If you look at the tagline for my article, you'll see the one statement that sums up everything I have ever felt about the professional wrestling industry. With everything happening on and off screen, I thought now would be a good time to write my public letter to the sports entertainment industry.
I was probably five the first time one of my peers told me wrestling was fake. He was a mean boy, the kind who liked to trip me in gym class and then get mad when I would sweep his legs out from under him during dodgeball. I took this statement as an insult at first. How could anyone think what I had spent my whole life studying was fake? Jeff Hardy was (and is) very much so a real person and The Undertaker was indeed a dark, spooky, tall man. I didn't see where he got off saying that? Then, I went home, told my mom I thought he was stupid and waited to watch the first 30 minutes of Raw before I had to go to bed.
I was 10 when I got made fun of for liking wrestling consistently. I wore my Randy Orton shirt to school at least once a week, to the point where my mom had to have a talk with my teacher about how "Yes, she does have other clothes, she just won't wear them." I didn't understand, still how people thought wrestling was fake until the same boy from when I was five said: "they're just pretending to be people they're not and they don't even actually hit each other."
At this point, I was like, HOLD UP. How stupid do you think I am, or better yet, how stupid can you be? You cannot, still to this day, tell me that falling six feet in the air onto another person's body does not hurt because I cry whenever my sister jumps off the couch onto me. Or, yes I know the ring is padded, so? Gravity is still 9.81 m/s2 my dude. Falling is gonna hurt pretty bad. THEN, homeboy wanted to bring up the characters. The Undertaker, Kane, Hurricane Shane Helms, Rey Mysterio, and his mask, CM Punk couldn't be his REAL name, Golddust's face was not really that color. These were things my tiny self-had never thought about. And so, I sighed and went to play foursquare. Like 10 year old's did in 2009.
This argument still gets brought up and still sits on my heart almost ten years later, but now I have an answer. That, that is what makes wrestling so fun. Wrestling has always been my escape, something that helped me forget everything that was going on around me. For a few hours a week, I get to zone out and get absorbed into that world.
I have always been told I am too much. Everyone breaks up, every fall out with a friend, every fight I got in with my sister. "You're being too much." So, last summer at a Ring of Honor show, it hit me. That is why I love wrestling. What little Gage didn't know when we were 10 is he would help me pinpoint my love for professional wrestling. Shoutout, homie.
Everyone and everything has always made me feel like too much. Then, I watched Cody and The Young Bucks win the six-man tag belts, in the most classic Elite Style. Outlandish, over the top, something critics call too much. Earlier in the night, I had met Cody. When I did, he filled the room with his laugh and personality. I saw him, I was in the same room as the three people revolutionizing the world and for the first time in my life, I didn't feel like too much. I felt at home.
Wrestling is too much. Wrestling is dramatic. Wrestling is over the top. Wrestling is outlandish. Wrestling is not for everyone. And neither am I. There are stories that don't entirely make sense, characters you wouldn't see outside of the squared circle and things you just can't even make up. So, when I'm drowning in homework or a sense of self-loathing, if I just need a break for a minute or if I am about to legit have a meltdown, wrestling is there for me.
That's my safe place. Wrestling is the one place I don't have to worry about being too much. Wrestling is my escape, my home. Wrestling is something I never have to worry about letting me down because even if my favorites lose, there is always next week. Wrestling has taught me life lessons I don't think I could have gotten elsewhere and for that, I am forever grateful.