Friday Five: Marking Out over Professional Wrestling

People are often confused when I tell them I am a complete fan of professional wrestling. I follow story lines. I read editorial columns, news articles and pick up the occasional magazine. I get excited when certain entrance themes play. I own a couple of t-shirts. I know it is scripted. I know there are rules, and just like any other sport, I know there are consequences. I have my favorite Faces (“good guys”), Heels (“bad guys”), and gimmicks I still get excited about. I get mad when commentators discuss everything but the match and depending on who is speaking on the mic, I may chant obscenities with the crowd as a sip my beer, whip up dinner, wash my dishes or fold my laundry. I am more a fan of professional wrestling than of baseball and basketball combined. While I need to watch those games live or I am bored to tears, I can enjoy wrestling live or in the comfort of my own home. Today’s Friday Five merely taps the bottom rope, and this girl is a high flyer.

 Yes, Ladies can mark out with the best of them!

Q1:  When did you truly start watching Professional Wrestling?

A: As a kid, my cousin would watch WWF with his buddies, and I would catch glimpses of it from time to time. It wasn’t until my senior year of undergrad that I religiously watched WWF’s Monday Night RAW & WCW’s Monday Nitro weekly with the two channels programmed on the recall button on the remote. I was a resident assistant at the time, so when I wasn’t studying or working part-time (yes, I had two jobs), I would continuously flip back and forth during the famed Monday Night Wars. Then I graduated and left Gainesville, so it wasn’t until about 2009 (when I returned from Japan) that I started watching again. When I started flying, I would regularly have Monday nights off, so RAW quickly became part of my day off  routine. It then snowballed from there and now I watch wrestling three nights a week as part of my relaxation time.

I love Luchas. I love Lunches. I love sandwiches. (shirt: Deli Fresh Threads)


Q2: Have you ever been to any live shows?

A: My first live show was a house show in Starke, Florida (just east of Gainesville, FL), and the only televised live program was Survivor Series (2000) in Tampa, FL. I have since attended two NXT shows here in Orlando, and I can’t wait to go to the next one. I had a chance to buy tickets for the Royal Rumble back in January, but I decided to buy my house instead. I’ve already got my calendar marked for the next Orlando on sale dates, but part of me is itching to go on a day trip to an NXT show out of town. I would love to see a RAW or SmackDown! taping, but I would prefer to go with some friends. I entered for a chance to go to WrestleMania 32 in Dallas, TX, but that would be quite the Hail Mary Longest-of-Long Shots.

Update: Better yet! WrestleMania 33 is coming to Orlando next April!

 Hideo Itami (top), The VaudeVillains (left) & Blake & Murphy (right)

When I can fit it into the budget, I love going to the NXT Live shows here in Orlando. I am willing to battle rush hour traffic to ensure that I am there early enough to snag a ticket for the pre-show meet and greets. Every NXT superstar I’ve met has been nothing but kind and humble (regardless if they are a face/heel on TV). As a local fan, I feel invested in their careers, so I take genuine interest in their matches and other ventures, too.


Q3: What is your favorite match?

A: There are so many, but the one that sealed my love for professional wrestling as a young lady was the No Mercy (1999) Pay-Per-View ladder match between The Hardy Boyz (pictured below with Lita) and Edge/Christian. It was all daredevil movies, men with wild hair, and ladders galore! I was absolutely riveted by the highflying and ambitious style of all four competitors. This match was the foothold that launched them out of the depths of the roster and elevated them to Superstar Status. There have been many ladder matches since (and even a few before), but none of them ever gave me the same rush than the Terri Runnels Invitational Ladder Match.

 I wonder if I can still get this signed for my Geek Chic Shred Shed…

Later, when Hall of Famer, Lita joined the Hardyz there was a great set of intergender and mixed tag matches. Part of one of my class projects was on women in wrestling, and of course, my favorite Lucha Lady was at the top of the list! She is also a vegan and has a killer smoothie recipe!


