Well, it's a new year and I have another great article for all of you. I would now like to talk about one of my most favorite pastimes growing up, and that is wrestling; wrestling has had a tremendous impact on my life as it did for most others when I was a kid. Wrestling back then was very much a fan friendly sport and the wrestlers back then gave us all a positive outlook on the sport too. Some people say to this day that wrestling is fake; however, there are those that say it's as real as it gets, but despite what they say, it was still a great sport to watch. I guess my older brother was the one that got me interested in the sport, I remember when he would baby-sit me and my sister, he would always take us in his room and we would pretend to be wrestlers, I still didn't know what wrestlers had wrestled back then because my mother would never let me watch it.



This was the show that also introduced me to wrestling, I still didn't know who Hulk Hogan was, but after I watched this show, I got a better understanding of wrestling; a few years later, I finally started watching it up close and was definitely into it, even though my mother would still keep me away from it, she couldn't keep me away from it for long. I guess the only thing she kept from me was MTV. Anyway, the only wrestling that was good for me was the WWF "The World Wrestling Federation", (now called WWE "World Wrestling Entertainment"). The superstars were so great and always put on a spectacular show. I even had some very good favorites growing up to, along with most of their merchandise. My bedroom would always be filled with posters with different kinds of wrestlers. Here are some my most favorites growing up.

HULK HOGAN


The man that changed the face of not only the WWF, but the entire sport of wrestling as well. He wasn't actually my all time favorite but he always made me feel good about myself. Whenever he did a promo, I laughed so hard when he talked; it was like he was yelling through the roof or something, he would always close every interview with his slogan, "What's ya gonna do, when Hulkamania runs wild on you!?", then he would snarl and flex his arms like he meant business. He also gave positive messages to the fans like train harder, say your prayers, and take your vitamins; maybe if I had done any of those, I could've been like him but I didn't, sorry to say. Some of the most memorable matches he had was when he wrestled Andre the Giant at Wrestlemania III, when he had slammed him, I thought oh my gosh, how could he have done that? That must've been one of the most spectacular things I ever saw in my life. Another great match I saw was when he wrestled the Ultimate Warrior at Wrestlemania VI, I had a difficult time choosing who to cheer for since they were both my favorite wrestlers at the time, after the warrior defeated Hulk Hogan for the championship, I thought he was gonna attack him but after he handed him the title that was the best thing I saw, seeing that when faces face each other, they always congratulate them. He was mostly the ultimate fan favorite who made every fan happy; I remember my friend and I wrote him a letter when he was injured by Earthquake, whether he got it or not is still a mystery to me.

MACHO MAN RANDY SAVAGE


Randy Savage was I believe one of the most charismatic stars that gave the WWF a bit more of the rough and tough guy. The way he talked almost sounded like had throat surgery. Along with him was Miss Elizabeth, who was proclaimed as the first lady of professional wrestling. Some of the greatest moments I had saw with him was when he fought Ricky the dragon Steamboat at Wrestlemania III, people say that that was the greatest match in wrestling history, when I saw it on VHS, I remember the referee was going to be out of breath from counting those pinfalls, then Steamboat came out victorious, another moment was when he won the WWF Championship at Wrestlemania IV and teamed with Hulk Hogan to form the Mega Powers, when I saw that they split up, that was real brutal, I saw their confrontation match at Wrestlemania V and it was the best match I've seen. I was surprised when he turned heel (Bad guy wrestler in case most of you don't know), he then was called Macho King, and his new manager was the late Sensational Sherri, I always found her to be real scary looking with all her makeup and weird clothing, in fact they came up with a real cool nickname for her, which was scary Sherri; the name fit her perfectly. The best moment I saw was right after he lost to the Ultimate Warrior at Wrestlemania VII in a retirement match, he reconciled with Elizabeth and people in the audience were crying. I think some audience members were paid to cry. The scariest thing that happened to him was when Jake the snake Roberts had a king cobra bite his arm, that was the freakiest thing I ever seen in my life, I thought he was going to die after that, but I'm real glad he didn't. His feud with Jake the snake was really messed up; I mean he ticked off the Macho Man in a worst way when he slapped Elizabeth across the face. His final confrontation was with Crush, that was a real heated feud when crush dropped him on a steel rail and broke his jaw, and then Macho Man blew up on Crush big time after that. I was real disappointed when he left the WWF in late 1994, but I still watched the WWF even when he wasn't there. He was a great wrestler and his outfits were really well stylish. I hope he makes a special appearance in the WWE soon.

