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By Jesse Utz 

A Man's Soap Opera

Jess Shut Up

 


Back when I was younger, (yes, that long ago), I found something on television that would change my Saturday-morning cartoon watching forever. If I got up early enough I could watch the Lone Ranger (in black and white) and Sergeant Preston before Bugs Bunny and Road Runner came on. Then one day I got up extra early. Whammo, my imagination was changed forever.

Names like Hulk Hogan and Super Fly Snuka became legends in a child’s mind, leading to new games and characters to pretend you were. Sergeant Slaughter and Tommy “Wild Fire” Rich became the things to watch, and of course back then it was all real to me and my brother. The storylines were straight out of a testosterone-driven soap opera that kept me coming back again and again.

The Legion of Doom, the Road Warriors were my favorite and always will be. Hawk and Animal were a no-nonsense tag team that did not care who you were; if you stood between them and the belt, you were going to get beat up. “What a Rush” could be heard echoing in the streets of Electric City on those early morning Saturdays as my brother and I argued over who was going to be Animal and who was going to be Hawk.

Of course, later we realized that professional wrestling was for entertainment and was mostly staged for the viewers. But that did not stop us at all. The personalities of the athletes got more intense and the storylines got very strange, but it was our soap opera. It became a sport, just like baseball and football; we knew the stats, we rented the videos and went to the arenas.

We did become adults eventually. I know that is still debatable. And we grew apart from the addiction of WWF and WWE. But secretly, on occasion, I would still tune in to see what was happening. Amazingly, some of our heroes were still there, battling the new breed of wrestling. Ric Flair was still a champ, Hogan, Savage and Sting still making a name for themselves in the squared circle. But new names had emerged, and once again taken things to a new level. The Rock, Steve Austin, Triple HHH and Undertaker were now the drama of choice. Storylines were getting even weirder, and it seemed women wrestling had become the highlight most of the time.

Even today, I will go to YouTube, and watch those old great matches of the past. Road Warriors versus The Free Birds, Hulk Hogan versus Ultimate Warrior, Shawn Michaels versus Bret Hart. Then there are our heroes wgi have passed: Hawk from LOD, Macho Man, Kamala and many, many others. It seems that pro wrestling has a dark side. Steroids, body abuse, addictions of choice, and mental problems have afflicted many of the past heroes of the sport, and it continues today.

My time in front of the TV with my family will always be a treasure for me. Watching the great man’s soap opera with a hope and a dream. Seeing an underdog come up through the ranks and grab the bull by the horns and achieve the greatness due to him. Or hearing an entire stadium chant “Goldberg.” Or seeing a man, dressed in black with face paint, drop from the rafters with a baseball bat to save his fallen comrade. Yep, time to go back to my youth and watch some old-school professional wrestling. That’s my Young and the Restless. I’m just saying.

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