My Own Spiritual Brutality: An Essay Regarding 80’s-Era WWF Wrestling, By Wild Al

 

I grew up watching professional wrestling pretty much my whole entire
childhood. I watched as many of the different promotional leagues as
possible. NWA, AWA, WWC, WCW, and what used to known as the WWF. From
the time I was 3 to about the age of 9, I was most consumed by the
WWF. This to me has always been the premiere wrestling league, much to
the chagrin of some hardcore wrestling fans. Every sport has rivalry.
Professional Wrestling has the heathiest of any. A lot has changed
over the years, for example the WWF is now the WWE, due to a lawsuit
in 2000 from a British organization calling itself the World Wildlife
Fund. WWE stands for World Wrestling Entertainment and the thought of
mentioning those two words together in the same sentences as a kid was
a big fuck you to the sport. Young and old fans alike would have to
agree with me.

As far back as I can remember my first thoughts involving television
and fantasy combined, diffidently involved wrestling. My real life (TV
Viewing) mostly centered around a few cartoons, a few
situation-comedies directed to adults, the Three Stooges, and a few movies
here and there. I didn’t start watching horror films and science
fiction films and similar related material until I was way past 9 years
old. It was in in the year 1987, when I finally saw Top Gun with my
cousin Tina in the theater that I finally felt real comfortable in my
taste. In the back of my head I always knew First Blood was way better
then E.T., and Mad Max was the greatest movie ever mad, but was way to
timid to reveal these things out loud in fear that someone would
finally realize I wasn’t white but truly Puerto Rican. My Grandfather
Jose taught me and my bother to respect fighters. Growing up in a
Puerto Rican household you had too. There was no other choice. Hector
Macho Camacho was way cooler to me and my brother then Luke Sky Walker
ever was. And I still believe this. My family hardly ever went to the
movies. We stayed in and ordered Pay-Per-View or watched Prism. That
was how we did it. Even my grandmother would sit with us and watch a
boxing match. But it was mostly wrestling that I lusted over. The
wonderful exaggerated full contact sport that spun my head around. It
was a theater of action, drama, sketch comedy, and pain! Professional
wrestling had it all for me. A boiling-pot of influences taken from
everywhere and everyone. An ancient art form of magic borrowing from
news headlines, popular culture, stereotypical redneck society,
inner-city ghetto stereotypes, music, superheroes, comic books,
martial arts, bar-room style bars, mythology, folklore, low brow art
and B-movies. Now when I watch wrestling I sense the impact of Horror,
Sci-Fi, Hip-Hop and Video Games.  What always amazed me and still does
to this day, was how all these ideas were combined into making a new
Advant-Garde Theater. An intense and beautiful cultural detritus that
could give open-minded Historian or Sociologist an intellectual
hard-on! Every week wrestling would become larger and more important
to me. Building into to a huge spectacular extravagant pinata ready to
burst,  a grab-bag of capitalism, acted out for people all over
throughout the world by a cast of one-of-a-kind larger then life
personalities, more passionate and unique then say the 1991 Chicago
Bulls minutes before defeating the Los Angles Lakers in Game 5 of the
NBA Championships. That’s whats always amazed me about Wrestling Was
the faith in Fantasy! The faith in knowing something spectacular was
about to happen in a ring between two guys! Something beyond anything
you could do. Something louder then the screaming fans, the explosives
and fireworks, the signature moves and costumes, steel chairs, and
wooden tables being slammed. You knew no matter how much you would
prefer in your heart to walk down the street and witness some Good-Guy
who’s finally fed up with shit done to him by the Assholes in this
world, to finally get the chance and the nerve to believe himself
enough to to leg drop some annoying ass motherfucker in the head right
there in the middle of the sidewalk and then pin his head onto
asphalt, the only place you knew you could see that with friends and
strangers outside of say a North Philadelphia, was on TV! And the only
thing better then watching a great fight, is talking about it! Talking
about it on the way to school!

