Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Lemme tell ya somethin', brother.

Professional wrestling is stupid. I really can't argue with that. But I still find it irresistable.

I am, of course, talking about the fake kind of wrestling: the Hulk Hogan kind, the Stone Cold Steve Austin kind. Fake, however, is an unfair word for what pro wrestlers do. It's not a fight, it's a performance. If you go into the experience expecing that, and if you're willing to play along, it's a whole lot of fun.

As I say that, some of you are wondering what fun there is in watching guys in tights yell into microphones and pretend to wrestle. I can't speak for everyone, but here's what draws me: crazy athleticism.

There are only so many places you can go to see a 300-pound man take off running, leap over the top rope of the wrestling ring - no hands - turn a somersault, and land on the three guys who are standing in their pre-arranged place to break his fall to the cold tile floor.

Many of you have heard me talk about my buddy Drake, who trains with Supreme Pro Wrestling and wrestles as Drake Frost. His finisher - his signature move that usually comes right before the end of the match - is like a ballet move, except you smash your partner to the mat instead of landing gracefully. There's a little spin in there and everything.

One more example. SPW put on a No Rope Lumberjack Match between El Chupacabra and Rik Luxury a year or two ago, in which the ropes were removed from the ring. The "lumberjacks" were two crowds of men, each group friends of one wrestler and hostile to the other, and itching to stomp someone. Luxury was outside of the ring, with his lumberjacks between him and his opponent. El Chupacabra then ran out of the ring onto the shoulders of said lumberjacks, pushing off and tackling Luxury from above.

I still can't figure out why they do it. There guys take some bumps. Drake literally had a handprint on his chest after an SPW show after getting a wicked smack from the Big Ugly. Bones sometimes break. Depending on the match, there may be some blood. It seems like a lot of sacrifice for a little applause, to say nothing of the time spent on training, or driving hours to put on shows in other towns and in other states.

That's the main reason I admire Drake. He's committed. He has an insane dream to actually make it in this industry, and he's making sacrifices to get there. I've never known anyone else willing to work two jobs, then go get dropped on his head by guys bigger than he is in order to get better at his craft. I don't know that I've been that dedicated to anything in my entire life.

So for Drake, and all the guys and girls at SPW, I pray safety and sanity. I pray that God would make sense of their dreams and their drive, and keep them in one piece in the meantime.

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