Nostalgia Nook : WWF

WWF

As an infant, I was exposed to the World Wrestling Federation by my father. There I was in front of the television, chillin’ in my cradle with my Hulk Hogan tank top and bandana. Growing up, bullying in elementary and middle school became less about punching the victim and more about giving an inverted atomic bomb or a pendulum back breaker. This was the heyday of wrestling.

Long before World Wrestling Entertainment lost a pathetic battle to the World Wide Fund for Nature over the wrestling group’s naming rights, the world of wrestling used the acronym WWF. Forget about when the New World Order (nWo) and Extreme Champion Wrestling (ECW) garbage entered the mainstream. Ignore Hollywood Hogan and remember Hulk Hogan. Erase from memory when ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage did Slim Jim commercials.

Though I watched wrestling with my dad every chance I could, looking back I realize that I wasn’t a fan of the ‘sport.’ I developed an idolization of the wrestlers themselves.

Wrestlers like Bret Hart may not have been authentic (I can still recall learning the devastating news at age 13 that wrestling was fake,) but they were real heroes to kids like me. I remember watching ‘The Hitman’ walk out to fight, stylishly removing his sunglasses and putting them on the head of some kid in the crowd.

Then there were the sinister-looking fighters like Razor Ramon, Bam Bam Bigelow and ruthless The Undertaker. I got chills every time those bells tolled to signify The Undertaker’s entrance.

There were epic moments: Hart pummeling Yokozuna – a previously undefeated, 6-foot-9, 700-pound brute. The British Bulldog skipping around the ring to taunt his enemies. Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts taking his monstrous pet Burmese Python and coiling the reptile around his defeated opponent’s neck. These are classic theatrics lost in today’s ring.

Occasionally the WWF would turn up the heat with special events like tag-team (Can somebody say the ‘Road Warriors?’) or the 20-plus man brawl known as the ‘Royal Rumble.’ Sure, those affairs may still be around, but, by God, they just aren’t the same. Reminiscing, let’s never forget the glory days of wrestling. In the words of Randy Savage, ‘Ohhh yeah, dig it!’

emgorode@syr.edu

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