Sunday, September 4, 2011

The best investment there is

John Bradshaw Layfield played a jerk on tv.

Hell, you could even make a case for him being a jerk in real life.  One thing you have to admit, though: JBL certainly has done a lot with his life.  In addition to being a championship wrestler, he's a TV commentator, a stock analyst, an energy drink mogul, and a financial advisor.

This last part is where I learned the most from Bradshaw, because I bought his book back in 2005.


That's right: a wrestler wrote a finance book!  This title taught me many useful items, including:

  • Only buy used cars
  • Make sure you have an emergency stash of money
  • Try to max out your 401k whenever you can (especially if your employer matches)
  • Invest more in stocks when you're younger, but invest in bonds later on in life
  • Diversify your stocks amongst different industries and nationalities so you're affected less by market shifts
All of these were great lessons to learn.  The best one I learned from this book, though, was that you shouldn't be tied up in one calling if you want to make a great life for yourself.  You should pursue many interests and develop as many skills as you can, because that way you'll be prepared for life transitions when you hit a wall.  Bradshaw himself did this when he retired from wrestling due to back troubles.  Because of his business and investment background, he wasn't in dire straits when his body gave out.  This is a lesson that at least one wrestler should have learned a long time ago.

This is why I'm never shy about spending money on my own education: my skill set and knowledge-base are the best things I can possibly invest in.  

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

My Hands Are Tied

Pop Quiz: Tell me the difference between these three moves.

If you said "A Kiss from a Rose on the Gray," congratulations!  You're international singing sensation Seal!  But you really need to stop relying on that song to conquer life's challenges.

The correct answer is "the way the hands intersect."  Johnny Ace loosely grabs the back of the neck, Randy Orton drags down the head with one arm,  and Diamond Dallas Page uses a "cravate."

To quote this Croatian History site, "the term cravate, for headlock wrestling move, is used in French, English, Italian, Turkish, Croatian, Polish, and probably in many other languages."  It's a way to intersect hands so that they're harder to break.

Now some of you may doubt the obvious practical applications of a good necklock.  If you're one of those folks, know this: If I hadn't been exposed to Mike Tenay ranting about the effectiveness of DDP's cravate during Monday Night Nitro, I never would have taken the time to learn that the word also refers to a type of necktie.

Not the greatest lesson to learn, but a bit of valuable refinement I surely needed.  Now if only I could figure out how to tie one...

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Wit and Silence

Shakespeare once said, "Brevity is the soul of wit."  He probably should have just said "Be brief," but his point still stands: sometimes saying very little is more effective than saying more.

One of the better examples in history is when, at a dinner party, Federalist Andrew Jackson toasted that "Our Federal Union, It must be preserved," while segregationist John C. Calhoun retorted with a 35-word response that no one remembers.

Pro wrestling has an even better example than that:

Eddie Guerrero taught me that you don't even have to use words to get your point across.  Sometimes the soul of silence.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Kevin Nash, Gay Ambassador

I don't know a lot about the American homosexual community, but I feel like I've learned most of what I do know from pro wrestler Kevin Nash.

Here are some examples of what I'm talking about:

 Now there're a lot of gay jokes in those "comedy" skits - more than you've ever heard in under one minute,  probably - but there was one line in this one that went over my head when I first came upon it.  Kevin Nash turns to Jay Lethal and says, "Have you ever actually administered a Lethal Injection?" The camera then pans to Jay and he responds, "Have you ever been to Fire Island?"

When I first heard that, I tilted my head and thought, "What the hell is Fire Island?"  Then I panicked at the thought that Jay Lethal and Kevin Nash might be more informed about something than me.

Turns out it's an island in New York that doubles as a gay tourism destination. 

I breathed a sigh of relief when I discovered it was only gay joke number umpteen, rather than another massive gap in my geographical knowledge.  I also chalked "Fire Island" down as yet another bit of information I gleaned from the world of pro wrestling. 

So let that be a lesson to you: If you want to learn about homosexual culture, Kevin Nash is the best source this side of William Burroughs.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A Luchadore Taught Me Patience

I lack a lot of virtues, I'm sure, but perhaps one of my most significant is that I am not a patient man.

I like to hand-dry dishes, rather than use the dish washer, just because it gets them "into their place" faster.  I take the stairs instead of the elevator whenever I'm in a building with four or fewer floors.  I will sometimes buy a book from Barnes & Noble instead of ordering it online, even though I know I'll save $10.  In other words, I'm impatient to the point of being a weirdo.