Q4: Have you ever tried out any wrestling moves?

A: Not by my own choosing! At the first WrestleMania party I attended during college, I was dressed up as Jeff Hardy (last minute invite) and the host was Chris Jericho (complete with sparkly shirt). I made the mistake of going to hug the host during this blessed and costumed occasion.  Before I knew it, the hug became a leg sweep and while I was trying to catch my breath, he was back up and locking me into the Walls of Jericho. All I wanted was beer and some pizza, but left wanting a chiropractor. It was fun, but the next few days, my lower back killed! Mercifully, this was back when film cameras were all the rage and social media didn’t exist. I do wish I could find a photo of it.


Q5: Isn’t wrestling a little misogynistic for a feminist to watch?

A: During the late 1990s (“The Attitude Era”), I had a difficult time with it, especially as I was concentrating part of my degree in Women’s Studies and Gender Theory. Thankfully, the WWE has graduated from the bras and panties matches and skimpy bikini swimsuit shoots, focusing their efforts on athleticism and showcasing their Divas in magazines like Muscle & Fitness Hers instead of Playboy. Personally, I love that the NXT Women’s Title employs the word “WOMEN” instead of the main roster “DIVAS” designation. If the women in the WWE and other companies want to be taken seriously, they need to focus on the empowerment of women and high maintenance spoiled princess imagery diva tends to emanate. Just over a year ago, there was a 30-second Divas match which sparked a fan-based push to equal consideration and TV time for the women’s roster. The power of social media was the catalyst for the Divas Revolution storyline, but there is still much progress to be made for equality.

 Becky Lynch (top left), Alexa Bliss (top right), Bayley (bottom left) & Sasha Banks (bottom right)

In WWE’s Top 25 Matches of the 2015, there were four ranked women’s matches, of which three were among the NXT Women. I watched the dissolution of Team BAE as Sasha and Becky destroyed each other (#15/25). I bit my nails through Sasha and Bayley’s 30 minute Iron Woman match as they became the first women to do such a match as well as main event a Pay-Per-View event (#10/25). I cried in the poetic beauty of Bayley and Sasha ripping off the roof at NXT Brooklyn for the NXT Women’s Championship (#2/25) in which the title changed hands, from Sasha to Bayley.

Wooooo! Huggable. Legit Boss. Lass Kicker. (NXT Brooklyn)

This also brought forth the graduation of three of the Four Horsewomen: Charlotte (not pictured), Sasha and Becky from NXT and their elevation to the main roster. Although Bayley stayed behind, she is leading the locker room at NXT as champion and is helping sculpt the future of NXT. Other fab ladies like Alexa Bliss, Carmella, Asuka, Emma, Dana Brooke, Peyton Royce, Nia Jax, and Billie Kay are are hungry and looking to make their name as the next NXT Women’s Champion! What I love is the solidarity and sisterhood put forth by many of the Women in NXT because they define what “women’s wrestling” should entail.

I love me some BayMella! They’re Fabulously Huggable!

I’ll admit it… I largely have the WWE Network, so I can watch NXT because the women’s wrestling is stellar!


Answer Me, These Questions Three:

  1. Have you watched any professional wrestling programming?
  2. Do you have a favorite professional wrestler?
  3. What questions do you have about professional wrestling?

  I got plenty of heat from Paul Heyman in the best way possible!

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11 comments

  1. BIGGIE · March 11, 2016

    I have watched professional wrestling programming- SMACKDOWN, RAW – I’ve also been to their live shows. They are fun. I once dressed up like the Dudley Boys.

    Do you have a favorite professional wrestler?
    I use to love Ricky The Dragon Steamboat, the Hardyz, Macho Man, Edge, junk yard dog, hulk hogan, the Rock, etc

    What questions do you have about professional wrestling? What would be your dream wrestling match?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Karen P. · March 11, 2016

      Oh, man! Trying to narrow it down is SO difficult! I lost my mind when Sting finally joined WWE prior to WrestleMania last year. I was crushed when he got injured against Seth Rollins late last year, and it’s frustrating that they are keeping his physical condition quiet. I want to hold out hope that he’ll return, but since they announced him as the top batter for the 2016 HOF (Hall of Fame Class), I have my doubts that he’ll be back.