ULTIMATE WARRIOR


Here's a true fan favorite I have a lot of respect for. I remember when I first saw this guy wrestle, I always wondered what was so special about this guy, but I got used to him real quickly. I even remember my mother took a picture of me when I dressed up like him once, she probably thought it set a bad example for me. Anyway, I got a lot of good memories about him; one is when he fought Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania VI and won the WWF championship; after he won, fireworks went off in the arena; I think that was the first time I ever saw fireworks go off in the arena. He had a very successful career as WWF champion, but when he faced off against Sgt. Slaughter at the royal rumble I so feared that he would lose the title and I was right. There was a moment when he was stuffed in an air tight casket by the Undertaker; that was real scary, when they got him out, I couldn't believe how he looked, it almost looked like he was dead, I wonder if he had an oxygen tank in that casket. Anyhow, tragedy struck him when he reportedly held a gun to Vince McMahon's head demanding more money, After Summerslam 91' he disappeared. I never knew that he left because of that. He returned at Wrestlemania VIII by helping Hulk Hogan against Sid Justice and Papa Shango; I was hoping that he would come back for real, however, he left again in November and I was again disappointed. When he returned and beat Triple H at Wrestlemania XII, I couldn't believe the ovation he got and once again, he left, which was another disappointment for me. He is still one of the most artistic and wildest wrestlers I've ever seen, he was a true fan favorite for me.

JAKE "THE SNAKE" ROBERTS


I always found this guy a bit creepy when he came out with a python and at the end of every match, he would place it on his fallen foe; I sort of liked him when he always did that. I remember when he feuded with Ravishing Rick Rude, Rude would wear tights with his wife on them, one incident I remember was when he came out and ripped off the tights exposing his nakedness to the whole world. Once that happened, my mother made me change the channel; I think we all knew that Rude was wearing a jock strap, so we all knew that he wasn't naked. Another great feud was when he fought Andre the Giant when he threw his python, Damien, on Andre; thus, sparking the phobia of snakes for Andre. I also remember when he faced the Model Rick Martel at Wrestlemania VII in a blindfold match, I so found that match to be very comedic, the audience were so behind Roberts that whenever he pointed to Martel, the fans would cheer knowing he was pointing in the right direction. The most terrible thing to ever happen to him was when Earthquake squashed Damien and Jake brought out Damien's brother, Lucifer. When he started his heel turn on Randy Savage, I started to find him completely despicable. His last match was at Wrestlemania VIII when he was defeated by the Undertaker. I was surprised when I heard he was gone. He then came back to the WWF in 1996; we learned that he was becoming a recovered drug addict. I found this to be completely boring and it didn't help out to make his return greater than it was. Despite his popularity and downfall to success, he has become one of the most prestigious wrestlers to date, even the creator of the DDT made him more popular. He is a true favorite of mine.

