What We Talk About (When We Don’t Talk About Wrestling)
by Matthew Damascus
I’ve been told it goes a little something like this…
Someone: (cue slight smirk, perhaps a faintly arched eyebrow) So you, uh, like “wrestling”? You don’t look like someone who would like wrestling.
Me: (immediate defensive posture, eye you warily, as I would an accuser or a particularly pushy uncle.) Um, yeah?
Someone: (sort of aggressive, nearly but not quite mocking tone) Oh, so you like (twang) “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and the Rock. People’s Eyebrow? I see it flipping through the channels on a Monday night. The Rock is soooo funny. (softly) I always think of you when I see it.
Me: (too much defense mode) No, I fucking hate the fucking Rock. And Stone Cold and all of that Pavlovian crowd-response shit. People’s elbow, too retarded… Monday Night Wrestling makes me want to smoke crack… (which is probably why I keep tuning in week after week after week after week after week)
Someone: (very confused, cuz this IS Vince McMahon’s world and we’re all just happy to be here) Well WHAT do you LIKE about it then? From, the way you dress, I bet you like the Undertaker, right?
Me: Hmmm… That’s funny that you ask about the Undertaker. About two years ago, the last time I went to a WWF show with some friends, this total redneck guy approaches me and says, “Who did you come here to see? I bet I can guess.” And I say, “We like Triple H…” And he says, “Naw man, it’s alright, we (nods at his family) came to see the Undertaker too.” But no, I don’t care for the Undertaker, besides he chews dip on camera all the time now. Too gross.
Someone: (confused, can’t tell if I’m being a dick and making shit up or simply answering the question or both) Didn’t he used to be a zombie?
Me: Don’t worry about it, times change, characters get more… something. (Upon reflection, any time an opportuny arises to actually try and TALK – as in converse- with a non-wrestling fan about wrestling, I become an moody, autistic jerk. I’ll never tell.)
Someone: I guess… Wrestling seems so popular now, that one girl Chyna was in Playboy-
Me: That photo shoot was an abortion. Christ, I was embarrassed to be a wrestling fan. Playboy… It’s all just bastard Hef, skulking around like a skeleton in silk pajamas, ogling anything in high heels. Dirty old man.
Someone: I don’t get it, everyone tells me you like wrestling, I hear you talk about it sometimes, but all you’re saying is how you hate this and you hate that- What’s the deal?
Me: Look, I mean, there’s always a very large part of me that loves to be negative about EVERYTHING. But I gotta tell you, besides about five musicians at the moment, wrestling is the only thing I can derive a pure, geeky fan-worship-joy from anymore. It ain’t mere kitsch or cheap kicks for me, baby. When I see something like Muta spray his green mist in the air (even though all his hair is fallin’ out right in front of me), or Triple H do that weird “demon-unbound” pose, or Steve Corino bleeding heroically, or even Kurt Angle suplexing the Undertaker around like a big redneck rag doll, all objectivity flies right straight out the window for me. It’s Iggy Pop rolling around in broken glass, it’s Atsushi Onita hitting the exact SAME proto-punk-airs when he rolls around in barbed wire. This is the stuff of legends. (look of panic, said too damn much)
Long Goddamn Pause
Me: Um, I dunno, do you want me to bring in a picture of Onita sometime in full-on Brando glory, maybe a visual aid would help?
Pause Pause Pause
Someone: So do you wanna be a wrestler or something?
Me: No way, it would break my skinny ass down into atoms. Plus, its weird, I like to keep my distance from wrestlers, they’re pretty much the new rock and roll stars. There’s some strange sleazy behavior behind dark corners going down. I knew this girl once who wanted to be a manager in WCW, and she’d hang around those TV tapings waiting to give someone in charge her sort of audition tape. And I went with her one day (mostly cuz the tapings were free and I knew I’d get to see Psicosis and La Parka wrestle like six times, good deal), and she gave her tape to the correct parties, I think it was Jimmy Hart, and later this wrestler guy and announcer guy were talking to her about what she needed to do to break into the biz. And they were just secreting sleaze from every pore and they were totally all about how she’d have to do whatever she was told, and how she’d have to lose a few pounds and especially, ESPECIALLY she’d have to suck loads of cock to get anywhere. I don’t think they were dealing in metaphors either. Pretty disturbing.
Someone: That’s a horrible story. And you still like wrestling?
Me: Always, its just….. The best way I can explain it is to relay it back to musicians again, do you want a rock star to be someone who you can sit down and have tea with, or do you want a rock star to be a wall of manic nihilism? Though I’m not defending sleazoids, let’s face it, wrestlers don’t have the patent on sexist behavior.
Someone: Do you even know what you’re talking about?
Or Maybe It Was This—
Someone: Okaaaaaaaaaaaaaay, I’ll let you get back to watching your “Wres-tling”…
Me: Yeah, heaven forbid I be interested in something other than…
Someone: Heaven forbid you be interested in someONE.
Me: It’s not like that… (but I’m probably not sure)