There’s usually some sort of bustle on the floor in my dorm on Monday nights. My roommate’s focus is Top Chef, while my friend Allison used to be utterly devoted to Prison Break (she dropped it in favor of Pushing Daisies, which should be back soon!). Heroes used to be playing in at least three rooms on our meager 9-room floor. But my girlfriend and I, from 9 until about 11 (sometimes 11:05 or even 11:10), are otherwise occupied. All year ‘round. What on earth could we be watching that doesn’t end the season at some point?
Wrestling. Monday Night Raw, specifically.
I used to watch wrestling and play the games with my cousin. I didn’t really get into it a whole lot; I though everyone looked kind of weird, aside from that Shawn Michaels dude. Okay, he was kind of weird too, but not like Hulk Hogan weird. I liked The Rock, too; he made me laugh. But I didn’t watch anything regularly. I only watched it with my cousin when I was over at his house and it was on, or he wanted to show me a VHS (throwback!) or something similar. My mom HATED wrestling and wouldn’t let me watch it at home, even if I wanted to.
I dropped out of the WWE (then WWF, but changed because the real WWF threw a hissy fit. I still think it’s be great to throw the Rock and a panda in a steel cage match together) for a pretty long time once I stopped hanging with my cousin. It wasn’t until I came to college that the girl who was then just my good friend somehow managed to get me to watch Raw.
Part of me was rather displeased. I didn’t really want to watch mostly-naked sweaty men beating the crap out of each other in a ri… okay, maybe I did. But I didn’t want to deal with the stupid backstage segments and interviews on stag… no, no, those were my favorite parts. It became an almost every weekly thing. Then it became a sacred zone; no one even talked to me on Monday at nine, because they knew I was too busy cheering on John Cena or laughing at DX’s “sophomoric antics”.
It sounds stupid, but you get really wrapped up in the storylines and characters. Yeah, characters. Wrestling on the “plot” side is fake. All of the matches and most of the conversations are scripted. But they’re scripted well (most of the time; we won’t talk about when the CEO of the WWE, Vince McMahon, supposedly blew up in his own limo. He faked it for the attention, it turned out), and it plays out more like violent improv.
Yeah, punches and kicks get pulled sometimes. But a lot of times, they don’t, and these guys (and girls! WWE Divas – especially the current rougher ones like Beth Phoenix and Mickie James and the retired ones like Lita and Trish Stratus – could probably kick your ass) really do hurt themselves. A lot. Broken bones, dislocated shoulders, ripped ACLs, repeated concussions…you name it, it’s probably happened, especially to the old timers. And once you get caught up in storylines, you tend to ignore the fact that it’s “fake”, anyway.
Now, wrestling isn’t for everyone. My mom still hates and still refuses to watch it with me. I tend to get dirty looks when she walks by and sees me sitting on the edge of my couch. But if you’ve got the time, you should tune in to USA one Monday night. Don’t worry if you don’t really understand what’s happening; that was how I was, too. You might need to watch a few shows before it starts to grow on you. I’d say after about three, you’ll know whether or not you were meant to be a WWE fan.
But for your own safety, if you’re otherwise occupied on a Monday night, I’m going to have to ask you to leave a message after the beep.