BRET THE HITMAN HART


This is a true man that was absolutely indeed a real favorite in my book, A guy that did it all in the WWF and then just to be screwed out for real. Bret Hart was the excellence of execution as he called himself; from the famous Hart wrestling family in Calgary Alberta, Canada, he was trained by his father Stu Hart in the famous dungeon in Calgary. He went on to become one of the best in professional wrestling. He started out in the tag team the Hart Foundation teaming with Jim the Anvil Neidhart; they became heels being managed by Jimmy Hart, I never actually seen them at that time but when they began their face turn, that's when I started watching wrestling. Together they captured the WWF tag team championship on two separate occasions, I always thought their outfits were pretty weird since they were pink, but I got into their slogan "the pink and black attack is back." Following that, he entered as a singles competitor, he won the Intercontinental championship on two separate occasions, he defeated Mr. Perfect at Summerslam 91' for the title, I thought that he would never beat him but when I saw that match, I was amazed. His last match as Intercontinental champion was against his brother in law, the British Bulldog at Summerslam 92' in London, England. A few months later after that, his ship came in when he defeated Ric Flair for the WWF Championship in Saskatoon; I couldn't imagine him being the champion, he has managed to overcome great odds and beat a lot of people like Yokozuna, the Undertaker, Diesel, Shawn Michaels, and Owen Hart. He held the WWF championship on five different occasions, after he lost the championship to Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania XII in the Iron man match; I wondered why he was gone for a long time. This was during the time when the WWF was in a crisis financially and in the ratings to. I think this was when Bret was trying to negotiate his contract for 20 more years; that's what I heard, I don't know if it was true. Bret, however, was talking about going to the other big wrestling company, WCW. The biggest blow to Bret came in November of 1997, in Montreal at the Survivor Series, when he was totally screwed out by Vince McMahon. The incident was called the Montreal Screwjob, not only was Vince behind it, but Bret's opponent, Shawn Michaels, the referee Earl Hebner, and Shawn's friend Triple H were behind the whole thing also; Shawn had Bret in his sharpshooter hold and the referee, Earl Hebner, called for the bell, even though Bret never submitted, McMahon ordered the bell to be rung. After the match, Bret was so aggravated, he spat in Vince's face; backstage, Bret punched Vince in the face and he had a shiner to prove it. I think the reason it happened was because Vince feared that Bret was gonna show up on WCW with the title the next evening and was gonna pull off something similar to what WWF Women's champion, Alundra Blayze (aka Medusa) did by throwing the Women's title in the trash, to me I think it had something to do with Eric Bischoff fanning the flames on Vince McMahon's company. Despite all the twists and turns that he's had, he is truly the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be.

OWEN HART


Now here's a man that really made me see the true nature of wrestling and who I started to see real morals in. I never knew that wrestling were all storylines but after I heard his entire life story, I started to understand the whole truth. I was amazed by Owen's high flying abilities and his ring tactics. Owen Hart was the youngest of the twelve Hart children. He started as the masked wrestler, the blue blazer. I thought that masked wrestlers were unbeatable and unstoppable. He resurfaced in the WWF this time as the Rocket, and joining forces with his Brother in law, Jim Neidhart, thus forming the New Foundation. I always wondered why they wore those baggy pants, but the colors were so 90s at the time. When he started to make a heel turn on his brother Bret, I started to hate him, I was so shocked when he defeated him at Wrestlemania X, and I thought that Bret would never win the championship that night. I think the stupidest thing he did was mimic Ric Flair's trademark Whooooo; I found that to be hilarious whenever he did that. He was mostly hilarious when he won slammy awards and started toting them around wherever he went and kept bragging on and on about how he won them. He even put a lot of guys on the shelf starting with the infamous kick to the back of the head when he knocked Shawn Michaels out unconscious. I don't know if that was legitimate or fake, I guess it must've been; another was when he botched a piledriver on Stone Cold Steve Austin at Summerslam 97' when I saw that in slow motion, I knew that there was something wrong with him. Right after the Montreal Screwjob, Owen stayed behind. When he was feuding with DX, they gave him the nickname, the nugget, which was a despicable name for him. He formed a team with Jeff Jarrett and became tag team champions; around this time, Owen once again donned the Blue Blazer outfit but only this time it was a more buffoonish kind of character, he would always come out in Superman like fashion and told all his little blue blazers to do what Hulk Hogan says you should do. There are people that say that this angle was punishment for Owen because he refused to do a storyline where he would put moves on Debra and Jarrett would get jealous, thus breaking the team apart, but Owen said he would never do that because he wanted to be faithful to his family and never wanted to cheat on her in any way, you know, In all the years I've seen Owen wrestle, I never actually saw him take part in an adult storyline. The most terrible and tragic event occurred on May 23, 1999, in Kansas City, Missouri at the Over the Edge PPV when Owen, still under his Blue Blazer persona, was to wrestle the Godfather that night for the Intercontinental title, he made a superhero like entrance from above the Kemper arena, as he was being lowered, the device opened up early and Owen fell 78 feet, landing chest first on a top-rope near a turnbuckle. As he was being worked on in the ring, Jim Ross announced that Owen was badly hurt and was not apart of the storyline what so ever; I watched this PPV and they never showed the actual fall itself or when Owen was being worked on, Jim Ross made the sad announcement that Owen Hart died. I wasn't that much of an Owen Hart fan, but when he died, I shedded some tears. The following night on Raw, a special Raw aired called Raw is Owen, when I heard the interviews from the wrestlers and all his friends, I couldn't believe what I heard, I mean Owen loved his family with all his heart and he was always a goofer behind the curtain. To this day, I blame McMahon for what happened to Owen and I still hate McMahon to this day. Owen is survived by his wife, Martha Hart, and his son, Oje, and daughter, Athena. It seems that all the morals of wrestling died with Owen and now, he is a true favorite of mine, even though he's not with us anymore. Owen, we miss you.

STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN


Okay, now were coming up to the man that ushered in a new age of attitude in the WWF called the attitude era, as we all know, the WWF was suffering big time when Ted Turner's WCW were beating them in the ratings war, so the WWF decided to end their family friendly Hulk Hogan like wrestling and start making kinky storylines with adult content and more violence. One person who was a tremendous shoe in for this era was Stone Cold Steve Austin; I have to admit that I was a bit anti Austin, I mean the stuff this guy did from drinking beer to flipping the bird was sort of risque for me, but I finally got to understand and respect him. When he came to the WWF, he took the name, the Ringmaster, managed by Ted Dibiase, soon after he finally changed his name to Stone Cold Steve Austin. One of his best achievements was when he won the 1996 King of the Ring and gave his most famous speech, giving birth to the now infamous Austin 3:16. In what I have to say is the most bizarre thing that happened was when he entered a feud with Bret Hart who was returning after 8 months, the fans started to appreciate Austin and hate Bret. Then it all came unwrapped when Austin and Bret fought in a submission match at Wrestlemania 13, when Austin became the true fan favorite and Bret became the ultimate heel. I admit that I was getting tired of Bret myself and started to appreciate Austin. Austin's career nearly came to an end at Summerslam 97' when Owen Hart broke Austin's neck; Austin managed to finish the match and win the Intercontinental title, but was stripped of it due to the injury, this is where I started to get tired of Austin stunning everyone from officials, to Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, and even Vince McMahon (McMahon's stunner I started to like). After hating Austin stunning everyone, I started to cheer with the fans and liked it for real. Now, I had a lot of respect for Steve. At Wrestlemania XIV, he won the WWF championship from Shawn Michaels, with Mike Tyson as ring enforcer, which was the best match I watched to date, I especially loved it when Tyson turned on Michaels and knocked Michaels out. Following that, Austin then entered a hated rivalry with Vince McMahon, this is one of the best feuds that I like; it was a battle between boss and employee, Mr. McMahon, as he liked to be called, tried to get the upper hand on Austin every way he could, by cheating, to using referees of his choosing, the funniest moment for me was when he was in the hospital and the doctor as the other doctor on staff how he felt, and that doctor said, "Oh, I'll take it from here, nurse." It was so hysterical, I couldn't stop laughing, and another moment was when Austin held Vince hostage after he fired him, after he brought him in the ring, he held him at gunpoint and after he pulled the trigger, it was a toy and the flag read Bang 3:16, then, as I expected, Vince wet himself, I never laughed so much in my life, I thought I was gonna die. The feud continued through 1999, and in the most evil thing Vince could do, after he won the championship, he put a plan in motion as to where he let the Undertaker capture his daughter, Stephanie, and the Undertaker tried to marry her in an unholy wedding, which was scariest thing I saw. I had somehow known that Vince was behind the whole thing. The final confrontation came at Fully Loaded 99' when Austin beat the Undertaker in a First Blood Match, whereas Vince was now never to be seen on TV again, or for the moment. I guess the best story I like about him was when he was hit by a car at Survivor Series 99' (later, it was reveled to be Rikishi and a plan by Triple H). In reality, it was more neck surgery from Owen's piledriver, but the story was incredible. We all know that in 2001, Austin turned heel and sided with McMahon, I'm not gonna go into that. I know now that he's retired but I like the on and off appearances that he makes from time to time. I still have some of his merchandise that I keep as mementos. Austin is the best, and that's the bottom line, because I said so.

