COLUMN: OS #31 – The Real World And Wrestling

Kevin McElvaney

Offbeat Shenanigans #31

“The Real World and Wrestling”

By: Kevin McElvaney

To quote a short-lived shirt of The Rock’s, “How Long Has It Been?”

Answer: It’s been weeks. My bad on that, seriously. What happened, essentially, was that Glenn Gilbertti … made fun of me. That’s right, two columns ago, Disco called me a nerd. A nerd writing for a wrestling site. Can you imagine? Well, yes, fans, I admit it. I, Kevin McElvaney, am a nerd. Boy, it feels good to get that out in the open! On the bright side, I’ve learned to take some of Mr. Gilberrti’s advice to heart. I do have a thing or two to learn from him. I actually lost 27 bucks at the Philly Park Casino last night on the video poker machines. Maybe he could give me a few pointers so I can do better next time.

Moving on!

Barack Obama clinched the Democratic nomination this week. Hilary Clinton made her classy concession speech yesterday. My guess is that Obama won because his character was the more entertaining of the two in that Raw sketch a number of weeks back.

The real Cousin Sal, as well as the real Jimmy Kimmel, appeared on Friday’s Smackdown. Cousin Sal went over Santino Marella, which leads me to believe he’s in line for an Intercontinental title push. That said, I’m not clear on what brand Sal’s competing for. Can anyone help me with that?

Obviously, this was another attempt by WWE to tap into that coveted mainstream audience. This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. Specifically, I was thinking about how wrestlers use already-established names to help get themselves to a more prominent area. No, I’m not talking about the many La Parka’s, Doink the Clowns, pseudo-Andersons or Misters Wrestling. Neither the various “Nature Boy’s,” “The Natural’s” or any other recurring nicknames. Nor am I referring to TNA’s current WWF parody gimmicks. I’m talking about:

Bam Neely (hockey player Cam Neely)

Kenny Dykstra (baseball player / K-McE boyhood hero / possible steroid connoisseur Lenny Dykstra)

Sonjay Dutt (Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt)

Sterling James Keenan (Tool / A Perfect Circle singer Maynard James Keenan)

Lex Luger (Comic book villain Lex Luthor)

Hulk Hogan (Big green guy The Incredible Hulk)

There are probably a thousand more, but I admittedly didn’t do my research. Just thought it was interesting.

Here’s a story. I was heading up Route 1 sometime last year with my ex-girlfriend (and current good friend) when we passed the Pennsylvania National Guard Armory. Ring of Honor holds shows there, and various other events take place in that same building. There was a sign that advertised an upcoming boxing event. I asked my friend, jokingly, if she’d be going to the boxing match with me. She laughed and then remarked that boxers have excellent conditioning.

I floored on the breaks, causing a ten car pileup. Rather, I might have done that if I’d had a driver’s license and she wasn’t carting me around. Still, despite the lack of highway atrocities, I was appalled. Not because boxers don’t have excellent conditioning (they do), but because my friend had always refused to believe that wrestlers were amazing athletes. She continued to not believe it, either, until I finally got her to see wrestling live.

Last month, my friend and I attended a live CHIKARA event in Hellertown, PA. The venue was the American Legion Hall – a tiny Beef and Beer type place where you’re less than ten feet away from the ring no matter where you sit. No guardrails. Nothing.

After the first hip toss of the night (about 10 seconds in), my friend immediately started to come around to the fact that being a wrestler is tough business. We had a great time and, though she still isn’t going to be tuning in to Raw or Impact every week, my friend marvelled and, yes, marked out for quite a bit of the in-ring action on that night. Now, if only every wrestling detractor could see a match so up close and personal…

Speaking of CHIKARA and Hellertown, the promotion’s running the final series of shows at the American Legion Hall next weekend in the form of the annual Young Lions Cup tournament. Catch it if you can, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. But don’t worry if you don’t; CHIKARA will continue to run shows in Philadelphia and various other Northeast spots. It’s always a great time, and it’s safe for the kids!

That’s about it for this week. I’ll be back much sooner next time!

Kevin McElvaney is a contributing writer for Pro Wrestling Illustrated and The Wrestler / Inside Wrestling. He invented the open faced sandwich.

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