If you’ve ever said that professional wrestling is something you would never watch, if you’ve never heard of the WWE, and if you think the “Spirit Squad” are the girls in short skirts with pom-poms at the high school football game; keep reading.
I married my husband about a year and a half ago. I discovered the depth of his love for me when I came face to face with the sacrifice he made to see me on Monday and Friday nights while we were dating. He is, was, and always will be a die-hard fan of the professional wrestling and the WWE. Before I came into his life he would be found in front of the television each week for the two hour broadcast called “Smackdown” and the two hour broadcast called “Raw”. It wasn’t until extreme professional wrestling, the ECW, came along that he increased his weekly viewing nights to three. But, I’m getting ahead of myself.
Soon after we married it became apparent that expecting him to quit cold turkey from WWE professional wrestling was not healthy for our relationship. I began to find my new husband pausing in his channel surfing excursions to catch a glimpse of a match. The sounds that accompany professional wrestling are unmistakable. He would switch channels quickly when I entered the room. All that honeymoon closeness began to wear off when I realized that I had not seen any of HGTV’s new season shows. It was time for compromise. Maybe I could arrange a trade; professional wrestling with the WWE for the Divine Design of HGTV.
I don’t remember exactly how I presented the idea that I would love him even more if we could revise our Friday night habits. I would become a much more agreeable wife if I could be left alone with the TV in our bedroom to watch my decorating shows one night a week. In exchange, I would leave him alone to watch the WWE in the den. His eyes bugged out. It would be our recess. I became the most revered wife that day. It wasn’t long before the schedule was altered and I added the Monday night WWE professional wrestling broadcast of Raw giving me a second weekly timeout and a fix of interior design. I even subscribed for the professional wrestling weekly e-newsletter to be delivered to his email box. He would never lose track of Rick Flair or Carlito again.
Before I go any further, I should probably mention that I’m a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am a Mormon. But it hasn’t always been so. I did not join the church until my late 20s. Way back before then, In the days of WWWF (before it dropped a W to become the WWF) and before the WWF became the WWE; I was a casual observer of the sport. My stepfather loved the matches with Dick the Bruiser, Andre the Giant and even Hulk Hogan. I became comfortable sharing the one television in the house with him as we watched the events and I learned the sport. If I paid close attention, I figured, I could surprise the boys at school when I knew the names of the guys who had won the night before.
I can’t say that I developed an admiration for professional wrestling but I was astute. I was tolerant of the over-the-top theatrical performances of the participants. I have never wanted to call professional wrestling “fake”. Although most matches in the WWE are fake, I prefer to call them theatrical. Imagine my surprise to see the forthright confession of the theatrical performance side of the sport of professional wrestling when the organization itself included the word “Entertainment” in their name. Even they understand that the theatrical antics and carefully rehearsed stunts of professional wrestling are entertainment.
By the time this mid-life marriage came along, I had long forgotten the days of the WWF. I admit that I had one brief moment of déjà vu when former professional wrestler Jesse “The Body” Ventura won the governorship of Minnesota. If I could be called a fan of any of the wrestlers from the WWF, I was a big fan of Jesse Ventura when I was a “kid”. I took some pleasure in seeing this popular sports hero beating out Hubert Humphrey III. The WWF and the WWE were vindicated somehow in that election. I did wonder though, if the governor’s performance as a politician hadn’t been accentuated by his theatrical antics as a wrestler. He was able to fake out his audience in the ring. I was hoping he wouldn’t fail them in his new office. I caught up with him one day when he made an appearance on one of my decorating shows. He had the Governor’s Mansion redecorated during an episode of “While You Were Out”.
Other than that brief reconnection with professional wrestling, I was totally unattached. I can remember listening the first few time my new husband holed up in the den and I closed the doors between us. Loud and vehement shouts of “You Jerk!” would periodically echo through our home. I soon learned to recognize the music that would play as each wrestler appeared in dramatic silhouette from the caverns beneath the stands. I didn’t even need to hear their banter with the hand held microphone to know what type of response would be expelled from my husband’s mouth. Considering that my husband was a recent convert to the Latter-day Saint or Mormon faith, his mouth was pretty clean. In the heat of a few matches, though, I had to remind him of his new higher standard of language.
Occasionally my husband enters my decorating sanctuary to strike up a conversation and I know his show hasn’t ended. No, he doesn’t come see me only on the commercials. I investigated once when I heard the crowd roaring through the television speakers in the den. I could hear a male announcer, but more than that, I heard my husband in the bathroom. I snuck across the hall to take a peak at the television. The Divas of the WWE were parading in their scanty costumes; bobbing and slinking around the ring, letting it all hang out. A few months later, I entered his den when that risqué event was staging. He had moved himself to the computer and was checking his email. I asked him if something had gone wrong with the WWE broadcast. He responded, “I’m married now. I don’t need to see that kind of stuff anymore.”
His response was so unexpected and real, that I vowed to accommodate his WWE evenings with the proper food and drink to suit the occasion. I began to buy junk food and even did his Christmas stocking with snack items. He was surprised when I called that stocking the “Smackdown Stocking”. It was full of Hickory Farms items to munch while watching the WWE.
Those snacks have drawn me away from my decorating shows on occasion and into the world of the WWE. I will even purposefully come into watch when John Cena enters the ring, I’ll gag when The Edge strolls in with his hussy and I’ll exit quickly when “King” Booker gets a standing ovation just for walking into the arena. The Big Show gives me the creeps but Sean Michaels is a hunk that always deserves a second glance. Above all, Mr. McMahon should be removed from prime time television for X-rated behavior.
I’ll admit that most Mormon women wouldn’t give the WWE a second glance. To tell the truth, I would’ve gone blissfully to my grave without further exposure to professional wrestling. I could’ve seen the recently released movie “The Marine” and never known that the star of the show was the current WWE Champion and Superstar John Cena. That is, until my husband came along and got me hooked on professional wrestling again. That reminds me, I’ve just got to see what tasteless stunt Randy Orton pulls this week on the WWE. He absolutely disgusts me.