Longtime readers of my work through Yahoo!, FOX Sports or here on the Dome or those who have stumbled across my voice on radio outlets nationwide recognize immediately my love of professional wrestling. I haven’t spent a ton of time watching the new iterations of the sports entertainment vehicle, but start a tape with footage from the early 80s through 2000 and my neck swivels as if I was part of a Pavlovian experiment. The Road Warriors remain at the top of the pyramid for me. Then, you get to Ric Flair, “The Rock,” “Stone Cold,” Roddy Piper and so on. Bottom line is … big reveal here … I liked guys who mastered the microphone.
In the 90s, anyone that spent time watching the wrestling world enjoyed the game-changing assembly of “The nWo.” The red and yellow of Hulkamania was left on the floor and replaced with black and white t-shirts and an alliance with Scott Hall and Kevin Nash.
The ESPN magazine show “E:60” did a profile of the rise and fall of Scott Hall, his battle with addiction and the precipitous fall from the top of the heap to embarrassing moments at independent wrestling events. It’s a grim reminder of the nature of the wrestling business. Many of the top performers and earners of that era are long gone, with drugs, alcohol, steroids and depression as commonly cited causes. At 53, Hall is battling heart issues and seizures as a result of years of overindulgence.
Each one of these stories changes the way that I look at the old photos in wrestling t-shirts & face pain (an easy Halloween costume). I still remember the live events at Comiskey Park, The Rosemont Horizon and UIC Arena with a smile, but there’s also a sadness when I think of how many of those performers are no longer with us – how many of them were consumed by the wrestling business and, as Hall’s ex-wife said in this piece, “their alter-egos.”