At its heart, this has nothing to do with me tapping my foot while cooking Super Fast Eggs.  After all, as long as I don't bother people, who cares?  Here's where I'm profoundly impacted, though:  I'm impatient with life.  I want "the good parts" to get here now.  If I didn't manage my expectations well, it would probably make me unhappy, but pro wrestling taught me that your dues will come as long as you're patient and consistent.

I've mentioned before that Rey Mysterio is my favorite wrestler. 

How could you not like this guy?

His matches are exciting, he always knows how to connect with the crowd, and his ring gear is always imaginative.  I think he could carry a promotion if he was ever given the chance but, historically, the WWE's been scared to use Rey for anything but building new stars and selling exorbitantly priced masks to kids.

Rey did win the world title in 2006.  However, that was only because Eddie Guerrero died.  You could tell the WWE never meant it as anything but a tribute win, because they kept on making Rey lose to scrubs.  They had him lose to Mark Henry, Great Khali, Rob Van Dam...Hell, he couldn't even get a win over Sabu, and the publically traded corporation that is the WWE had no intention of keeping that lunatic around.

This is no public relations specialist.

Here was the most insulting segment that came out of that time period, though:

That's right: the WWE made World Champion Rey Mysterio put on a leprechuan hat and dance around.  Get it?  'Cause he's short? 

It baffles me to this day why the former federation felt the need to belittle its supposed top dog.  I imagine it couldn't have made Rey feel good.  If it affected him, though, he didn't let it show in his work.

Rey lost the title soon after, but he still hung around.  He had several place-holder fueds with Chavo Guerrero, he won several needless intercontinental championships, he retired JBL, he elevated John Morrison and Evan Bourne...All without losing his connection with the crowd.  He was holding down the middle of the show, yeah, but he was making it meaningful as best he could.

Over time, it became undeniable that Rey was the most popular good guy they had on Smackdown.  Four years and three months later, he won the world title again, and this time everyone treated him like he deserved it.

Whenever I think of how long my road to success is, I just tell myself, "Do what Rey would do.  Keep your mask down and your work ethic up."

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Gut Check

Here is the fattest man to ever help me pass a spelling test:

That's Nelson Frazier, Jr., a.k.a. Big Daddy V, a.k.a. Big Daddy VooDoo, a.k.a King Mabel.  He's nearly 500 pounds of terrifying blubber.  He also got me a 100 on a spelling test in 8th grade, because when he was in the WWF in 1998, he went by the name Viscera.



[vis-er-uh] –plural noun, singular vis·cus
1.  Anatomy, Zoology . the organs in the cavities of the body, especially those in the abdominal cavity.
2. (not used scientifically) the intestines; bowels.

Before I watched wrestling, I never encountered this word.  I can also tell you that, without wrestling, I would not have gotten that question right on my test.  Instead, I was the only person in the class to get a 100.

Thanks to Viscera, I was victorious.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Footnotes of War

The history of man is the history of conflict, which is one of the reasons why pro wrestling is so good at teaching history.

So far all I've done is write about "life lessons" I've recieved from pro wrestling, but here's an honest-to-goodness history lesson I've gained from pro wrestling: Cortez conquered the Aztecs, and the resulting class divisions are felt in Mexico to this day.

I learned this because of my favorite wrestler, Rey Mysterio.

In case you didn't notice, Rey Mysterio is Mexican.  More than that, though, he's Aztec Mexican.


This was only incidental until the day Alberto Del Rio came into the picture...Once he was on the scene, being Aztec became much more than just wearing a goofy headdress.  It became about La Raza!

I don't know if you took the time to watch that whole clip, but the Spanish/Aztec divide makes itself known when Alberto Del Rio says, "And, of course, you know...My bloodline comes from kings!  And your bloodline...comes from the streets!"  It's that line that makes the fued jump from class warfare to a full-out race war!

Okay, so I'll admit: Maybe I'm looking too much into that promo.  I do not know for a fact that Alberto Del Rio is of European descent, and I'm absolutely willing to believe that WWE management had no intention of including any Spanish/Aztec undertones. 

This is undeniable, though: the "bloodline" comment seems really out of place until you take it in some other context.  When I saw that promo last year, it sounded strange, so I went immediately to my encyclopedia and - lo! - I found out the Spanish ruled over the Aztecs for hundreds of years.

