Your Trip to Space Mountain
Posted by Admin on January 23, 2008
Your Trip On Space Mountain
By Brian “Flair” Kelley
Another Monday night is upon us and pro wrestling’s biggest show will be on, WWE’s Monday Night Raw. Will I be home to watch it? Well, there is a chance that I will come in late and watch it tomorrow. Maybe it could be a week later.
How, you may ask? Well, because of one of the greatest inventions since the TV, TIVO. TIVO allows you to set your TV to record a show prior to it coming on. With the push of a button you can have a season pass to all of your favorite shows such as Survivor and American Gladiators… and to boot you can even skip the commercials! Earlier today I asked myself how this technology shaped the way I have been able to watch wrestling.
It seems like only yesterday that I had a mere 3 channels living in the country. I would wait all week to watch pro wrestling on Saturday nights with All-Star Wrestling after Saturday Night Live. To see such stars as Harley Race, Bulldog Bob Brown, and Rufus R. Jones in action in towns that seemed like they were millions of miles away (though it was less than an hour’s drive at times) was a great treat. I came from a family that did not like wrestling, so there was no chance of going to see it live. If I was lucky, sometimes there would be a special WWF Saturday Night show with Hulk Hogan before my favorite All-Star Wrestling. I would be treated with back to back shows of my first love, pro wrestling. For some reason there were many times when All-Star Wrestling was a rerun, though. It was a lot better than the times when it wasn’t on at all and the western program “Branded” starring Chuck Connors took it’s place (to my chagrin).
I loved wrestling so much that I would wake up early on Sundays and skip church so that I could see if the weather was nice enough for a channel that broadcasted pro wrestling out of Texas. World Class Championship Wrestling would broadcast without a picture, but I could hear the play-by-play of wrestlers like One Man Gang and the Fabulous Freebirds. It brought excitement to my ears.
Then there was that day (I don’t remember the exact day) that All-Star Wrestling featured a wrestler that was brought in to defend his belt against the Central States’ best. I watched a wrestling show on TBS that Saturday evening at my Uncle’s that introduced me to the wrestler I would look up to, and embodied my pro wrestling love, “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair.
The man was everything I wanted to be. He had all the ladies and he could really talk. His promos sold me, mainly because he told me he was the best and also had the belt to prove it. Yes, he made me believe… and boy, did he work me over! Anytime I could get in town on Saturday nights (which wasn’t very often) I turned on the TV to see what Flair had done. With the money I had earned by mowing yards and doing other odd jobs, I never missed an issue of Pro Wrestling Illustrated (PWI) at the newsstand. I swear, I would read them over and over again… always checking out the rankings in each organization and stories of dream matches like Flair versus Hogan.
I was fortunate enough to live in the coming age of the VCR, and if I got to rent an event such as Wrestlemania or Starcade then the show was months (if not years) old. That didn’t deter me from watching every match or promo on that tape over and over again, loving every minute of it.
One Christmas right before I turned 16, Santa brought me a VHS titled “Road Warriors: Tag Team Champs”. It was only 30 minutes long, but I got to relive the history of the tag team that introduced me to “Iron Man” and prompted a search through my father’s albums at the age of ten to find the album “Paranoid” by Black Sabbath. That jump started my love for Heavy Metal. If there ever was a perfect VHS then this was it, as you had the Road Warriors at their best. They nearly caused a riot as they destroyed a very young and future great Curt Hennig and his father Larry “The Ax” Hennig. All this and more can now be found easily on DVD in the WWE’S “Road Warriors: The Life and Death of the Most Dominant Tag Team in Wrestling History”.
Fast forward to the present, and pro wrestling has changed considerably. It seems like there is a show on every day and a PPV every Sunday. I feel that there is possibly too much wrestling, but you can contribute some of my lack of interest to the fact that some of the magic has been taken out of the sport since Vince McMahon broke down and said that pro wrestling is in fact sports entertainment. I can’t really say that, though, because it has allowed me to know the wrestlers better as they are more accessible for autographs and pictures (which of course I enjoy).
The Internet Age has allowed me to keep up with all that is happening in the world of wrestling, keep in contact with fellow fans and build friendships with them along the way. I now know of shows that are headed my way farther in advance, and know more about the sport than ever. Many have complained about the impact of the Internet, but I must say it beats paying nearly $10.00 an issue for my beloved magazine PWI only to be given watered down information.
That brings us full circle to the beginning of my article and TIVO, the device that allows me to watch wrestling when I want. Once, I would hurry to make it on time to watch wrestling with my friends because I didn’t want to hear about it second hand. Now, my son always says “Dad, your not even watching it, your listening to the show while checking out the web”. He definitely has a point. If I hear something that appeals to me then I just push the rewind button, and truthfully I don’t see a whole match anymore due to that.
What once made shows like Saturday Night Live, David Letterman and any pro wrestling show special and “must see” has lost that pizazz with technology such as TIVO.
Times have changed, as they should, but at one time I took a break from wrestling for almost 10 years because of these changes. WCW closed the doors and my wrestling love was lost. Thankfully, my love for pro wrestling was reborn when I took a trip to Lawrence, Kansas to see an independent show put on by Central States Wrestling. It rekindled my love for the sport, and unlike TIVO or DVD, at a live independent show you need to keep all eyes focused. You never know what you may miss, because you can’t push a button to see it again. For that 3 hours you have the sport the way it should be.
I hope you enjoyed your first “Your Trip On Space Mountain” and I want to see you at a show soon.