Razor Blades and Shame

There are moments in life, however brief, that an unspoken sentiment is shared by so many that it becomes an energy unto itself- the kind of energy that’s propelled nations to fight wars and outsider candidates to win elections. At the end of the decade, professional wrestling- fans, wrestlers, and promoters- had something to prove. It wasn’t enough to kindly explain to the uninitiated that despite the predetermined nature of match finishes that this shit- the battering taken on the bodies of performers- was, actually, far more real than anyone knew. To chase the respect of those who will never care, violence needed to be amplified.

The rise of Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) may have been the direct result of this coalescence of energy. The convergence of two deeply felt sentiments: that a) professional wrestling was embarrassing because it was fake and the wrestling fan was an idiot for not understanding this, despite gladly acknowledging it any chance they had, and b) all those working in professional wrestling were performing on a show for children. The idea behind ECW was that they would explicitly define their show as one for adults, with a hard-R rating, and use profanity, sex, and violence as a means to achieve this end.

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It Used to be Better: The Death of Masculinity in Professional Wrestling

“If you take a thing apart or modify it, there are certain aspects which must remain intact for it to retain its identity. Without certain parts, it becomes something else.”

So it’s a lazy Sunday night, I did my dishes, tidied up, and I’ve got some time to kill. Time to hunker down in front of my TV and let the clown and puppet show melt my brain when it occurs to me- it’s a pay-per-view Sunday, brother!

The pro-wrestling pay-per-view Sunday was a highlight of my childhood. Months of intricate story lines, peppered with plot twists, met with my own, personal, mental preparation for the big day which would ultimately culminate in…. nothing. My parents weren’t going pay for a play-fighting television show (“pay for TV!?”).

But those times when I carefully wore away their resolve with begging and pleading- usually with highly detailed explanations of all the moments that led to this happening, where on this particular Sunday night everything would be coming to a head, and nothing would ever be the same in the entire world (wrestling federation).

I needed to be in front of my aging 27″ to take it all in… and those times where they yielded to my lust for staged grappling were fucking beautiful.

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