      I did see The Rock live at the PPV in Tampa which was back when we had cameras with flashes, and he lit the arena up when he executed The People’s Elbow!!

      I loved the Hardyz/Lita, but Edge and Christian will always have a special place in my heart. I giggled when E&C impersonated the Hardyz on one of their episodes of the E&C Show. Currently, I am really loving The 4 Horsewomen, Dean Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler (largely due to his stint on Total Divas), and Sami Zayn.

      One question would be how could I get a solid job without having to be in the ring? 🙂 I think I could be the next Paul Heyman or Vicki Guerrero.

      My dream match is still Sting vs. Undertaker. When WWE 2K15 launched, they had a special panel hosted by Stone Cold, and they asked Sting point blank who would be his be-all-end-all match up. When he smiled and said Taker, I lost my mind.

      Like

  2. Geeky Nikki · March 11, 2016

    Have you watched any professional wrestling programming?
    Yes, I’ve been watching WWE on and off since I was a kid. I am also obsess with NXT. I’ve only seen clips of TNA.

    Do you have a favorite professional wrestler?
    The Undertaker has been one of my all time favorites. I also looked up to Lita when I was a kid.

    Lately, I really love Bayley and Finn Balor. New Day has to be my favorite stable right now.

    What questions do you have about professional wrestling?
    Are there other wrestling companies, like New Japan Pro-Wrestling, that you recommend watching and where can I watch them?

    Like

    • Karen P. · March 11, 2016

      I keep trying to get into TNA because I loved The Hardyz & Kurt Angle, but for some reason, I just can’t get into it. I have to see if I can start watching Lucha Underground after it’s air time because it’s on the same time as NXT on Wednesdays.

      Favorite women: Lita/Trish Stratus (HOF), the 4 Horsewomen of NXT, and AJ Lee. I think I want to go back on the Network and watch a bunch of AJ stuff because I really missed out on her evolution.

      You know how I feel about FinnBáyley. It needs to become a thing because they are so adorkable!!

      I didn’t want NJPW when I lived in Japan, but now that JR is announcing for them, I would LOVE to find out how.

      It seems that TNA is on POPTV Tuesdays at 9PM (which clashes with Total Divas). http://poptv.com/impact
      I am going to check my cable menu at home and see if I can watch replays.

      I know that LU is on ElRey which I was surprised to know that I had! http://www.elreynetwork.com/originals/Lucha-S2
      Again, I may be able to go through my cable, but I would love to know if Sling TV carries these shows, so I could cut the cable and save a little moolah!

      Like

  3. Nichole · March 11, 2016

    This just brought back so many memories. I used to be a hard core fan when I was younger. It was one of those shows that I made my parents re arrange their schedules to watch it.

    Like

    • Karen P. · March 11, 2016

      My friends laugh, but it’s my stress therapy because at least three nights a week, I can watch it on TV and with online streaming, I can add additional if I want to. These days, I buy a nice bottle of wine, cook a nice dinner or have happy hour and dessert.

      I’m working on something for WrestleMania because I’ll be spending the entire Sunday enjoying life at home. 😉

      Like

  4. Danielle @ From Girlie to Nerdy · March 11, 2016

    I used to watch in it high school sometimes since all of my guy friends would talk about it and I wanted to chime in 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. *Mandy* · March 14, 2016

    My family used to be big into wrestling when I was a young girl. I mean BIG. We went to televised shows, watched every show whenever it came on as a family… It was pretty crazy. Then we just kinda faded out of it as we grew up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Karen P. · March 14, 2016

      Well, if you are ever interesting in checking them out, they’re still on TV with a more PG/Family-friendly approach.

      Like

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