say their piece and slabber on about whatever is in their heads but this was 15minutes in, I had more than enough quotes to go on and his obnoxious behaviour was starting to piss me off so he was fair game. Oh, and did I get him to talk about wrestling? You bet your arse I did.
Tonight I’m going to watch WWE Raw at the Odyssey. I already know what’s going to happen before it does. I’ll get a few beers, shout a some daft things and ultimately be kinda disapointed when HBK doesn’t show up.In honour of tonight’s fun here’s a few clips of wrestlers cutting silly promos. The first one is of Lex Luger (who has now, not surprisingly, snuffed it) and the second is a compilation of some greased up grapplers losing the run of themselves. Enjoy.