Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Five Years of The Wrestling Blog

Wrestling! It's why I'm here!
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Five years ago today, I wrote the first post in what I called The Wrestling Blog. At the time, I was only really watching RAW, and I had just started branching out to watching WWECW and Smackdown. It was to be an outlet for my critical mind, a thoughts dump for the shows that I would watch on a weekly basis, as well as a repository for YouTube embeds. In fact, I wasn't even sure that the blog would last five years. My interests sometimes tend to be slaves to my various flights of fancy. I've always been a wrestling fan, even in times when I wasn't watching WWE regularly. However, life is strange with what the heart wants to do.

Five years may seem short, but it is an interminably long time, especially in professional wrestling. Look at how WWE has changed over that time. The guy who presumably will walk out of WrestleMania as WWE Champion was still working bingo halls. CM Punk went from up and comer to guy-who-walked-out-at-the-height-of-his-popularity. WWE transformed into a stable-friendly company after nearly 50 years of iconoclast-centric programming. Most notably, it reinvented how wrestling would be distributed once again with The Network. And John Cena? Well, some things just don't change no matter how much time is given.

I've changed as well, and I'd like to think that my metamorphosis has coincided with how my habits watching wrestling evolved. Within a week of beginning the blog, I attended my first independent show, Chikara King of Trios '09, Night One. I consumed more independent wrestling and even watched TNA for a spell. I actually ingratiated myself with people in the business like Bryce Remsburg, Denver Colorado (the man, not the place!), and Rachel Summerlyn. And I went from a fan with a shitty Blogger account into a member of a vibrant and intelligent wrestling writer community, one that spans several sites and convenes on Twitter. Of course, I still have the shitty Blogger account, but the url/publishing service doesn't define one as much as what they do with said means.

Growing into that community and with other outstanding writers and broadcasters helped me find myself as a wrestling fan. I no longer feel that I think as monolithically as I did when I started, and I can thank the people I've met along the way, whether prominent like Brandon Stroud and Jason Mann (among others), or those who may not be known to the masses but do great work like the False Underdog and the tag team of Rachel Davies and Andrew Southern over at WRESTLEGASM (again, among others). And most telling, I've picked up my own cadre of writers, whether they still be with me today or whether they've left for their own reasons (amicably, of course).

But for all the networking I've done, all the wrestling I've covered, all the people I pissed off (hi haters!), all the shows I attended live, all the podcasts I recorded, and all the friends I've made, nothing would have been possible without wrestling and the beauty it provides. Even at my lowest point as a fan, I could pop on something, whether a YouTube video, a DVR recording of Main Event, a Smart Mark VOD, or even a funny interview segment from 20 years ago, and I would be reminded why I juggle being a father, a husband, an employee, and an amateur wrestling critic.

The love for wrestling is what kept this blog open for five years and will keep it open in the indefinite future. I don't know how much time I have left. Forget five years, I could have anywhere between five seconds and five more decades of writing this rag before I throw my hands up in the air and say "IT'S OVER!" But no matter what, I am grateful for the five years I've had so far writing here, and for everything that has come with it.

So, in closing to this self-serving and schmaltzy essay, I leave you all with three pearls of advice:
  • Good wrestling exists everywhere, and it's up to you to figure out what's best to consume.
  • You do you, and don't worry about what everyone else likes, doesn't like, or complains about.
  • Triple H has sucked, still sucks, and will forever and always suck.
Thanks for the ride. Let's keep going, shall we?