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.