Chair Shots: Welcome to the Jungle
Oct 8, 2012 - 9:22:47 PM
Welcome everybody to the column that just got a promotion, but no pay increase- Chair Shots! For those of you who have read my work in the Columns Forum, you already know a lot about me. For those of you who haven’t checked out my stuff there- well why the hell not? Honestly, if you want to read a lot of varying opinions, styles, and content go check out the CF. Since this is my first official column outside of the CF, let me tell you a little bit about myself.
First off, I’m older than most of the guys here. Let’s just get that out of the way now. I’m not like AARP old, but I’ve been around since Bob Backlund was WWE Champion. And because of that I have a rather old school mentality that stays with me to this day. I grew up going to house shows with my Dad when I was about ten years old and have been watching wrestling ever since. Does that mean I’m stuck in the days of squash matches and the term Pay Per View being a pipe dream? Not in the least; like professional wrestling itself, I’ve adapted to the changing times of the world around us.
Back when I started watching wrestling, people still actually considered it a sport, as opposed to sports entertainment. I’d see older men and ladies at house shows screaming at the top of their lungs like their lives depended on it for their favorite wrestler. You didn’t for one minute question the legitimacy of what was happening in the ring. If you did, you’d get a cane or a walker wrapped around your neck. Trust me, I’ve seen it happen- those old ladies are only meaner if you screw them out of a Bingo jackpot.
But along with everything else, the world changed. The WWF, and all of the other territories at that time, had to pay the state athletic commission at every event to have someone officiate their proceedings. They were even introduced at the beginning of every house show I went to back then. It was generally some old guy in a short sleeve button down shirt, smoking a cigar and laughing at having to oversee “professional wrestling”. When Vince McMahon took over the reins from his dad, the landscape of wrestling changed dramatically. Vince broke kayfabe. He went to court and argued that wrestling wasn’t a sport, but instead it was “sports entertainment”. In the blink of an eye, Vince McMahon created a new type of sporting event.
No matter what era of wrestling you grew up in, you’ve seen changes occur. From the dissolution of the territories, to the first PPV event, to the Monday Night Wars and the Attitude Era, to today’s PG-WWE, the world of professional wrestling changes more than a child’s favorite toy. And to me that’s the beauty of the business, and it’s what keeps bringing me back 35 years later- you just never know what’s going to happen next.
I’m sure for a lot of you, there are people you’ve met, known, been friends with who have mocked or laughed at your love of professional wrestling. These are probably the same people who sit in front of their TV’s and watch Jersey Shore and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. I’ve had to defend myself many times in the history of my fandom, even today. I tell people I write for a wrestling website and I’m met with chuckles or confusion. Why? What’s wrong with doing something you love that makes you happy? As wrestling fans, we have a bond that transcends ridicule and popular opinion. And like professional wrestling itself, we change with the times. I’m pretty sure that if there were ever a nuclear event, the only things that will be left are cockroaches and wrestling fans.
Recently some of my fellow columnists have taken the 30-Day Challenge, giving the readers a little insight into what makes them tick in the world of professional wrestling. Since I’m new up here, I’m going to give you an abbreviated version, just hitting three main categories. So without further ado, let’s talk about….
My Favorite Wrestler of All Time- Jake “the Snake” Roberts
From the first time I saw Jake hit my TV screen, I was mesmerized by his character. He was completely different from anything else that was on TV at the time. He wasn’t incredibly muscular. He wasn’t a pretty boy like some of the other stars either. What completely sucked me in was that he was a damn smart wrestler. He always knew that his size was going to work against him, and that he couldn’t match strength with the likes of Hogan, or the Ultimate Warrior. So he out-thought his opponents, time and time again. Jake Roberts was the first true “Cerebral Assassin” and he didn’t hesitate at cutting you down to size.
Younger wrestlers today should look back at Jake’s promos and take notes as to how it’s done. Every single word that came out of his mouth had a purpose. He never yelled, he never relied on catch phrases or cheap pops to get noticed. He just cut simple, succinct promos that could chill you to the bone. Now a lot of younger fans only know the Jake Roberts of today- the out of shape, battle-worn, often times addicted shell of a man he’s become, but I would stack him up against anyone in terms of true effectiveness in the ring.
My Favorite Tag-Team of All Time- The Steiner Brothers
I love tag-team wrestling. It can at times be more entertaining to watch than a singles match, as there is that extra dynamic of having someone that can help you just outside the ring. Hopefully, with the current state of the division in the WWE we will see a resurgence in what has become a lost art. I grew up watching the likes of The Wild Samoans, Mr. Fuji and Mr. Saito, The Midnight Express, The Fabulous Freebirds, and so many great teams, but the one that entertained me the most was the duo of Rick and Scott Steiner.
Rick Steiner had already been wrestling for a while before his brother Scott joined him. When they first started, they wore their Michigan singlets, and in an instant took the tag-team division by storm. In the beginning, Scott Steiner was a completely different wrestler than he is today. Believe it or not, he was incredibly agile and could fly around the ring with the best of them, and that’s the balance that the Steiner Brothers had as a team. Rick was the ground and pound muscle of the group, while Scott did more of the acrobatic, aerial moves. I know that seems hard to believe when you look at Scott today, but when he busted out the Frankensteiner it was a thing of beauty.
My very first wrestling t-shirt was a Steiner Brothers shirt. I still own it, but alas it doesn’t fit anymore. If you’re a fan of tag-team wrestling, I hope you take a look back at the Steiner’s in their prime.
My Favorite PPV of All Time: The Great American Bash
I’m going to cheat a little on this one, because I have two editions of this one, but they hold importance to me for different reasons. The 1988 edition of the Great American Bash was the first PPV I was in attendance for, and the first real NWA event to air on a PPV basis. It was a birthday present from my Dad, and it featured the first appearance of the Tower of Doom structure. I’ve talked about this event in the CF before, and it really holds a special place for me. Going back to what I talked about earlier, the Main Event for the NWA title was stopped by the MD State Athletic Commission because Lex Luger was bleeding too much to continue. Ric Flair retained his title while dangling from Lex Luger’s shoulders in the torture rack. There were only 5 matches on the card, but each one was a show-stopper.
The 1990 edition of the GAB shares this title, because not only was I sitting 4th row ringside, but it was the night that Sting won his very 1st World Championship. A lot happened during that event. Unlike two years earlier, this show had 12 matches on the card. Among them was the first appearance of Vader in WCW, a pre-Undertaker Mark Callous wrestling Lex Luger, and the unsuccessful first appearance of El Gigante (later known as Giant Gonzalez in the WWE). There was something for everybody at this event, and the post match celebration for Sting was something to be remembered.
So there you have it folks. I hope you learned a little bit about me, and hopefully you’ll continue to come back and see what Chair Shots has to offer. I will say though, you never really know what you’re going to get when you check out a column from me. I might write something straightforward like this. I might do an entire column like a Dr. Seuss story. Hell, I might even write about Ryback starting the Zombie Apocalypse (wait, I already did that). Hopefully you’ll enjoy the ride, whichever way it turns.
Until next time,
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