Monday, September 28, 2015

kryptonite

so last friday i saw my first-ever pro wrestling show and it was just about the best thing ever.


the fact that i'm a longtime wrestling fan has surprised some people; it's true that i haven't really talked about it in a while, at least not until my boyfriend (also a longtime fan) got me re-interested in it about six months ago. but here's a fun fact: from ages 15 to about 17, i watched wwe (then wwf) religiously, raw on monday nights and smackdown on thursday nights. (i tried to watch some wcw in order to be a well-rounded wrestling fan, but i hated how cheap and crappy it looked and i didn't care about any of the talent.) although this worried my pacifist parents - combined with the fact that my favourite type of video game was fighting games, i think they thought i was going to grow up to be a violent sociopath - but since i was at that middling part of adolescence where you kind of have to admit that your kid can start to make their own adult decisions, they eventually let it slide.

so even though i don't remember why i started watching it, as anyone who's into wrestling will know, that shit's addictive -- especially if you really get into the cheesy soap-opera plotlines and the rivalries and the feuds week after week. it's like, you can't miss the next episode. and i think for me - devotee of fighting games - it was a bit like a real-life video game, which made it that much cooler. heroes! villains! costumes! pyro! so i tacked up posters of the hardy boyz in my locker at school (i'd already chosen high-flying alternagoth jeff hardy as my favourite) and away i went.

yet although my browser's homepage was set to wwf.com, this was before the iwc (internet wrestling community) was a big thing - i was mostly a fan from 1999 through 2001 - so i never really had anyone to talk about it with. sure, i liked reading fansites and wrestler bios and match recaps, but aside from a couple fellow weirdos at school, i had no other fans to be with.

moreover, i did feel kind of weird liking wwe. it really wasn't great towards women at that time period, and even at 15 i could recognize that. there were valets and bra & panties matches and pudding wrestling and women as objects and women as prizes. the womens' division was mostly women who could barely fight and were mostly there to tear each others' tops off. and look, i was raised by feminist parents; i wanted equality. i wanted to see kickass women with awesome fighting skills that could equal the men. (fortunately, wrestlers like lita and trish stratus were on the rise at the time, overtaking the idea that women were just there to be eye candy and arm candy. i idolized lita; high flyers were/are my favourite type of wrestlers, which makes it strange that i've never gotten into lucha.)

then came a few more sea changes in my life: for one, around this time period is when i fell in love with rock music and bands, which basically supplanted everything else in my life completely. for two, in 2002 i moved to toronto to start university, and since i didn't have cable, i couldn't keep up with wwe and checking the website for the results just wasn't the same. and although wrestling's very easy to get into, it's almost as easy to fall out of, and then before you know it you're a million miles behind the current storylines and you have no idea what's happening with anyone.

cue me about six months ago, trying to figure out what the hell was going on in the current incarnation of wwe, 15 years after i left it. (turns out quite a few familiar faces are around, but everyone's in different roles, and there's a ton of new talent, and they have a developmental league now, and john cena is a thing, and triple h is an executive, and 85% of the wrestlers i used to know are dead. but! there are also a ton of amazing and talented women wrestlers now!)

fortunately, i had my boyfriend to bring me up to speed. as it turns out, he'd been a fan for years as well, and still kept up with it (he and his brother were both current fans and they talked about it/watched pay-per-views together all the time). so it was kind of a hilarious moment for us each to realize that we both had this shared interest that was kind of hidden. i didn't mention it because i honestly hadn't thought about my old love of wrestling in 15 years. he didn't mention it because, in his words, "it's not exactly something to admit you like."

.....okay, you know what, i'm going to divert this blog post for a second here and discuss the idea of shitting on something somebody else loves.

i know people who've cut me off immediately when i try to talk about wrestling. even my parents audibly rolled their eyes over the phone and said "oh, honey" when i told them excitedly that i was going to my first wwe match. and then, of course, the clarion call of the disdainful masses as they pity your supposed naivete: "uhhhh, you know it's fake, right?" (yes. but it's not. but it is. just watch this video for an explanation in the most entertaining sense.) despite the fact it showcases some of the best athletes on the planet right now, it's still considered lowbrow entertainment for rubes who don't know it's fake. and so there's more than a few adult fans who are sheepish to admit how much they love wrestling, just because we all know the looks we get from other people.

but here's what i don't get: why shit all over something that someone else loves just because you don't like it? i get that it's the easiest form of trolling possible, but it's begun to drive me nuts lately. why do people need to take your passions down a peg just because they might not approve of them? why not just let people have their fun?

