My sister had a theory when she was young. "If if was on T.V. it was real." That theory encompassed everything. As long as it was broadcast over the magic box that brought pretty pictures into her home there was no doubt in her mind that it was genuine. I often laughed at her over this citing that cartoons were on T.V. but they were by no means real but she still held her belief. Our father teased her about it as well which I found to be quite humorous until he began to direct his teasing to me as well because I believed professional wrestling was real.
For someone to tell me that my beloved sport of wrestling was fake disturbed me greatly. In an attempt to prove that my wrestling was real I searched for a way to prove it. When all my arguments failed to sway his opinion I had to take drastic measures. In a last attempt to prove the "realness" of wrestling I made my stand.
During dinner one night the subject came up again giving me the opportunity to try out my plan. I set my fork on my plate and calmly, yet with great effort, placed my version of Fritz Von Erich's iron claw upon my little sister's head. What followed was my sister screaming in pain as she launched peas across the room and my mother showing me her version of the basic slap across my head. I released my claw as my mother began to tell me how horrible of a thing I had just done. I will never forget her words to me as she sent me to my room.....? you could have popped her eyes out squeezing her temples like that ... what is wrong with you...do you want to kill her or something...?
I spent the next few hours in my room. I had been directed by my mother to think about what I had done and the possible consequences of my action. I spent the next few hours in my room but all I thought about was how I had finally proved that professional wrestling was in fact real. After all...I almost popped my sister's eyeballs out at the dinner table.
Well, needless to say the future dinner conversations never again included a debate on what was real and what was not. I had won that arguement. I dont think my dad ever believed me but at least he didn't dispute it anymore.
Now, as an adult, I watch wrestling with my children. They, as I was, are convinced it is real. Some things about wrestling have really changed though. Either the misses don't seem so obvious as a child or wrestling truely was more real back then. As I watch the wrestling of today I can't help but to wonder how anyone could believe it to be real. When a kick is missed by a few feet but the victim still falls in pain it kinda ruins it. I remember back in the good old days when everyone started to wonder if maybe wrestling could be real. I have seen steel cage doors get slammed on people's heads, I have seen ring ropes wrapped in barbed wire (and that was a sanctioned match) and many other things wrestlers refuse to do today...except for Mick Foley.
Which brings me to my point...yes finally a point. The greatest wrestler in the sport today is , without exception, Mick Foley. This guy sacrifices his mind, body and soul for the entertainment of the fans. I don't watch him wrestle and think about how fake it looks. Most of the time, I watch his matches and think to myself "Damn that's gotta hurt!". Who else in the history of wrestling has done what he has? To my knowledge the answer is no one. Getting dumped through the top of a steel cage, sledgehammers and dumpsters. That is Mick Foley.
The last time I saw him wrestle in person the guy was wearing boxer shorts with a shirt and tie in the ring. There is no limit for him. He does what it takes and more to put on a good show. Im ready to see more wrestlers with this attitude in the WWF and WCW. Make it a good show not something we roll our eyes at. You guys get paid good money to get your butts kicked or to kick butt. We deserve more effort. Not everyone has to go to the length of Foley but at least make contact with your opponent. If you miss then don't pretend you didn't.
I'm not saying you have to literally kick the crap out of someone, just make it look like you did. I'm also not saying Foley is the only wrestler who really gives one hundred percent. There are a few others. Like Cactus Jack, Dude Love and my favorite....Mankind..........
Joseph Holt is a freelance writer in the Ft. Worth Texas area and a regular contributor to Solie's. His own web site, called Double Xposure, is located at: http://members.aol.com/Holt70/page/index.htm and features his articles on subjects besides pro-wrestling.