Column O’ Nonsense: Passion II

Douglas Nunnally

Passion is something everyone has for something they love. Whether it is cars, music, sports, the female anatomy, or something else, we all have a passion for something in our lives. For many, including you and me, that passion would be for professional wrestling. To outsiders, it might sound weird for us to obsess over a “fixed” sport full of guys in Speedos trying to act serious as they turn on the fans for the umpteenth time. To insiders, there is nothing purer than the art and sport of professional wrestling. The pure unadulterated emotion that gets portrayed within the confines of a simple mess of plywood, plastic, metal, and fabric is something that hooks us early on and clings for dear life as we become engulfed in the world and community of professional wrestling. Yes, there are many aspects of professional wrestling that are wrong, ignorant, and sometimes insulting, but through it all, there is always the pure concept of good versus evil in a world that you know is more real than anything else being portrayed on any medium today. The mirrored aspect of life in wrestling has always been the hook. Relating with the wrestlers, living through them, seeing them put their bodies on the line for something they believe in; it all is portrayed perfectly even if the storylines are lacking and it always comes across as soothing emotion to our eyes despite the fact that someone may be bleeding like the proverbial pig.

Passion exists in every thing and I am not one to sit here and think the passion we exhibit toward professional wrestling is greater than passion for say some music that just might lift your very soul. But it’s very definite that a passion for wrestling is very different than other passions we may come across in this life. It is a different beast entirely with different demands, expectations, and lows. Music is a very strong passion in this world and even I admit a certain dependence on it, but it’s a far easier one to maintain. Driving to work in the morning will more often than not see the radio turned on to the local station of your choice as they churn off songs to help you get through the dreaded traffic jam that hinders your arrival. As much as it sounds appealing, watching wrestling while driving to work may just be a bad idea and something the police may want to take up with you as you rear-end the car in front of yours because your favorite face just got his rear-end handed to him by the nastiest of heels.

Unlike others, wrestling is a hard passion to keep up with for a bunch of reasons. If you’re happy with everything, something like your cable getting cut or income slowing down will hit you hard. If you’re not happy, wrestling is not going to get better as the bad times are going to keep rolling into your television and mailbox every time you watch or order an event. Even more, we’ve got spoilers and rumors that by their very nature are ruining a lot of the surprise and purity of what we are watching. There are a plethora of reasons that your passion for wrestling might start to decline and even vanish, some I probably can’t even fathom. Anything could trigger your loss of passion and before you know it, you’re skipping shows or just relying on the thoughts of an overly critical community to get by. The fact is, with the extra effort required to keep that passion, when something tough comes around, it’s easy to just let it drift away. It’s not something you’d want to happen, but it would just happen. I’m going to say right now that I have never talked to any former wrestling fan who doesn’t miss it in any way, shape, or form, no matter what the circumstances are when their passion started to dwindle. Even if they only liked it when they believed it was real, they still miss it. Like I said, wrestling hooks our hearts and it never lets go. We might choose to let it go, but it will always be there in the back of our minds clinging for dear life, and every time you see some Speedos, here some cliché string of words, or see someone just taking forever to climb a ladder, your heart will go back to the days you once eagerly clung to your seat as your favorite wrestler finally came out on top.

Over a year ago, I wrote a column called “Passion” where I talked about my loss of passion and the effort I took to get it back. In that same column, I promised I would never let the passion go. So why am I sitting here and basically telling you the same old story about passion? Because it’s not just about my passion (though my egotism thought so last time), it’s really about all of ours. If one thing is affecting one fan, it’s going to affect someone else and so on and so on. We all have to deal with this problem, and the real question is what are you going to do about it?

The answer is pure and simple: anything. Yes, anything.

You must do anything to keep your passion, literally whatever you can. Like I said, there are a number of problems to cause you to lose your passion, but each one has a solution. It may not look like there is one if your problem is such a big hindrance, but trust me, there is always a solution. If the criticism of fans is getting to you, tune it out and ignore it. Negativity is definitely something to cause the loss of interest and it’s easy to get whirled into it, but just gear away from it. Find another way to spend your time on wrestling besides talking to critical fans. Try and find some who are more positive, read some magazines like Pro Wrestling Illustrated or maybe some newsletters like Wrestling Observer for an alley of discussion; anything to get out of the negativity whirlwind. Sure, some people can cope with that kind of constant criticism, but if you can’t, big whoop. Find something else.

