I have fond memories of watching professional wrestling with my Dad, and the obvious enjoyment that it gave him. Characters like the Iron Sheikh, Rowdy Roddy Piper, Jesse The Body Ventura, Captain Lou Albano, and George the Animal Steele (fave move/prop – eating the stuffing out of a car seat) garishly graced the small screen at our house on Saturday mornings. Even GLOW, the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, paraded their conflicts and costumes for our amusement.
Since those childhood days, I haven’t paid a lot of attention to professional wrestling in its various current incarnations. Some years back, I met a guy who actually knew the Iron Sheikh, who he reported had retired from wrestling and owned a couple of Persian carpet stores in New Jersey. This made me happy.
Other than that like I said it’s mostly off my radar, except to see ads on TV for upcoming bouts and exaggerated rivalries. Last night though I was compelled to watch part of the WWE 2011 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, which took place in Atlanta.
I’m sorry to say I wasn’t aware previously that there was a WWE Hall of Fame. I enjoyed the fact that the people in the front rows, the superstars if you will, dressed as if they were going to the Academy Awards, with the women in long gowns and everything … but aside from the first couple of rows, the dress code was “professional wrestling match.”
On this occasion they were inducting the following:
The Road Warriors, a trio composed of Hawk and Animal. And some guy named Paul. One of them, Hawk or Animal, had passed away, and could not be there for the ceremony. However, his brothers in arms brought a teeny action figure of the dearly departed, and placed him on the lectern. Everyone clapped and cheered for the action figure, and for a moment I thought he/it might get a standing ovation.
Drew Carey, who was billed as “legendary television personality” – legendary, really? We might be overselling it a little bit here. But then again, hyperbole is the bread and butter of professional wrestling, right? And who doesn’t like The Drew Carey Show, Whose Line is It Anyway and the Price is Right. Anyway, Drew apparently hosted and/or appeared on a previous WWE broadcast, in a natty tracksuit.
Third inductee – Let’s be honest, my attention span isn’t that long. I changed the channel. But as always, the genius of pro wrestling is its ability to promote itself, and the whole show was geared at selling the WWE video game, and promoting an upcoming fight. I mean not to mock pro wrestling, but the jury is still out on which is better, the WWE guys or the Luchadores...