How To Watch Wrestling.

I make all sorts of noises when I’m watching wrestling.

Mainly vowels.

I watch a hilarious amount of comedy, and although I enjoy it beyond belief- I won’t be laughing for most of it.

I guess I just one of those quite quiet kinds of guy.

I am noisiest when I am involuntary.

And I am most involuntary when I am watching wrestling and I’m doing my ‘vowel-thing’.

Not just vowels though- because I’m a fan, and because I’m a fan I compliment and I criticise. And sometimes, like a true fan, I sometimes go quiet. Because…”ssshhhh”…I’m watching wrestling.

Sitting there, sometimes standing (I am excitable), I watch as I did as a child, focusing on the screen with such a willingness to let my eyes to lose their potency to see things at a distance that I required very strong glasses by the time I was eight and I’d become something of an expert. At least as much of an expert as someone that has no one to counter them can be. When you’re on your own, you’re normally correct purely as a matter of majority.

Now, first things first (which I hear is a fairly popular place to start), I am fully aware that wrestling is largely an act. The wrestlers don’t hate each other, the storylines (known as kayfabe) are…storyline…, and nobody is from a place called “Part Unknown”.

But I feel that the argument about the business being fake is redundant, OBVIOUSLY it is storyline and OBVIOUSLY (obviously enough for me to over-do CAPS LOCK) they aren’t trying to kill each other. They are, however, at times pushing themselves so close to danger that you could argue they are trying to kill themselves for your entertainment. The point is to NEARLY kill yourself; people will always like that about you.

The catalogue of injuries that a professional wrestler obtains throughout a brief career is extensive and, one would assume for a regular person, lifestyle changing. A blow to the knee like that would be something that men would tell each other whilst in a pub and promoting their appearance of manliness. It can work, but it is undoubtedly more manly to not refer to this at all, unless prompted to by others. This is what pro-wrestlers do. They don’t talk about it, they just suffer it and smile.

A specially designed steel chair being whammed into the head is something that most people could deal with, but afterwards they’d likely be allowed to go home from work, whereas wrestlers go to work to have this done to them, and although it is withstandable- it really, really hurts.

From what it would seem from some consequences, it might hurt so much that you strangle your family and leave a bible next to their bodies (for further info research BENOIT). Other times you might turn out like the world-famous (now perhaps more owing to movies than wrestling) actor Dwayne ‘The ROCK’ Johnson. He is healthy, wealthy and wise, and doesn’t look like he’s ever cut his own forehead open to make you happy. This process is known as ‘blading’, where a wrestler cuts his forehead to make the blood come out to the sound applause.

I have also watched local wrestling from the ringside, and enjoyed this enormously too, with the added spectacle of the more BRITISH side of wrestling which amounts more to size than muscle (these men’s skin wobbled a lot, but they consequently made everything else wobble even more).

It was here that you really appreciate the main formula for pro-wrestling. Kick him in the face as hard as you can, so that it is as loud as possible, whilst hurting him as little as possible. This happens nightly for some and all the training they can do is how to get kicked in the face and deal with it, and how to kick someone else in the face, whilst doing a flip (entirely necessary) and not hurting them to the degree that they cannot continue.

You can tell this is true by the way that they get back up again.

You can also tell by the sound. You see this, and you will let loose some vowels of your own.

I love this, the athleticism and the hard-knocks of it all. My appreciation is a mix of pity and jealously. Pity that your wage is balanced on your getting harmed as loudly as possible, jealously that you’re managing it whilst apparently still able to do rudimentary addition.

The storyline aspect is another criticised theme of pro-wrestling, and is another part that I am enthralled watching.

On the television, WWE and TNA offer this soap-opera version, whilst local wrestling offers the pantomime alternative.

The soap opera version has a tremendous ability to tap into the general feeling of (mainly) the USA. Looking at how in times such as the Gulf War- the main ‘HEEL’ (bad guy) was a disgraced US soldier named Sergeant Slaughter with his ‘manager’ (out of ring side-kick) of an Iraqi general named ‘General Adnan’– a man who actually went to high school with Saddam Hussein. His opponent- the American hero Hulk Hogan- would enter flying the stars and stripes and saying he was doing it for the brave guys and gals over there and that he was doing it because he was a patriot that loved freedom, Coca Cola, and the free market.

The two would wrestle, the ‘heel’ would cheat, Hulk would use his good old fashioned American know-how, guts and heart to push his way out of the ‘Arabian’ submission manoeuvre (actually called the ‘Camel Clutch’) and start punching the bad guy till people got the metaphor. The metaphor was that he was America, Slaughter was Saddam Hussein and punching was the beautiful export that ensured American victory in the name of freedom and further punching.

