|Our 3rd Anniversary||
NOT ANOTHER NEWS UPDATE
The other day I was chatting with friends and trusted associates about the big slash anniversary when I realized that I really had nothing interesting to contribute for it. CRZ had suggested something that sounded good, but it involved someone else who ended up being unavailable. Aside from that I didn't know what to do. I write something every week, so there's no burning issue that I've been wanting to talk about. And I wanted to contribute something a little worthwhile, not just a few gay paragraphs.
Then former /Tuesday superstar Justin Shapiro pulled out a silly quote from one of my early updates, and when I asked when it was from he said sometime in January. And I thought "January? Have I really been doing updates for 7 months?", because it certainly hasn't felt like it's been that long. As I thought about it I was thinking maybe I started in March, because I remembered talking about WrestleMania, but my first update... which as you may recall was for the now defunct /Weekend column... was actually in December, just before Vengeance.
I don't know what any of that means, except that I have a shitty memory, but when I first started I remember CRZ pointing out a thread at Wienerville to me that basically wondered who the hell I was and why I was writing updates for slash. Those were valid points since I'd never written for any other sites before, and I thought that maybe I should try to introduce myself a little better since it hit me that most of the reading audience had no idea who I was. Then I realized that would probably suck and I just stuck to the news.
BUT I already did the news update for this week, so I'm gonna tell you a story. I hope you like it.
Once upon a time, I was a little kid. I don't remember exactly when I started watching wrestling... the first things on TV I can recall watching would have been around late 1989, but I remember TV Guide doing a column about Hogan/Savage from WrestleMania 5 that I read anxiously because I hadn't known who won the match. So I must have been watching before that show.
I also recall that around 2nd or 3rd grade, this guy... who by the time we were in 6th grade denied ever having watched wrestling... once asked me at lunch if I knew what the NWA was. I didn't. Then he asked if I knew anything about War Games, and I thought he meant the movie with Matthew Broderick hacking government computers. But he meant the cage match, naturally, and he filled me in on it. I think I only remember this exchange because around 6th grade this guy a few grades above me asked if I knew NWA, and I was like "hell yeah, they did War Games", but he actually meant the rap group and thus he thought I was a retard.
Anyway, from around the time of WrestleMania 6 to now, I've watched wrestling non-stop. It seems a lot of people who were fans early on say they lost interest during the mid 90's, but then got back into things when Nitro came along and the Monday Night War heated up. It's kinda weird but I've never really lost interest in wrestling, no matter how bad it's been. The time around 1995 seems to be thought of as this horrible dark period in the WWF, where business was in the shitter and everything sucked. I watched Raw religiously in 1995. I knew nothing about the state of business affairs or any of that. I knew I wasn't as excited for King of the Ring and SummerSlam as I'd been for past shows, but not watching it never even entered my mind.
There's something about wrestling, something that must have hooked me back when I saw it around 1989, that draws me in every week. I really don't know what it'd take for me to stop watching. It's almost scary. Please help me.
Anyway... in September 1996 I finally convinced my parents to buy a modem and get us the internet at home. The only net access I had before that was at school, and all they had was this queer BBS where you could e-mail other people in the school district. You couldn't pull up web pages or anything. But finally we got our service hooked up, and I opened the Netscape Navigator 2.0 that our provider gave us on 6 floppy disks, and the first thing I did was click the "net search" button and type in "wrestling".
I don't remember if it was the first page I found, but somehow I ended up reading this review of the Mind Games PPV that had just happened. I remember the review putting the wrestlers' real names at the beginning, which today makes me think maybe it was a Meltzer review, but anyone could have put the real names in. And I was reading it and I got to a part in the review of the main event that talked about Shawn Michaels getting frustrated at one point due to a blown spot or something. I didn't even know what that meant.
The site I was looking at had a link to this... describing it just makes it sound like a message board, but it was this web-based chat thing where you could talk real-time with people, yet you'd also be able to log off and when you came back you could read everything that was said while you were gone. And I was reading the comments there, and I didn't know it then but it was probably a hangout of the smart fans of the day, with most of the remarks being about Shawn and this blown spot thing and how unprofessional he was and jeez what an asshole. And I was thinking "whatever, HBK rules, you jerks" and I left and never looked back.
