Day Three – From Fake to Real: The Coincidental Cross-Over

3 01 2010

Years ago, I remember professional wrestling was the thing to watch. D-Generation X were making penis jokes on live television. Stone Cold Steve Austin was letting his middle finger fly, right before planting a Stone Cold Stunner on whoever was in kicking distance. All the while, a bunch of too young kids were enjoying all from the comfort of their homes. To no one’s surprise, I was one of them. At about the same time, an organization called the Ultimate Fighting Championship had become illegal in Ontario and much of the continent.

Brock Lesnar was one of my favourite wrestlers in the twilight as a Pro Wrestling fan

The WWE continued its rein over my free time for a few more years as the names began to change. Bret Hart was unceremoniously dumped from the organization in what would be dubbed “The Montreal Screw-Job“. Shawn Michaels disappeared due to nagging back problems. Even the WCW, the WWE’s main competition ceased to exist at the beginning of the decade, after being bought out by the WWE.

As the landscape began to change in the WWE, changing from what I had become accustomed to, UFC began to pick up steam in the background. In my eyes, the WWE had one last saving grace, they acquired a wrestler with the moniker “The Next Big Thing”. He was a beast of a man, one which everyone was sure was on steroids, though he wasn’t. He would pick up men 300+ pounds and fling them in the air with relative ease, with a move he called the F5, named after the one of the most severe classifications of tornado. This man, who was well in the 300 pound territory himself, would vault himself on the ring apron, setting fireworks to shoot from the ring posts. The man himself, Brock Lesnar, was a sight to be seen.

As Brock left professional wrestling behind a short time later, he took something with him. Though my interest didn’t dissolve right in that moment, it was definitely the end of a personal era. One where I would never really have the same interest for professional wrestling again. Whether it was the sudden departure of Brock Lesnar or simply my decision to spend my free time else where, it seems to be a good marker of where my interests and gone, and who had taken them with him.

It was around this time that I replaced my interest in The Rock, Shawn Michaels and Triple H with names like Randy Couture, Tito Ortiz and Georges St. Pierre. No longer could a man throw another by the arm with complete confidence that he will bounce back towards him. No longer could a man take hundreds of punches to the nose, all without any visible damage, only to be stopped by a bare elbow dropped to his chest. Now the stake were real. These fighters were putting everything on the line for the same opportunity as their pro wrestling counterparts; to wrap gold around their waists, but it wouldn’t be handed to them by on high. They would have to earn in using grit, strength, determination and, above all else, skill. And win or lose, they all paid a price that you could clearly see.

The UFC had officially taken a fan away from the WWE.