In the previous edition of this column, I explained my dilemma regarding professional wrestling fandom. No matter how hard I try, I’ve never been able to come up with a concise answer to the question ” Who is your favorite professional wrestler?” These two column have been attempts to go back and figure out who exactly were my favorite wrestlers during time periods of my life. Consider this like a romantic comedy, except I’m not Anna Ferris and I’m not going to end up running away with Koko B Ware in the end. Where we last left off, I was eleven years old and entering a brand new decade….
2001, 2002 Rob Van Dam
I hate him now, but was there anybody cooler then Rob Van Dam in the early 200s? At that time, I was getting to be a teenager and therefore I needed to rebel against everything. How dare the security guards at the mall discriminate against me because I dress like an idiot? Why do all these kids at high school think they’re so cool? Why won’t my mom let me do whatever I want? You know the standard pubescent rage at nothing important. I did what I could to rebel, and most of it was pretty stupid and lackluster. The only one I still enjoy was the night I dyed my hair blonde and went to the mall dressed in polo with a cardigan sweater around my neck. It was some sort of weird Andy Kaufman; defy the expectations, form of rebellion thing. It was dumb, but it planted the seeds for how much of a smartass I would be in later years. Anyways, I was searching for Rebellion at every turn, and I had just caught the tail end of ECW with ECW on TNN. I had watched a lot of episodes, but it’s time slot was so awful that I never really got fully hooked onto it. Even back then, ECW had already achieved a mythical status as this magical company that was “real”. So when Rob Van Dam and Tommy Dreamer jumped over the guardrails and attacked Kane and Chris Jericho, I leeched myself onto their rebellious nature.
I was looking for a rebel, and Rob Van Dam made Tracy Smothers look like Frank Gotch (Confederacy joke). Like a spin kicking James Dean, RVD was always calm, collected and ridiculous in the ring. RVD got over by being RVD and all the good and bad that came with it. RVD broke people’s noses, botched spots, and shit on segments all in a wonderful manner. The great part of RVD was that by being so calm and collected, it made his moments of anger that much more awesome. He was the only face member of the Alliance because the crowd just adored him. When you’re a teenager, guys like Rob Van Dam in 2001 are who you aspired to be. Who didn’t want to be that cool? Rob Van Dam was this California stoner who did flips, it was tremendous. I wanted to be Rob Van Dam more than anything in 2001. On the other hand as a college grad, RVD in 2011 is nothing I would aspire to be.
2003, 2004 Chris Benoit
Before he German suplexed his credibility, Chris Benoit was the man. Right around the end of 2002, I cut ties with my entire group of friends because I was sick of them. I was sick of being rebellious and always being miserable so I called an audible. I decided that it was time to find myself a new group of friends. I decided this at the end of a school year, so that meant I shut myself in for a summer. If Netflix instant was around then, I would have ditched my friends far sooner and probably never bothered for new ones. It was super boring being in my house all summer, so I spent most days riding my bike to the public library to use the internet. Keep in mind in 2002, there was basically nothing to do on the internet so I had to find a way to kill time. Enter rajahwwf.com.
I joined that site and the forums, and it was that day I entered the world of smark culture. I didn’t even know that Smackdown was taped before that time in my life. I remember I found out and called my best friend to tell him results. When it came to smark culture, Chris Benoit reigned as king of the internet wrestling fan. Ironically after my rebellion against society, I desperately wanted to fit in to wrestling fan culture. Much like Wikipedia, I assumed they knew more than I did and I believed everything these people said. As far as they were concerned, Chris Benoit was the greatest of all time and I would be hard pressed to disagree. In a weird way, loving Chris Benoit was part of me trying to fit in. I of course refused to sacrifice my dignity at High School, but I would march on the orders of Dave Meltzer for sure. Chris Benoit winning the title at Wrestlemania did have an emotional effect on me, but I feel like it’s been overhyped a bit over time. Much like the legendary Willie Mays catch, it’s awesome but I feel like there have been more significant personal moments for me since.