One of my favorite pastimes as a child was being alone with friends
watching TV. Especially professional wrestling. The experience for me
had the intensity only matched by the possibility of celebrating my
Birthday, Christmas Morning, the First day of Summer and the Last day
of school, all together at once. Watching wrestling with friends meant
I had the chance to yell and cheer at the TV with friends and to
finally connect with the world inside the tube like a real life
sporting event at home. We made  fun of all the bozo wrestlers, booed
at the wimps, and cheered for the champs while throwing fake punches,
kicks, and head locking each other on to the ground until someone
started crying or yelled mercy. It felt great to suffocate your
friends and then an hour later head over to 711 and buy ice cold glass
bottles of fruit punch Gatorade and talk about model cars. You were
wrestling. What else did you think the Junk Yard Dog and Sgt.
Slaughter did on the weekends at home? Paint patio furniture like your
dad?

An interesting part of going over a friends house for backyard or
indoor wrestling was even the poorest most ghetto ass member in your
crew or in the neighborhood was invited because he too had something
important  to contribute to the gods.  Plus kids that came up poor,
and trained with very little social skills were the best tag team
partners cause they new all the moves, only the pros used by heart and
by instinct. It was like having an African Ninja on your team. Poor
kids knew that anyone who wrestled with toys was an idiot. If you’re
gonna have a battle rumble, all you needed where the two things your
momma gave you, a body and some muscle. With friends you could openly
imitate your favorite wrestlers. And everyone had thier own. There no
were rules in play that insisted you had to stay with a wrestler from
a specific promotional company. For example if you wanted to be Ric
Flair, or one of the Von Erichs, who didn’t wrestle in the WWF at the
time, you were open to. That didn’t mean you garnered anymore respect
for picking some obscure bum, it just meant, we as kids were open
minded enough to accept the idea of crossovers. This helped me out a
lot. There was only room for one Hulk Hogan and needless to say that
was me. I needed Hulk-A-Mania more in my life then anyone I knew. Even
more the poor kids. They could grab a two-by-four laying around on the
street and pretend to be Hacksaw Jim Dugan. That was not my style.

There is so much to the art and business of wrestling I failed to
understand as a kid. Certain suttle nuances that make you a great
warrior. Things I’ve learned over the years I’m wiling to discuss, if
this topic interests people. My favorite part of wrestling on the
weekends with friends was not only being able to show off my homemade
cardboard belt, decorated with with aluminum foil and fake gold leaf,
as well as being able to wear a torn up red t-shirt and run around the
room or backyard in crazy circles, to my brother’s metal tapes it was
mimicking signature moves and catch phrases that inspired fear! It was
cool to make your voice sound like a professional wrestler. It was so
bad ass to act as those you were being interviewed and how you were
going to kick this guys ass, this way and that way, and how nothing on
earth could stop you, and if anyone in the whole world thought for one
second they could, you were gonna meet them one on one in the middle
of the ring if they cared to, if they were willing to put their money
where their mouths were, and have them beg for mercy and call you
their God! Man I tell you if you did it well enough, you could scare
the shit out of yourself, and your friends at the same time. You felt
the Warrior power flowing through your veins! Every important wrestler
had a distinct finishing move, mine was designed to challenge myself
and impress my friends by jumping off the very top of my Grandfather’s
couch downstairs in his home. Mind you, I could never attempt this now
in my wildest dreams, but back then I could jump up as high as I could
in the air almost launching myself into a wide open swan dive then do
half a frontward flip while preparing to deliver a massive elbow drop
on to a pile of 4 or 5 pillows stacked together. Then go immediately
in to a dual role of referee and opponent, by slamming my arm onto the
ground several times while yelling out loud the pin count, 1! 2! 3!
While doing my best to portray my fictitious opponent as an admirable
foe by moving around the old stack of pillows with my unseen left arm.
It was magic!!! I would precede to raise up from my victory and
imagine a referee holding my one arm high up in the air! Nothing beat
the double satisfaction then, of having a close friend hand me my
homemade cardboard heavyweight championship belt while my mind drifted
off imagining the sounds of hundreds of thousands screaming fans
chanting my name HULK! HULK! HULK! Applauding my victory! It was
ritualistic and wild to tap into that amount of psychical bodily
graffiti. Every child should learn to wrestle with pillows. As a child
it allowes you to contemplate triumph and defeat in mythical terms. It
is a mental Walk-About! All I ever wanted to do was worship the gods
on TV by paying homage to their greatness while at the same time
taping into my own spiritual brutality.

