"To all my little Hulkamaniacs, say your prayers, take your vitamins
and you will never go wrong."
Words of motivation circled throughout all the young Hulkamaniacs. Their hero, the one and only Hulk Hogan, providing them with advice and standards that were warm and well respected. In this time of wrestling the limits were the sky, imaginations were ignited and pro wrestling was indeed in its golden era.
People of all ages, excited, eager and waiting for their hero to overcome the odds and defeat the villian. The music hits, the crowd goes wild. Ritualistically ripping his shirt off his body, the crowd roaring, the routine continues with flexing of the muscles and the listening to the audience.
An All American Idol, being booked against seemingly unstoppable monsters. Steady offense from Hogan, but sooner or later the heel storms out. The Hulkamaniacs worry, it seems he's nearing defeat. Yet out of no where, like a rushed second wind in a calm breeze, the hero fights back!
He needs us and we need him. He feeds off our reactions, our cheers, the shouts coming out of our throat. We contribute. He becomes impervious, starts "Hulking up," and he points his finger... three punches, an Irish whip! And yet he continues on! A big boot follows and he finishes off with the Atomic Leg Drop!! Pin! Hogan does it, he defies the odds!
The crowd is wild, eccentric, we won, we did it. The era was golden, a legend was born. The spirit still lives on in the hearts of many Hulkamaniacs. The impact was huge and the memories endless. Certain Legends hung up the boots, to be remembered for what they did solely in that era, while others pushed on, either out of the drive for money, fame or the inability to stay off the spotlight.
However, one question now remains: what has been left for today's youth? Is the art of past generations forgotten? Is the way of storytelling of that previous era, that followed throughout feuds still there?
From the WWWF to the WWE, there is a reason this company has lasted so long. Throughout the decades of popularity, controversy and disaster, the Wrestling product we all love stood tall in the end. Whether scandals broke out in news tabloids or rival promotions rose up, the company battled through it—and stands as the proud WWE we see today.
However, there seems to be a certain issue many fans have with the WWE today—specifically the older fans, teenagers, or the complex IWC itself. Their voices are heard every other broadcast, whether it’s through the fans, the audience or the thousands who post on Bleacher Report, Dirt Sheets, or WWE’s Facebook Wall. It’s clear to everyone that these fans are unhappy.
Why are they unhappy? Because they desperately miss the product that the industry of sports entertainment used to be. The non-PG environment, where hostile aggression and violence were accepted. Where there was no limit to language and the story lines were amazing. Where they once felt connected with the wrestlers in the ring.
Oh no, did he just say “wrestlers”? The term World WRESTLING Entertainment itself bleeped out in Bret Hart’s speech on Tough Enough? The term that is on a list given to broadcasters and announcers to NOT say? Indeed, I did. Shhh…don’t tell Vinny.
Let’s face it people, Sports Entertainment—Pro-Wrestling—is a business just like any other, and a major source of entertainment. As long as money is coming in, all is good. At the moment WWE has no major competition. Nothing is stopping them from continuing their cycle of storylines and lazy collaborations or feuds. Nothing is stopping them from delivering their source of “entertainment”.
Now, I’m a positive guy. Do NOT get me wrong, I don’t in any way think WWE is pure s*** right now and I'm not an Attitude Era fanatic who cannot grasp that the era is gone and cannot come back.
However, I do think the product could be better and the WWE itself has been slacking as of late.
My only hope is for future stars like Dolph Ziggler, Cody Rhodes, John Morrison and Kofi Kingston is to step up to the playing field of WWE’s Golden Boys, Orton and Cena. Mid-carders who are ready to be on top need to have the same attitude that opportunists like Edge, CM Punk and Rey Mysterio had many years ago.
Although there is a much deeper meaning in all of this. I asked the question above “what is left for today’s youth?”
John Cena, here comes your cue. Many complain about “children” being the problem with the product. Cena is being targeted as the draw of most of this heat, but then again we criticize a character that is similar to Hogan, Austin and The Rock—3 Superstars considered the biggest legends in WWE. We can argue how each superstar had different characteristics until the end of time, but let me elaborate on a different take.
1977 - Hulk Hogan debuts as The Super Destroyer
1989 - Stone Cold Steve Austin debuts in WWF as The Ring Master
1996 - The Rock debuts as Rocky Maivia
These superstars debuted and left an impact everywhere they went afterwards. They gave each and every fan memories that will last forever. Because of the memories provided by these superstars, performers, wrestlers or whatever you prefer to call them, the fans of yesterday aspired to achieve dreams and accomplish goals. When you’re watching you’re HERO onscreen go against the odds, it makes you believe you have the confidence to do anything. This was the case with me, when I idolized The Rock.
"THE PEOPLE'S ELBOW!!"
“THE ROCK BOTTOM!!”
I can’t tell you how many times I erupted from my grandma’s living room couch because of Rock's moves, and the reactions of the MILLIONS of fans in the crowd was the best part. Beyond The Mat director Barry W. Blaustein said it best:
“It’s like a ripple effect that goes through the crowd.”
It’s like a ripple effect that goes across the world, and we all feel the energy. Two days ago I was over at a friend's house—his family are pure wrestling fanatics. Cheering faces, booing heels...I was almost attacked when I cheered on Christian while the past Smackdown aired.
Ok, I wasn't actually attacked, but these people were really into the match, naming all the moves and showing relief, anger, irritation and a mixture of emotions throughout the action. Never before did I see a family into wrestling like that. I'm used to a quiet environment when I watch wrestling, because usually it's just me.
It clicked then what really happens when John Cena and Randy Orton do a move. Millions across the world get excited and jump from their seats. It all revolves around the fact that WWE evokes all kinds of emotions in us, and this truly makes the best experiences for a fan.
The youth of today are given memories every broadcast WWE puts on. We appreciate ours and we still have many more to go. Whatever state World Wrestling Entertainment is in, we can bet we will watch the upcoming surprises, triumphs and miracles.
The art of Pro-Wrestling is still there, and it’s because of us—the fans—and our connection with the men and women who perform in the ring day in and day out. That’s what it’s all about.
Thank You for letting me share this article with you guys. Comments of all kind—praise, criticism, whatever—are appreciated. If you liked this article or any of my articles, become a fan and follow me on twitter @http://twitter.com/#!/JamalP406. I’m back guys, and feeling better than ever…. :)