I second-guessed myself right after purchasing RJ City’s coffee mug on Pro Wrestling Tees.
First off, my bank account was not at its most pristine condition, and secondly, I need more coffee in my life as much as wrestling fans need more Twitter. The buyer’s regret was looming over my shoulder like Ted Cassidy did over Pugsley Addams. Also, am I going to have to settle with the idea of drinking out of something that had another person’s face on it? “Dominic Paul,” I said to myself (I often refer to myself with middle name attached), “Isn’t that why you got into writing? Don’t you somewhat detest the company of other people?”
I, however, took myself out of the equation and knew that RJ City’s birthday was right upon the horizon (oddly enough, the same day as his close friend, the mighty Danhausen) and despite his recent signing with the American Wrestling Alliance, I wanted to support the vast wild world of independent wrestling. Plus the dollar exchange between the United States and Canada has always been unbalanced, and since Rick Moranis is no longer in the limelight, let’s support a friend up north. I rested my anxiety on that bit of comfort, knowing that any type of appreciation to the business I love to document is equally soothing to my own self worth and ego.
But here came the email, one that was both sobering and demeaning, truly prompting myself to have a moment of inner reflection.
“You don’t quite seem to understand, do you? For all your analyzing, writing and posting, you think you would. You want to be “inside” the business but you’re buying the merch of a heel? Oh, there’s a dirt sheet alright, but it’s swaddling your soul.
Immediately the lyrics from the hit song Judas began ringing in my head: “What have I become?” Yes, Chris? What? Have I been co-opted?
Anyways, about the coffee mug. It arrived safely in a box with green bubble wrap, which I thought may have symbolized the greed of the old-time promoters of yesteryear. Pro Wrestling Tees did a fine job of making sure the item arrived safely with no chips. I should note that the song playing while I opened the package happened to be Christopher Cross’ “Minstrel Gigolo” from his 1979 self-titled debut album (so way before he contracted COVID). This had no bearing on my assessment of the mug, but feel free to play the song as you read or decide that this entire article is bullshit.
The mug itself was finely shaped, with a circular opening accompanied by the jet black rim and handle. The outside was a crisp white to add in the contrast as it underscored Mr. City’s face which was adorned on both sides.
What was City implying in this choice of color scheme? Being the old soul that he is, was he making us all yearn for those classic days of mat wrestling, where the men of the squared circle resembled more of an Ernest Borgnine and less of a hulking Lou Ferrigno? Maybe I was thinking too much about it all so I played Christopher Cross once more and stared at the mug with fingered tented.
I never felt more judged than I did in those following moments. Who did this City guy think he was, just grinning at me? Rudolph Valentino? What? Is he the first person to drink coffee in his underwear? Animosity, like my aforementioned question of self-worth, began to surface. Finally, I stifled such feelings and went to my coffee maker.
Now I do not consider myself a bourgeois bean snob, but I did just run out of my freshly ground coffee that ran $10 a bag (with Whole Foods discount) so therefore I had to reside in using the 365 “Morning Glory” Breakfast Blend. Also, no oat milk in the apartment so I was going to have to drink this mud straight.
I played Christopher Cross again and did some more mental brewing while the coffee brewed. There the mug was, just staring daggers at me. Suddenly, I understood what RJ was getting at. He wasn’t Rudolph Valentino, no, he was Vincent Price and the horror yarn he was spinning was something akin to Poe’s “A Tell-Tale Heart,” except there was no way I was pulling up the floorboards of my psyche. Damn it all. I boxed the mug up. This time without the bubble wrap. The coffee percolated as I sat expressing displeasure to my cat, Dusty Rhodes, as to the gall of this man on the mug, this heel of the industry. The coffee stopped brewing as I found myself screaming to the upstairs neighbors a jumbled mess of obscenities referring to RJ in between the lyrics of “Minstrel Gigolo.”
Finally, after a tangent that lasted about as unnecessarily long as this review, a second epiphany came to me: I was being worked this whole time. There was absolutely nothing RJ was implying in this mug. I unboxed it, washed it because of the new normal, and then poured the coffee into it. My hands did not burn due to the heat, and that was about it, I guess.
So yeah, a coffee mug.