Very Little is known about wrestling due to the up most secrecy of the
business and its performers. Very few hard to find good books have
been written on the genre. Certain topics are almost taboo to discuss
among die-hard fans. Its amazing what little informative essays are
written online discussing the craft. But one day things will change.
My uncle Pepe once told me that professional wrestling would one day
replace Olympic wrestling in the summer games, and I believe him. Just
as long as people keep tuning in on to Professional Wrestling on TV
and continue backyard fighting, there’s going to be Wrestle- Manics
everywhere! Man will be wrestling with each other until the end of
time.

My Times Up Now! I Hope Enjoyed The Photos. Until
Next Time! Keep It Real Brothers And Sisters! I’ll Be Retuning Soon
Enough To talk About One Of The Strangest Sagas To Ever Grace The
World Wrestling Federation. That Of The The Ultimate Warrior!!!

Here’s a You Tube sample of things to come…

Load the Spaceship Up With The Rocket Fuel! Load It Up With The Warriors!

You Are Now Entering The World Of The Warrior!

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3 thoughts on “My Own Spiritual Brutality: An Essay Regarding 80’s-Era WWF Wrestling, By Wild Al

  1. The craziest thing that I found in doing the E-search for the photo’s for Al’s amazing essay is that Philadelphia — the Spectrum in particular — was pretty much the bedrock of the WWF for nearly two decades. Almost every major event they put on took place there. I haven’t run WWF trivia by anyone here in Portland but I BET they don’t have nearly as fond memories as we Philly-area-born folks do.

    I’m really happy with this whole new Other-Side-Of-The-Eighties theme we’re going with here. The whole point is to debunk Current Hipsters’ ideas of what it Actually Was Like. The people who wore the clothes these kids like, the people who listened to the music these kids like, SUCKED. The truth is in the oddball media. Ben Warfield, I’m looking at YOU for the D&D essay.

    Also on the plate for the near future: 80’s Horror, 80’s Sci-Fi, 80’s Metal, and of course, motherfucking NINTENDO.

    And then Sierra, Electronic Arts, Origin, that stuff. We’ve got a lot of ground to cover!

    Bard’s Tale!

  2. Isn’t Oregon one of the states that won’t allow professional wrestling. Or is it Washington. Might explain for the lack of fliers.

  3. Pacific Northwest Wresting (PNW) was a Portland, Oregon based professional wrestling company. It was the Northwest territory of the National Wrestling Alliance, and as such saw many of the top names in the business come though on a regular basis. Founded by Don Owen, it was considered one of the main territories from the 1960s to the 1980s.

    For years, PNW broadcast its 90-minute TV program Portland Wrestling on KPTV in Portland on Saturday nights; the program was also syndicated to the rest of Oregon and Washington in an edited 60-minute version known as Big Time Wrestling. Following a slowdown in the wrestling business during the early 1990s and a declaration of bankruptcy by Portland Wrestling’s main sponsor (which led to the show ending production in December 1991 and being replaced by syndicated WWF programming), PNW was forced to close its doors in July 1992.

    In late 2000, Pacific Northwest Wrestling reopened its doors as Portland Wrestling. They initially had programming on KPTV, and later had their programming aired on local cable access television and have had one Pay Per View. The promotion has taken on a more “extreme” style in the vein of ECW and CZW. Their programming is currently on hiatus while they seek a new TV deal. Unlike the previous version of PNW/Portland Wrestling, the current incarnation of PW is not an NWA member.

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