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How Pro Wrestling Captured
If you know me, you know I have an affinity for pro wrestling, namely the WWE. I started watching pro wrestling at a young age — right around 7. Back then, the WWE was the WWF, and its biggest stars, especially Hulk Hogan, had captured my imagination. I learned about pro wrestling from some of the other neighborhood kids. From that very first televised event, I was hooked. Everything about it was so fascinating: the theatrics and larger-than-life characters. Right off the bat, my dad made sure I knew they were, in fact, characters. He let me know it wasn’t real and that it was all prewritten and choreographed. He wanted to make sure I had no preconceived notions about what I was watching. Despite this, I still loved watching it. It still captured my imagination. As I watched, I thought, how could this possibly be fake? The wrestlers were so good. Everything seemed to fall into place so perfectly (chairs included). It didn’t bother me a bit that it wasn’t real. For me, the fun of it was all I cared about. I loved following characters and their various storylines. I knew the choreography was what helped make it look so real, but that was secondary in my mind. The wrestlers weren’t just good at wrestling, they were good at selling their stories. I mentioned in a previous newsletter that I had convinced my babysitter to take me to my first live WWF event. Growing up where I did, an event like this was a big deal. The second I heard that the WWF would be in Davenport, Iowa, not far from where I lived, I knew I needed to go. They performed at Palmer Auditorium, which was part of the Palmer College of Chiropractic. This event was not televised; it was like they were putting on a show just for us. And they put on a show . And Kept Me Hooked
I remember sneaking into the back, where the wrestlers were going in and out of the auditorium. I got to see Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair get inside a
limousine. These two people were supposed to be bitter enemies in the ring, but there they were, getting into a car together as friends. That was mind-blowing for a young kid to see, but it was so much fun. In law school, I bonded with one of my best friends, JeffAdelman, over pro wrestling. Even to this day, we still go to pro wrestling events together, with his boys. For a lot of people, pro wrestling can be polarizing, but it can also bridge generations. Even if you’ve never watched pro wrestling or never had much interest in it, going to a live WWE event can be a lot of fun. I’ve seen people who’ve never really been into it just have a ball. There’s a certain energy at these events, and the wrestlers are experts at playing to the crowd. They know what they’re doing. There’s a reason so many wrestlers go on to have careers in the entertainment industry — people like Hulk Hogan, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and John Cena. They learn a lot about acting through their work in pro wrestling. While I’m still a fan of the WWE, I don’t follow it nearly as closely as I once did. I was able to go to a WrestleMania event that came to Miami a few years ago, and that was a blast! Admittingly, right now, in my office, I have three autographs from pro wrestlers on my wall (thanks in part to JeffAdelman). Looking at those autographs takes me back — it reminds me of the fun times I’ve had over the years. Pro wrestling might not be for everyone, but it’s meant a great deal to me over the years.
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