If you’re not happy with the current product, forget about it and watch older tapes. Relive your favorite periods of wrestling past. If you’ve got the tapes, play them. If you don’t, buy them. If you can’t, download them. If you can’t even do that, ask around and I’m sure you’ll find some way. Tapes are not that hard to get with the onset of the internet and if you want to keep your interest of wrestling intact despite your displeasure with the current product, the tapes are your best way to go. Hell, you could even go to your local video rental store and see if they have some old tapes for a few bucks of pocket change and I’m sure some of those on-line rental stores have them too! These aren’t the only solutions to these problems either, you guys. There are tons more that I am probably not even capable of putting to words at this moment. You just got to find something that works for you and helps you keep your passion. You have to counteract the problem somehow and trust that there is certainly a way to get your passion back and keep it.

But it’s definitely not going to be easy and I am not going to sugarcoat and say it is. Nothing is easy about being a wrestling fan. Absolutely nothing. We have to put up with a lot of stuff. Mainstream flack, ridicule from people not in our little community, horrible angles that only further the stereotype, deaths in wrestling, high costs of videos and PPVs, horrible TV time, companies folding, et cetera. God knows we all got frustrated over the lack of mainstream coverage or ridicule over Eddie Guerrero’s death and God knows what will enrage us in 2006. If nothing else about being a wrestling fan is going to be easy, why should keeping your passion be? It’s very tempting to go back into a destructive lifestyle like going back to reading spoilers, listening to criticism, or just not watching, though I am reaching with the comparisons here, but if you can’t call destroying your passion destructive, what can you?

It may seem weird, but I’m pretty passionate about the passion. Without it, there is no spark left in wrestling. Look at live events in WWE lately. The fans that go there are ones who are mostly going out of habit and for the live feeling but have lost their passion or dwindled to a level that they barely even care anymore. When was the last time you truly heard a Stone Cold Steve Austin pop? Even Hulk Hogan is not getting the reaction he once got and whatever you place the blame on, it will always lead back to the downfall of the passion we wrestling fans should have which is really because of a number of reasons. If you’re one of those who have lost passion because of the product, I’m not blaming you, I’m simply stating that the loss of passion is all around us and will always add to that mystique. People still watch Andre The Giant versus Hulk Hogan from Wrestlemania III and get goose bumps whether or not they have seen it before because the passion of every single fan in that arena was bursting with ecstasy at such a ground-breaking moment in history. It’s not happening today and that mystique is lost.

You may agree, you may disagree, and that’s your right, but try and honestly say that the passion you have is the same as when you first discovered wrestling. If you’re telling the truth, good for you, but be cautious because it could happen to you. If you’re not, just take some advice and get that passion back. It may be hard to keep up with, it may be hard to deal with, and it may be frustrating because of many other reasons, but in the end, won’t the good of it always outweigh the bad? Doesn’t that make this passion that much more important to fight for?

All we have in this life are our passions, plain and simple. Anything great in this world always came out of the passion someone had for something. Why should you simply let your passion fade? Do you want wrestling to be exciting again? Do you want the product to appeal to you more nowadays? Do you want to actually watch out of interest instead of habit? Plain and simple: do you want to feel like you once did for this art? If not, then I am sorry for wasting your time, though I have a feeling all of you reading this right now want that feeling. Go reclaim your passion through any means necessary, guys, and spread the word. For every angle that enrages you, watch the one that captured your mind in the beginning. For every spoiler you read, read a wrestling book. For every tasteless segment you see, watch a tear inducing moment. And for every great match you watch, watch two more because God knows you’ll never get enough of it.

Keep your passion, people. I lost it once and I promised I’d never lose it again. It’s been a hard battle, but I’ve kept it thus far and can’t even imagine losing it again. Start the fight now and reclaim. It’s going to be hard, it’s going to take some effort, but the pay-off in the end as you finally get those goose bumps again; that’s going to be worth it. That’s going to be worth the entire struggle and really it’s what being a wrestling fan is all about.

Passion. It’s your right, it’s your love, it’s your heart, and it’s really just your soul. Don’t let it fade away, reclaim it now. Reclaim it and cherish it. I know I do.

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