This was of course in the early nineties, and though times have changed the formula remains- stay current with what the people are up to.

Lately, people are losing their homes and jobs, whilst ubiquitously using social media. Therefore, WWE storylines incorporate wrestling characters that are bankrupt, being made to do what the evil ‘heel’ character demands in exchange for help with their mortgage. Or- wrestlers actually complain and fight about what someone said about them on Twitter of YouTube. Being able to ‘follow’ or be ‘friends’ with these wrestlers is magic to the children.

This formula differs from the local-ring wrestling, which incorporates pantomime aspects so as to bring out the cheers and jeers. References to suggested homosexuality of the opponent, hide-and-seek, arguing with the audience, things to do with testicles and references to popular culture- all these things can be found at a local wrestling show…and it works.

The fans, the true fans- truer than me, are a special breed of people. They are also involuntary, but they seem to really believe what’s happening in front of them. The typically middle-age-plus woman will have taken her young grandchild and will be yelling at the ring and staring with such burning intensity that she surely emits more enthusiasm than any latter generation.

She is wearing her favourite wrestler’s T-Shirt, and her toy- figure of him is in the glove compartment of her car. She could tell you how to watch wrestling with far more experience and sheer guts than I could ever replicate. Partly because I understand the business, and she genuinely believes this foreign man has hypnotised her favourite, number one, lovely hair-cut, always smiling and oh-my-what-nice-legs wrestler. And as I said- the other guy is foreign! Not even a foreigner from this country…from a dark country…plenty of sand. Maybe too much sand- the measure of a man.

I watch wrestling to enjoy the soap-opera silliness that can make a stadium erupt in gasps, to enjoy the pantomime hilarity of two men running around the ring and leaping into the front row of very-grasping women. I watch to enjoy the athleticism that these performers risk showing at the expense of never being able to do the move, or walk, again…and I watch to enjoy the part inside me that makes those vowels exit.

But mostly, I watch because I used to watch it with my grandmother- a lady who, whilst watching, would be far louder than I. Gutsier too.

Last things last (also a popular order). Wrestling is fun, and that’s all. It has no great message aside from being something to be enjoyed by the entire family. It is pantomime and I recommend it.

It is an ancient business, and when watching, on a TV or at a show, you’re going to appreciate why.

Either that, or have someone hit you in the head with a folded steel chair- that is definitely something you should try in the home.

Sam.

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How To Get Some Of That Gay Marriage.

I understand…that some people have a problem with another bunch of people. And that bunch of people…have a problem with that previous bunch of people.

The first bunch of people is religious people.

The second bunch of people is the gay community, as well as almost everyone else.

The problem that the first group of people have is that gay people want to get married in their religious establishment.

The problem of the second group of people is that they wish to get married in the religious establishments that they grew up in.

The solution is obvious.

Allow gay marriage.

No?

Oh I see…you have another problem.

You need to grow up.

To begin with, and I suppose…ultimately…not to do so is cruel. It’s true.

If you don’t want people to be a part of your religion, or to have it in their own concept- then don’t have a religion because that’s what people do with it.

Some Christians believe that Gay Marriage is something that allows a previously (often- still) persecuted people to enjoy both their religious emotions and their romantic emotions.

If, as a religion, you wished only for heterosexual people to marry in your church then you must, by all means and accounts, NOT be involved with children.

Regretfully, preaching works, and people will have a tendency to believe when they are told to as children (Father Christmas- don’t deny it) and then take it with them into adult life. Because of this, the homosexuality that arises inside them (which no-one told them to do or be like) is either pushed down deep beneath the skin and further into their hurting soul or these Christian couples will meet and seek to continue their sexual/romantic lifestyle in the essence of their relative religious belief.

In this case, and after the centuries that this has been going on for (referring to homosexual religious folk that suffered this internal religious conflict), the decision the church is making is insisting that people either suffer their dilemma emotionally alone within the flock, or that they live with the one that matters most to them and be in religious pain as they are cast from their place of worship.

Or…they could permit Gay Marriage.

Keep religious influence away from kids, and then those kids that are or will be gay won’t wish to grow up to marry in a religious context. To deny them this is technically to deny them a life dream that you (the church) instilled in them.

It is possible that throughout their lives they have been watching their parents, family and friends fall in love and marry…and then continue to worship as a ‘GOD’-recognised couple.