2005 to Present….. C.M. Punk
I had originally broken down every year, from 2004 to onward with several different wrestlers. Jimmy Jacobs, Kevin Steen, El Generico, and Daniel Bryan had all taken solid runs and I deemed them worthy of an individual year each. However, the more I tried to write about them the more I realized that while they were possibly my favorite in ring performers, they weren’t my favorite complete package. One man basically has captivated my attention from the time I was 17 years old. When I was 17 years old, I was a complete and utter fuckup. Honestly, I still think about things I did and shudder like an anorexic in a cold breeze. To be fair, I’m still kind of a fuckup now but I learned to grow facial hair and wear Backstreet Boys shirts which helps. I really didn’t have that many friends, and I pretty much shut myself out from most people. I was an idiot, plain and simple. I wasn’t going to do this but because I care about the readers so much allow me to show you exactly how dumb I was.
In a Livejournal post on March 25th 2005 I wrote
Whoa nyquil has kicked in…fun
Damn…why can’t I just hang out with people…everyone has a freakin job and is working this weekend…GHEY
Got a letter from Mark from the army….He seems to be doing okay and doesn’t seem to have changed much
Some quotes from Army Boy Mark
“I get to use the hand grenades and blow shit up…YAY”
” grenades are fun. and loud. and fun”
America…this is the future of your military….greatness
Rehearsal tommorow from 1-4…not really fun because once again kills chance for me to hang out
History work almost done…SUnday shalt be Math work
Cattle Mutilation….such a sweet move to put on people
Well I’m Hussing Out….so HUSS
Aside from the obvious typos and improper format, everything I said makes me cringe. The Huss things stems from an inside joke at my high school which will be another column for another day. I can’t deal looking at my insignificant problems or the pompous way of speaking in that post. This kid didn’t have a job or any real troubles, but just makes some up for himself. To be honest I still do the same thing, and I have a bad habit of running my mouth to get into trouble.
Just like C.M Punk (Boom, Segway)
CM Punk was the band I was super into. While everyone else was all about The Vines, or The Hives, I was all about CM Punk. CM Punk was the unsigned band that nobody in Carver Massachusetts knew about. I also knew CM Punk wouldn’t sell out and perform duets with pop starlets, just penetrate them. CM Punk was an arrogant prick who lived his life however he wanted. He would bury people in shoot interviews, try to fight fans and caused mayhem wherever he went. CM Punk was finally a chance for teenage Ben Pasco to look up to somebody on his own accord. Much like a band, I attached myself and well I’ve been on board ever since. I tried to be straightedge even, but if you read my twitter anytime after 9PM you’re more than likely aware how quickly that fell off. I fall off the wagon more frequently than a balance challenged toddler in a Radio Flyer. I could go on and on about CM Punk, but I’ve written so much about the due that it’s begun to bother me. However, being a fan of his did pay dividends this summer when everybody collectively realized how awesome he was. I started getting texts and messages from friends who had shit on him for years all with a realization of how tremendous he was.
I was CM Punk or Halloween last year, some thirteen years after me and my best friend got in a fight over who could be Sting for Halloween. Despite how much I’ve grown up over the years, I’m still kind of a little kid. I’ve been debating on being Punk again for Halloween and growing my mustache. Well, it’s down to either Punk or going for broke and being Zack
Ryder. It seems like much like a toys r’ us kid, I will never grow up and I enjoy action figures.
I guess from Bret Hart to CM Punk, it was all about me looking for heroes in professional wrestling. It was about people who do the things I can’t or live the ways I want to. Bret Hart was all about morality and overcoming the odds with skill. CM Punk was about overcoming the odds by destroying the world around him in the process. Everyone’s favorite wrestlers have that element of admiration in them. A lot of people lose their heroes as a kid, but me I kept evolving them. I guess aside from the sideburns and pubic hair, not much has changed for me since I was four years old. I wanted to be as cool as RVD or as good a wrestler as Benoit. I longed to be as an underdog like Foley or a superhero like Sting. Now with CM Punk as my favorite wrestler, I guess the lesson on who I want to be is…..myself.
As for my favorite wrestler of all time, I can’t really decide that. It’s too difficult and I’ve changed too much year from year. You know what……. ……let’s just say not Ian Rotten.
Ian Rotten is not my favorite wrestler of all time.
That way, everybody is happy,
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