So why did I stop watching wrestling?
The main reason was that my parents cancelled Sky Sports which cut off my access to the PPVs. Not that I minded too much, this was in the time of the Lex Express which is not known as a high point of wrestling.
I came back in the late 90s just in time for WrestleMania 2000 and the demise of WCW. This was thanks to Channel 4 in the UK showing the non-big PPVs for free on a Sunday night.
Then they stopped, and at the same time my favourite wrestling column on IGN finished up so so again I fell off the radar.
Now both of these times weren’t a case of “I’m done!”, throwing my Bushwhackers t-shirt into a bin and striding off down an alleyway in the rain. It was more a case of not being able to keep up easily so I just moved on to something else.
Then came marriage, a child and a long period without internet. Wrestling was something that I liked in principal but was consigned to the past.
So what drew me back in? Twitter in the first instance. It seeing people tweet about PPVs, talking about names that I didn’t recognise: Swagger, Punk, Miz. That tweaked my interest again.
Then came the pipe bomb and The Rock.
To take them in order:
I had no idea who CM Punk was. His was a name that I saw in passing, then people started going nuts about this promo where he let loose like it was a proper shoot. So I found it.
I found a promo of a man who looked genuinely at the end of his tether, someone who was pressed up against a glass ceiling. Or a glass Cena-ling? Even as a lapsed WWF fan I knew who Cena was, he was the big marquee name and the one that was always booked at the top even when it made no sense.
As Punk sat there and laid it out I was, first the first time in a long while, mesmerised by a wrestler. Say what you like about him but, my God, there are very few people as good on the stick as Punk. And he was going for this like he’d never be allowed back onto TV ever again. It was amazing.
So that happened, but when I looked into Punk I saw the video for The Rock returning to Raw. The pop when his music hit was immense, it felt exciting. Wrestling was exciting, I had forgotten that. The buzz of the music, the crowd, the stories that could only be told in a squared circle.
April rolled round then I downloaded WrestleMania XXVIII as soon as I could. Not proud of that but with no access to Sky what else was there to do?
The show wasn’t stunning overall but there were still good highlights; being introduced to Daniel Bryan, despite it being brief. Jericho versus CM Punk. Taker versus Triple H. The Rock. It wasn’t a stunning show but that didn’t matter.
I had the taste again. I was back in.