here's an example: i don't like baseball. but do i openly bitch and complain about the flood of blue jays news all over my social feeds? no, because i know people are excited and happy and i want to let them have that. i don't want to crap on their joy, just because i do not like something that they like. if i'm suffering from baseball exhaustion, i just log off and read a book or play a video game or something. it can be far easier to smile politely and then quietly remove yourself from the conversation, rather than make snarky comments or throw a fit about how much you hate something that someone else loves. sean and i have been talking about this a lot lately, and we both agree that it's low-hanging fruit in terms of troll jobs, but it can be hurtful and alienating for the person who's being targeted.

in short, never feel ashamed - and never let anyone make you feel ashamed - for the things that you love. (unless they're actually genuinely distasteful and/or offensive things, like murder. don't love murdering, okay?)

anyway, i digress - with our mutual love for wrestling affirmed, sean and i haven't missed watching a ppv together since royal rumble, and we regularly watch at least one weekly show together. (our mutual favourite is seth rollins, who very likely is the best athlete on the planet right now.) so when we heard that a house show (a smaller scale wrestling show, not televised) was coming to toronto, we bought our tickets the minute they went on sale. it was going to be the first wwe show for both of us, and to say that we were excited to see our faves live in person was an understatement.

off we went to ricoh coliseum!



it me, seth rollins superfangirl. (if there's one thing in life i know how to be, it's a fan.)



i kind of went all out with the seth colours. yes, those are matching knee socks.



sean matched his seth shirt to his jays hat for a+ synchronism.



byron saxton came out to announce the show would be starting and i got very excited!!!!



first match out was the new day vs. prime time players for the tag team championship belts. (spoiler alert: belts never exchange hands in off-tv house shows. but it gets the kids excited, i guess.)



fireflies out in force for bray wyatt's entrance, by far the coolest one in the fed.



cesaro prepares for a top-rope spot. #cesarosection allllllll day.



sean took this photo of our hero, the current wwe world heavyweight champion (that's the big prize btw), crossfit jesus, traitor in leather pants, seth rollins. he's pretty much the top weasel-king bad guy right now and we love him so much. (sean and i had great fun walking around the arena in our seth shirts and sneering at all the little kids who booed us for supporting him. it was the best.)



this was where he got on the mic and berated us for not showing him respect. sean got video of this and i'm pretty sure you can also hear me losing my mind in the background. (this was the main event of the night, and we were a couple beers in, so we both went crazy when seth's music hit and he walked out. he's real!!)

also, it was good fortune that we had a decent crowd to be with. there were two dudes sitting behind us and two dudes sitting to the left of us who all knew their shit, so we all took up each others' chants and laughed at each others' jokes and cheered at the same things. it was a lot better than being seated in a section full of tiny children wearing cena merch (and there were tons of those). plus it was also just fun to be walking around the arena beforehand and during intermission and just being with our people. sure, it was probably 70% excited kids and their sheepish-looking parents, but it was just cool to people-watch and see which wrestlers had the most t-shirts and try to spot our fellow rollins devotees. i only saw one other girl wearing a seth tee, so i felt a little special (although some smartasses did ask my boyfriend if he'd bought my shirt for me).

speaking of shirts, not so good fortune was not being able to find any womens' fitted shirts for sale at the merch table, aside from ones for the bella twins (yes, they have a pair of hot twins wrestling; i would say some things never change, but they can actually work rather than just provide t&a). but sean managed to pick up the last medium-sized new day t-shirt, and i got him a john cena rally towel (as a gleeful joke), and he got me one of the connor's cure donation bracelets, and we made friends with some kids in line at the merch booth, and it was just a really cool, fun environment.

for those familiar and/or interested (and also for my own memory), here was the card and results for toronto, september 25 / 2015:
  • new day def. prime time players (tag team championship match)
  • braun strowman def. damien sandow
  • curtis axel & el torito def. los matadores
  • chris jericho def. luke harper
  • kevin owens def. ryback (intercontinental championship match)
  • dean ambrose w/ dudley boyz & ryback def. bray wyatt w/ luke harper & braun strowman (no holds barred match)
  • big show def. cesaro
  • becky lynch & charlotte def. nikki & brie bella
  • john cena def. seth rollins (u.s. championship match
so that's it! kind of sad that i didn't get to see one of my other favourite heels, bo dallas, and that seth lost (the bad guys always lose to the good guys at house shows, primarily to send the kids home happy), and the lack of ladies' size shirts, but those are all minor nitpicks that wouldn't stop me from going again. there'll be another toronto house show in december that sean and i will definitely be attending, and next year we'll likely start looking at making a trip for a televised show (for which i, former rock-concert sign queen, will absolutely make a sign). it's really just nice to be a part of a community again.

to finish this very long blog post, please enjoy this masterpiece of our time, the roman reigns song:



[ music | none ]

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