Are there any greater life lessons to learn from this?  Probably not.  The main thing I take from it is, everyone has their own perspective, and it's the little things that give us clues to these perspectives.  If only we all learned that lesson, maybe human history wouldn't be so fraught with conflict.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Shooting Your Mouth Off

Okay.  My last entry was pretty mean.  I insulted people, and this is not a step in the Noble Eight-Fold Path.  But you know what?  That's how I felt at the time.

If you were watching WWE RAW on Monday, you probably saw another man use a public form to express his opinions:

That's CM Punk, and he's currently the most entertaining man in wrestling.  Why?  Because he takes the way he feels and makes compelling television.

This sneering straight-edge misanthrope is not the first pro-wrestling personality to use TV as a forum for airing grievances.  Check out this diabtribe from Pauley Heyman to Vince McMahon:

And here's one from famous redneck Stonecold Steve Austin:

This idea of taking your real-life problems and spitting them into the wind chamber of broadcast television is actually a regular thing in pro-wrestling.  It's called a "Shoot."  It plays off wrestling's blurry distinction between reality and fiction.  What's more, it's usually great entertainment.

That's why I wrote what I did on Monday: wrestling taught me that the best art is inspired by real emotion.  And, between you and me, I felt a lot better about everything afterward.  If anyone felt bad about what I said, I don't really care. So shoot me.  

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Working Man's Blues, American Dream's Polka

My job is squashing the soul out of me.

I'm surrounded by bitter, aging malcontents all day.  I try to please them by jumping through hoop after hoop, but I'm slowly learning that no amount of appeasement is going to make these bellyaching crab-brains stop spraying bile out of their dumb faces.

I imagine this guy knows a little bit about what I'm going through:

That there is Dusty Rhodes, the closet thing that wrestling's ever had to My White Moma.  He's the hit-maker!  He's the heart breaker!  He'll make your back crack and your liver quiver!  He's fat, he's got a lisp, he's got a forehead like a plate of roast beef...

 But, most of all, Dusty Rhodes knows what it's like to work in a draining job:

See, Dusty Rhodes was a legend before he went to the WWF.  He'd already won the NWA World Championship three times, he'd sold out numerous stadiums, and he was known the world over.  Once he signed a contract with the WWF, though, management put him in a polka dot leotard.

The crowd still loved him, though, because he was Dusty Rhodes.

Then they gave him some random schlub as a valet. 

Dusty only made the crowd love BOTH of them.

Management tried and tried to choke the life out of Dusty, but they never could.  The reason: he enjoyed everything they gave him regardless of the stupidity.  After all, he was still the same son of plumber he always was, and nothing a boss or co-worker did could change that.

This is the lesson I'm now trying to apply to my life.  As much as the people around me try to drag me down with their negativity, I try to remember that I have more control over the way I feel than they do.  They may want to saddle me with the same hopelessness and anger they feel when they come to work, but I know I can rise above it.  I know I can still do a good job if I simply make it my business to have fun.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

How I learned to stop worrying and love the Powerbomb

The powerbomb, a throw that involes hurling a lifted opponent from your shoulders to the mat, is one of the most dangerous in all of pro-wrestling.

If you don't believe me, check out what the damn thing did to the Big Show back in 1998:

Then there's what Kawada did to Misawa...

And then there's the one some jackass gave me onto the amatuer wrestling mats in my high school locker room.


It's a scary risk to take for entertaining a crowd of yokels, especially if most of those folks are kids, snarky internet fiends, or some other "low-earning" segment of society.  But pro-wrestlers do it all the time, and the reason is because, when a powerbomb is done well, it's an impressive display of impact and coordination:

So what I've learned from the prevalence of powerbombs in pro-wrestling is that risks shouldn't prevent me from taking the chance to create something worthwhile.  That's what I'm doing with this blog. 

To explain, I've been complacent for a long time, and this has resulted in a lack of excitement in my day-to-day life.  All of my weeks are starting to blur together.  I've decided the reason is because I've been too fearful of the "risks" of change. 

Well, no more.  I want to remember, I want to grow, I want to learn.  I'm going to try to push myself to do more, because I want more excitement in life.  And from now on, as part of this resolution to take risks, I'm writing everything pro wrestling (and life) teaches me into this blog.  Hopefully this initiative won't result in me landing on my head.