Because apparently that’s what ‘GOD’ gives a shit about.

My next point is the childishness about this.

You (you fucking big baby of a religious establishment) can change the rules.

Yes, you can.

You have been doing it for many hundreds of years.

Take, for example, the situation with the shellfish.

In case you’re thinking of the weird thing that might have happened to you that one wet morning with the shellfish- I’m referring to 11:12 (chapter and verse) of the book of Leviticus which states that: “Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you”.

Now- I know I’ve watched a vicar eating prawns before, and she looked like she was really enjoying it. Like she was really enjoying it.

No one complained that this was happening, and it’s not as though it was too late to stop her from swallowing. We could have found a way. We would have found a way.

You see, this rule wasn’t changed- it just became ignored.

And there’s another thing…the vicar was a she.

It used to be a rule that she that sought to be a vicar would have their intentions smote by the fickle church until enough normal people complained and it became painfully obvious that the sheer stubborn refusal was…childish.

You can change the rules, and you should in order to prevent further addition to your reputation for cruelty to those not part of the flock- especially those that wish to be a part of it.

Not only can you change the rules, not only should you change the rules, but you undoubtedly must stray from your habit of stubbornness and instead make course along the church’s typical path of dissent and evolution.

Dissent from the religion has been the means (and at times doom) for its many of our true saviours.

Those that dissented from the church did so by, for example, dissecting corpses. If this had not been risked by the dissenters, then medical science would be far behind what it currently is- many more people would have died from contemporarily preventable conditions and diseases- and we’d still be presuming that the heart makes blood.

Praise our saviours that persisted in the dissent of translating, printing and distributing the bible in English, the effect being (aside from the spreading of the words of Jesus) that those in supposed possession of supernatural power and privilege had their grip upon the balls of the people weakened and the minds (and therefore- power) of the people heightened.

Have you ever read from a bible in English?

And are you able to read and write?

Have you ever been medically treated and saved by the knowledge that the dissenters discovered?

Then thank the dissenters and also thank the church for if they hadn’t changed the rules then these miracles of dissent would not have produced the beautiful wonders that they have. Wonders like polio vaccines and punk rock. Wonders like literature and contraceptives (could you be any more thankful- you can read a rip-roaring thriller and then calm yourself down with a nice conception-free shag).

My advice to those that want to be remembered as the Luther of the contemporary church had best dissent with the cries of the people. This is what the church has always done- it has needed those courageous, cheeky givers-of-a-shit dissenters to allow the church to make sense. Also known as Galileo.

Christianity is a concept that has had to EVOLVE.

If it hadn’t evolved, then it wouldn’t be here still.

Via allowing the bible to be printed (and read) in English, by permitting forays into medical and astronomical science (not to mention physics), by desegregating the church and by finally allowing women to be considered as something beyond a possession and a means to more men, Christianity has become something that finally denounces those that denounce gays, and also ‘Tweets’.

For the church to be what it is now- old rules had to be forgotten and outlooks had to fade away, progression was necessary to survival, for if it hadn’t- the vital membership would have dwindled to none.

To the church I suggest you adapt now to survive, before the religion is extinct. It’s what you always have done, and if you don’t…as I said earlier. As a dodo.

Religion is based on fear and love.

The love is what we all know and celebrate- the means of progression (there is no moving forward without love for something) for the church and all things. For many it is the essence of the faith.

But there is an evil undertone to the religion which is present and obvious throughout its history and is undeniable in cases such as the Gay Marriage debate.

Fear of the alternative, fear of change, fear of being ‘made’ to alter your existence…and fear breeds fear. This is the cause for many to flood to the doors of the church as though it was the final seconds before the ark’s departure and you’ll find an animal to go two-by-two with when you’re on board. Fear and panic now. Think when you’re not afraid; which will never happen.

Be courageous and save your religion by abandoning the superstitious side of faith and instead focusing on several teachings from the second testament:

Love thy neighbour.

Turn the other cheek.

Treat others as you yourself would wish to be treated.

If to picket the funerals of dead soldiers owing to their sexuality is absurd, then to deny people happiness in their life, owing to sexuality…is that not surely obscene?

You have the right to your religion- but you don’t have a right to be cruel and that’s all the insistence against Gay Marriage amounts to- fear and cruelty.

The fear and cruelty will be abandoned and the either the church will be too, or it will evolve to be a body of love…which will care that gays marry only as much as it does that blondes marry brunettes.

The fear and cruelty will be abandoned, and as history has proven, love will intervene and that’s all we need.

Grow up.

Sam.