If you weren't looking for wrestling on the internet back then, it was a pretty different scene. Dave Meltzer and Wade Keller didn't have sites you could check to see the latest news. The best sources were sites like Micasa that called those guys' 900 hotlines and then posted the news. Al from Scoops was a big deal. WWF.com didn't exist and when it finally did it was this awful ugly page that barely had any content on it.
But I eventually found a bunch of sites I liked going to, sites that were good for news or that wrote opinions I agreed with. And from some of these sites I ended up finding the nWWWo page, which featured the extraordinary talents of men like James Kalyn and probably some other guys. I really liked their site... back around 1997 when the WWF was getting routinely spanked by WCW, it was "uncool" in a lot of circles to admit you were a fan of the inferior product. But I liked the WWF, and so did writers there, and they wrote stuff that made me feel better about being a WWF fan. I wish they were around today, ha HA!
And then at some point the nWWWo opened up a discussion forum on Delphi. One day during a computer class at school I thought I'd check out the forum, and I registered the handle "Seadawg" which had no significance whatsoever aside from a funny conversation I'd had earlier in the day. And both myself and a friend of mine who sat next to me in the class would read and post messages... for a brief period he posted with the Seadawg account too, but eventually it just became mine. So I'd post there about all things rasslin', getting acquainted with various people there. And while some may dispute this, I eventually got somewhat "smart"to the ways of the wrestling world by finding the Meltzers and Kellers and whatnot.
Eventually a similar forum to the nWWWo one was opened up for the Rantsylvania site. Then as those forums started going to hell as they all tend to do in the grand scheme of things, former nWWWo writer Michael Jenkinson opened up his own forum and I started posting there. I was also invited into a private forum around this time, where I got to know and be pals with some outstanding dudes. Then about a year or so ago Jenkinson too shut down his forum... and probably through little more than luck and timing, I'd started a forum of my own just before his died and almost 80,000 messages later it's still alive today.
But backing up a bit, being a fan of sites like the nWWWo, I flocked to WrestleManiacs when it opened and I became a big fan of the CRZ recap. Not only were his recaps entertaining and detailed, but when he'd do stuff like calling out Tony Schiavone for ripping on Raw main event match times when Nitro hardly had a track record to be proud of, I agreed with his opinions too.
Then I heard about the slash wrestling site that CRZ started up. If I recall correctly, Wrestleline started formatting his recaps all queerly, so I'd read them here on slash. And this guy Chris Jones, who I actually know away from the computer, was here writing PPV recaps and columns about nipples. So I liked the site and I was a weekly visitor, soaking up all the recapping goodness I could. And as I continued posting on Delphi one of the outstanding dudes I got to know was CRZ, and I don't really recall how or why but one day he was like "hey, want to write some updates for slash?" and I said "sure" and that was that.
Now you may be asking yourself "is there a point to this somewhere", and... well, no there's not. But if there's anything to pull from that little tale of the evolution of one man's wrestling fandom, it's the fact that years later both Mick Foley and Shawn Michaels said in separate interviews (or in Mick's case maybe it was one of his books) that the spot in their Mind Games match where Shawn "got frustrated" was something they'd thought of backstage as a joke based on Shawn's reputation with insiders. In other words, those comments I'd seen about Shawn on my first internet adventure, were at least in this one case based on something that wasn't in the least bit true.
That's something that, while we dabble in the wacky world of wrestling news like we do, I wish more people would stop and think about now and then. Not everything we hear is true. You gotta be able to remind yourself that we don't always know everything. Cause we all know someone that thinks they do, be it about wrestling or sports or politics or whatever, and nobody likes 'em. They suck. So don't be him. Please don't be that guy.
Happy anniversary to the slash. I will be here next week.
Special thanks to these people for helping make /Tuesday updates possible: CRZ, Vincent K. McMahon and the fine employees of World Wrestling Entertainment, Herbert S. Meltzer, Wade Keller, David Scherer, Bob Ryder, Bill Gates, the guy who invented Mt. Dew, Charity Morgan, the nTo, all the little people, the Academy, the posters of Seadawg's Most Excellent Forum, Haywood Jablome, Puffy, Yo Yo Ma, Luke Perry, Notorious Big Nigga, Larry David, Rocky, and the fine readers of slash wrestling.
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