Friday, April 11, 2014

As time passes so must our time here on Earth

What up Party People,
          This past Sunday I sat down at my laptop and began a journey into the black hole of time known as YouTube. I had an idea of what I wanted to look at but as anyone knows with YouTube, you can start by looking at movie trailers and end up watching gross videos of zit lancings.
           This night I managed to stay focused and find the videos I was looking for, The WWE Hall of Fame speeches. Why the hell would I want to watch these? What am I , eight years old?
           When it comes to wrestling a part of me still is! I make no apologies for this love as at this point in time I think we all have guilty pleasures and this is one of mine. Granted I know that professional wrestling is a work (or fake for those not familiar with the lingo) but as with most forms of entrainment I enjoy the good vs evil aspect of the storytelling. It's classic, a part of history as is the stories of out favorite movies.
           There were a few speeches I really wanted to see, Mr.T was being inducted in the celebrity category for his work in Wrestlemania 2, If you haven't seen it yet Mr.T basically spoke about how much he loved his mother, a heartfelt speech that you could tell came from his core. This wasn't what I was interested in seeing though. There were two inductees that had a dark story to tell, Scott Hall (aka Razor Ramon) and Jake "The Snake" Roberts.
           These two men were considered to be two of the most dramatic train wrecks when it came to their own personal lives. If you look on YouTube you can see an HBO special of Scott Hall when he was at his worst, at a local promotion ,just out of surgery yet getting into the ring and getting the tar knocked out of him. He looked frail,week, not the tower of machismo that we remembered him in the 90's.
           As for Jake you can watch the documentary Beyond the Mat and the film goes into the live of Jake Roberts, a former superstar then turned crack addict and over all sleazy guy.
           Why did I want to see there speeches so badly? It's because I know something about living this life and finding myself being someone I didn't want to be. I know about lying so often to everyone around you, most deceptively lying to myself. It's a terrifying place to be in because in one's own heart you'll never know if you mean anything you say, believe anything you feel, or trust anyone who says they care about you.
          These men have made great progress in their recoveries that I feel a great deal of inspiration from their stories. You can watch their progress on DDP's channel ,also on YouTube.
          I think another reason I love watching their stories is because when I look at some of their old matches, some of their greatest moments in their careers I feel bad knowing that at that time of that performance that their lives were in turmoil. I know a lot of other artists might look down on professional wrestling but those men are just like us, they might not be poets or musicians but they live for the same thing we do, entertaining the crowd. Imagine if Mark Hamill really lost his hand in Empire Strikes Back? Or how about this example, Brandon Lee, who actually died for a movie. There is a certain level of guilt hidden in the admiration for watching something so great yet knowing that it came a such a great price.
            Life is shoot but I think deep down I wanted their suffering to be a work. Well it isn't, or wasn't. Jake Roberts and Scott Hall have had a great journey and are at a good point in their lives that I think watching their stories provides us with a good look into the nature of man, if you haven't already listen to their tale, I think you'll get a lot out of them.
            Ok I got a little off topic here, I started this blog wanting to talk about one of my childhood heroes of wrestling, The Ultimate Warrior (aka James Hellwig). I remember the first time I saw him on t.v. It was on the Saturday wrestling show back in Lucerne valley. He was huge,intense, and totally metal! This was the perfect ingredient for someone I could get behind. He ran to the ring at full charge and shook the ropes as if the adrenaline that pumped in his veins was about to explode and engulf the whole stadium in ablaze of fire and glory.
            I remember one late Saturday night my Dad had come home (he worked the swing shift at the plant he worked at). He usually would watch t.v with my mom for a bit when he got home, Saturday Night Live was off this week which meant wrestling would be on. Normally I would be asleep at this time but I woke up to my Dad laughing so I got up and in an surprise move my Dad said I could stay up and watch wrestling! This was amazing as I rarely got to spend time with him like this. The next match up was supposed to be the IC champ The Honkey Tonk Man defending his title against Brutus the Barber Beefcake. The problem was that Brutus was injured and couldn't be in the match. There was supposed to be a surprise wrestler to which the Honkey Tonk Man didn't care who it was because he was ,"The Greatest of All Time". That's when Warrior's music came on!
            I jumped out of my seat! I felt my adrenaline spike as Warrior ran down to the ring and into the ring, the match was over in a few minutes with the Warrior victorious and that night was forever etched into my heart and soul.
           As years went on my interest in wrestling ebbed and waned. There were other great moments for me but none like that night from a young kid's perspective. A few years ago I did a search for the Warrior on the net and found his website as well as his YouTube videos. I found a man who had an intense philosophy about life and a strong opinion about the world, sadly I didn't agree with a lot of it but that's not what this is about. From what I had read i feel the Warrior was a no nonsense kind of guy, either you will or you wont kind of mentality. That works for many people but for a guy like me I can't just see things in black or white, I have to see as much grey area in anything as I can before I make a move. Granted his way was much simpler and way more effective but while we can follow the same basic principles in this life the odds of us living this life the same way are very slim. As a result I stopped paying attention to the Warrior as someone I didn't agree with.
          In the coming years the WWE would make a documentary on the Warrior and everything he did wrong with the business. It was pretty brutal, I'm not sure if it's up on netflix still but it was if anything,entertaining.
          There was one speech I was on the fence of wanting to watch during the Hall of Fame and it was his. I didn't know if he was going to shoot on the business or just go on a rant. What I saw was a man being as honest with the world as much as he was with himself. If you look at the in-ring performance of the Warrior vs someone like Ric Flair or Shawn Micheals you will see a great difference in the way they "sell: the match. That's not what important for this blog, what was important was the way James Hellwig "sold" the Warrior before he got into the ring. I think he saw something that he had created which became bigger than himself. An ideal, a path for those who were lost. If you watch his speech he starts off with thanking his mom for raising him and his siblings after his Dad had left him. At the core of any young man's life all we want is the love and knowledge of our fathers, I think he was no different. I think The Warrior was in some part what he wanted to have as a father growing up, some one who was strong,an inspiration, some who could guide him. That's what he gave a lot of us when we were young and had lost our fathers too soon.
            He had said something towards the end of his speech,and I'm paraphrasing here, but if we can be that special someone inside the ring, there is no reason we can't be that outside of the ring. That's what he did with his philosophy which he continued to spread long after his WWE career had ended, he wouldn't leave his fans like his father left him. What a way to spend a life. What a way indeed.
           The very next Monday he would give one more speech to his fans on Monday Night Raw, saying thanks for their support, giving us one last message of a true Warrior before leaving this world less than 24 hours later.

Thanks for making your life mean something, the lesson will not go unnoticed sir!

Till next time Party People,
Keep on a Chooglin!