A Look Back (The Beginning)...

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Seeing how wrestling fans are typically very nostalgic, I thought I would take a look back to the "glory days" for some of us. I consider the "glory days" for me as those times that wrestling felt like magic, the times that you will never forget, and the times where you simply couldn't wait for the next show. First, I would like to share a bit of my background. Some of you may know me as "Moose" from the discussions on several posts. Most commonly, I try to be a frequent flyer on the Raw Open Thread. If you haven't joined us in there, get in there because it's a ton of fun! I try not to take myself too seriously as my posts suggest. Life is too short as they say. I also don't consider myself a writer. I've never written anything on a public level such as this and I just hope to achieve the same level of professionalism (in my own way) as other fellow writers on here.

Anyhow, my first taste of professional wrestling was when I was a third grader in the South. All the popular kids were talking about the last show they had seen and what their favorite wrestler had done. Several of the kids were, naturally, trying different moves on each other and I just knew I would be a guinea pig very soon. I was still "the new kid" even though I had been at the school well over a year. It didn't matter, though. I felt lost in the conversations they were having and it seemed to even be in a different language. Leg locks, arm bars, drop kicks, sleeper holds... what were these things?! I had to find some form of acceptance and I was on the verge of that discovery. My parents were very protective of me and I had to ask permission to watch something new. I used the excuse of "self defense" to begin a fandom that lasts to this day. I searched through the newspaper for TV listings, but I couldn't find a show ANYWHERE. I asked some of the kids at school, but they either refused to tell me or "wasn't sure." I was a little dejected, because I felt I was being left out of an exclusive club. Then it happened...

One night I was flipping through the cable box on top of the TV (manually, no remote in the late 80's) and I found a show called the Clash of the Champions. I didn't know if it was live or a repeat, but I didn't care. Apparently, I tuned in at the end of the show and it was time for the main event. A flamboyant man was in the ring in a luxurious robe wearing a gold belt and across from him was an equally colorful man wearing face paint and looked like Max Headroom. At the time, I had no idea I was watching the 60 minute (ok, 45 minute) classic between Sting and Ric Flair. I was enthralled with what I was watching. The announcers glamorized everything the wrestlers did, the crowd stood and yelled, and there was even a kid from The Wonder Years at ringside. I had briefly watched boxing with my father, but it was nothing like wrestling. They left the ring, interacted with the crowd, used more than punches, and were much more fun to watch than two boxers. I had never experienced anything this entertaining. In the end, neither won. It was a draw and Flair retained the championship. I just knew there had to be another match. They couldn't just let it hang like that could they?! Maybe by today's standards, it was just "so-so," but to an 8 year old in the late 80s, it was AMAZING. I HAD to see more.

Needless to say, I was hooked. I was able to talk to the popular kids at school the next day about what I had seen and became part of this exclusive little club. While I was still considered "the new kid," I finally started to fit in. I learned from my friends about upcoming shows and began watching semi-local shows too (Smokey Mountain Wrestling) when I was flipping though that TV top cable box. Little did I know, this was the beginning of the wrestling boom several people speak of. Looking back, I still can't believe my first match was between two greats in what some consider a classic wrestling match. Both wrestlers have stood the test of time, and some may argue they stood way past the test of time, but that's another topic. Well, that's a little peek into what brought Moose to the table nearly three decades ago. Hopefully, I can share more later as time allows. I want those reading this to take a look back to their first match or first show. What do you remember? What got you hooked? Feel free to share your experiences below. As always, y'all take care and have a great day!!

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