Welcome to Steelhead’s Bunkhouse Stampede. If you are still reading this, shame on you. The psychobabble about to be unleashed will make you question TSC’s sanity, and no refunds will be given for the loss of brain cells and decay of your general sense of morality incurred by sticking around these parts. That’s your first (and only) warning, I suggest you heed to it.
With that (contractually obligated) disclaimer out of the way, let me start with a clear conscience, and shoot it to you straight: I haven’t watched professional wrestling in over 20 years. My knowledge of the sport is severely limited to nostalgic memories. Slivers of greatness that have been unfortunately discarded like old porn files over the years due to an affinity to cheap bourbon. I’m afraid a year long stay at a Holiday Inn Express won’t fix this deficiency.
To alleviate the awkwardness, there are really only two general rules all must follow not only here, but life in general: 1. Fuck you, I’m Steelhead 2. Read rule one. Like any good heel, my actions will be abrasive, and always unapologetic. With that said:
Flipping through the channels recently, I stumbled upon a commercial that showed (what appeared to be) The Royal Rumble. There were 20 or so greased up dudes wearing shiny women’s panties wailing on each other. The only discernible difference between them was the amount of HGH pumping through their gonads at that exact moment. No wild haircuts. No kilts. No face paint. No masks. No snakes. No guitars. No megaphone toting yard barker giving instructions. BASICALLY: NO FUN. With my interest piqued, I suffered through about 20 minutes of RAW that evening, and was sorely disappointed.
KIMCHEE does not approve…
I’m sure the actual in-ring product these days blows away what I saw as an 8 year old aspiring alcoholic, but 99.9% of what made the WWF so much fun appears to be gone. Back then, it was all about the spectacle before the show through caricature, and sadly now it’s all about the show itself. If one of my illegitimate children is in a trailer somewhere watching what wrestling has become, I would want to tell them, “It wasn’t always like this my creepy, hair-lipped son. The assclownery used to be off-the-charts, and made for the most compelling/entertaining television a kid could ask for. Here’s a pack of Winstons, don’t tell your mom, who I highly regret sleeping with by the way.”
Question: What’s wrong with this picture? Answer: NOTHING
Time to pump the proverbial brakes a little bit. What I saw was a microcosm of the big picture, and is no way indicative of everything going on in the WWE (just learned that’s the new name, and the WCW is defunct. Gimme a drink, preferably one with bleach). Perhaps I nodded off before The Iron Yuppie took on Dr. Hillbilly in a match to the death. One can only hope a penchant for the absurd and wacky still exists in such a silly racket to begin with.
WWE? More like WTF.
For Christ’s sake, my entire perception of the world was once shaped by professional wrestling, and its ridiculous (and
sometimes offensive) stereotypes. I fear kids today aren’t getting the accurate worldview the WWF bestowed upon me at a young age, and will grow up to be ignorant on how other cultures live/feel. Professional wrestling should teach along with entertain. I wouldn’t be the well-rounded pillar of the community that lies before you without it. Allow me to elaborate:
Sgt. Slaughter and Hacksaw Jim Duggan taught me that America is the best, and everyone else can go eat a flaming bag of eagle shit, but not until we are done kicking their ass from sea to shining sea.
*Slaughter also showed me the “white stuff a person gets in the corners of their mouth when they are extremely thirsty” is very real, but that’s another story for another time.
The Bolsheviks brought to light the fact that Russians are a bunch of sneaky commie bastards that all Americans should fear, and satin jackets were the 80’s version of velour track suits for people from Moscow.
The Iron Sheik enlightened me about rising tensions in the Middle East, and how wearing pointy shoes severely limits your prowess in a fight, as does a finishing move that requires your testicles to be near an opponent’s head.
Kamala hailed from “The Dark Continent,” and once tried to eat a live chicken. He singlehandedly cancelled my vacation plans to Uganda the summer after 4th grade.
The Brooklyn Brawler showcased to the world that everyone from New York/New Jersey is complete and utter trash, perhaps in hindsight the only accurate generalization made by the WWF during this time period.
Yokozuna proudly displayed to Americans that Japanese people are fat, lazy, and eat way too much fast food. I laughed at this character, and often wondered why he couldn’t be more toned, like our very own Bam Bam Bigelow.
The Undertaker proved that being dead is a shit-ton cooler than being alive, and sleeping in a wooden coffin is normal human behavior. This was a weight off my shoulders, seeing my parents couldn’t afford anything else during those formative years.
I loved The Bushwhackers. Their message that all New Zealanders are mildly retarded, and like to lick people’s heads is timeless. Easily one of my favorite duos ever. Kiwis may disagree however…..
Then you had The Quebecers. A tag team that continued Hitman Bret Hart’s proud tradition of proving that all Canadians are pompous, arrogant jackasses. Living close to the border, this gave me cold sweats many a night.
On the flip side, it became apparent our buddies across the pond were gentlemanly, cordial, classy, and have wonderful teeth thanks to The British Bulldogs.
Brother Love made everyone south of the Mason-Dixon Line a tad bit scarier to a kid my age.
*Willing to bet $100 that the Westboro Baptist Church grand poobah looks and talks just like BL
Speaking of the South, Big Boss Man made driving through Cobb County, GA a scary thought, and revealed deep down cops are dicks that like to beat the shit out of people for no reason.
The South was displayed more tastefully when Hillbilly Jim was patrolling the squared circle. He wasn’t a religious fanatic, didn’t have anger issues, and was a true “Good Old Boy.” I liked my vision of the South better when it involved overalls, moonshine, banjoes, and incest instead of eternal damnation & pepper spray.
The Fiji Islands seemed like the coolest place on earth. Kudos to Superfly Jimmy Snuka, and his high-flying theatrics. What kid wouldn’t want to live in a tropical paradise, bang hot island women as they pour coconut milk all over their boobs, all while wearing a jaguar loincloth? That opinion held fast until Rowdy Roddy Piper smashed a coconut over SF’s head, rendering him braindead. Speaking of……
RRP was hands down my favorite wrestler during this time period. His cantankerous, no bullshit attitude represented Scotland nicely. You had the British Bulldogs acting like royalty, and then their neighbor RRP raking backs, busting heads, and not giving two fucks about anything. As a kid, the choice was easy. Scots are awesome, Brits are lame.
IRS was an ass-sucking, dishonest, conman who stole from everybody. I wouldn’t fully understand how awful the IRS was until years later when my first W-2 was filed. I take back my previous statement about The Brooklyn Brawler being the only accurate generalization here.
“The King” is alive, and our government is hiding that fact from us. Honky Tonk Man has made me skeptical of Washington ever since. The truth is out there.
Ahhh The Conquistadors. Their glowing gold outfits, mixed with being billed from “somewhere in Latin America” gave our friends south of the border a very negative image in my prepubescent eyes. I began to associate “somewhere in Latin America” with “wherever Liberace stashed his outfits.”
Luckily, Tito Santana came along to show me that Mexicans are badass bullfighters, and share a common hatred of that pantywaist Rick Martel.
Another favorite of mine was George the Animal Steele, whom was billed from Detroit. We drove through MoTown a few times during this era to visit family on the other side of the city, and one day we saw a rather inebriated, piss stained hobo taking a nap in the middle of the street. He was a dead ringer for Steele, so of course my perception of the city was forever linked to this ball of fur/turnbuckle stuffing, and I guess you do need to be slightly unhinged upstairs to live there anyways.
So there you have it. A college education’s worth of history and geography made possible by watching professional wrestling. Feel free to leave comments on anyone omitted you feel deserves mention (there are quite a few), and keep your drink cold. Until next time…