UNDERTAKER


I can't ever forget about this one; talk about legend, this guy is a true legend in my book and one of my complete favorites. The Undertaker has done it all from fighting monstrous men to making a true name for himself. He started out as a mystery tag team partner at Survivor Series 90' joining with Ted Dibiase's team and was managed by Brother Love, a few months later, he was managed by Paul Bearer. When I first laid eyes on him, he was scary looking, like no one I ever seen before, his appearance was by far fetched. I remember when I saw him in person, a friend I was with said when he touched him, he felt cold. Anyway, aside from beating the very best, he has managed to remain undefeated at Wrestlemania, by beating such greats and Superfly Jimmy Snuka, King Kong Bundy, Diesel, Kane, Triple H, Ric Flair, the list goes on. He even brought along his own specialty match, which was a casket match, I always found those matches to be boring in some way, but the best type of match that I like with him was the hell in the cell, where he wrestled Shawn Michaels and we saw the debut of his on screen brother, Kane. The best feud was with Mankind (Mick Foley) that was the most intense rivalry, right up there with Austin/McMahon. The second hell in the cell match was by far the best yet, and I respected both the Undertaker and Mick Foley, when Undertaker threw Mick off the cell, I couldn't believe it, I thought he was a goner for sure, but when he got back up, I thought he must be a god, another great moment was when Undertaker chokeslammed Mick through the cell, I thought the ring was gonna break after that. Undertaker is a true favorite and is now a legend. Whenever I go to a wrestling event, I always take a cigarette lighter with me and when the lights go off, I light it up with the rest of the fans.

EDGE


Okay, now I'm going to talk about my favorite one I still like that is active and a guy that is my true favorite, Edge. When I first saw him in the promos, I always thought it was Triple H I was looking at, but it was amazing, I knew somehow that he was going to achieve a great deal of success and he did just that. At one event, I cheered like crazy and rooted till my lungs hurt, it was when he fought Kurt Angle and I just lost it. His first match was against Jose Estrada where it lasted under a minute when Edge pulled a somersault and landed on Jose's neck, that's when I knew he was going to be a superstar. The most favorite thing I like was when he formed an alliance with Gangrel and his on screen brother, Christian, and formed the Brood. I couldn't tell if they were fan favorites or heels but I liked them. After the Brood, he and Christian formed a tag team and feuded with the Hardys; their ladder match at No Mercy 99' was very spectacular, I so enjoyed that match, another feat was the triangle ladder match at Wrestlemania 2000, where he and Christian won the tag titles, I have to say I was behind them 100% and I knew that they were gonna come out victorious, I was disappointed at their heel turn and started their Bill & Ted persona, it might've helped them achieve great success but I didn't like it one bit, following 7 title reigns, Edge went on to win the 2001 King of the Ring. In 2003, Edge was out due to neck surgery, I was hoping it wasn't serious as what Steve Austin had but I was sure glad when he made his return the following year, and he started to become an ultimate heel. Another great achievement was when he won the money in the bank ladder match at Wrestlemania 21, then found the perfect moment to cash it in right after John Cena was injured in the elimination chamber, I always thought that Edge would win his first championship when he was a true face, not as a heel but despite it all, it did get him the championship. Whether he's a heel or face, I still admire him for all the greatest things he's done, even though I'm a bit older and have lost touch with wrestling, he still remains as one of my favorites.

THE ROCKERS


I went and saved the best for last, of all the wrestlers that were my favorites, my true favorites were a tag team called the rockers, which consist of Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty. These guys gave me a huge inspiration in wrestling. I often bragged about them with my friends and how much I liked them. I even made a lot of art projects with them on it when I went to summer day camp. I even had all their merchandise and was always looking forward to watching them. I especially liked their outfits, seeing that they were so 80s and their entrance music so good, I always danced to it when it played. The one thing I liked was they would always fast talk during interviews, and end every interview with a woo, I always liked that. I always thought that they would become tag team champions somewhere down the road, as a matter of fact, they did win the titles from the Hart Foundation in at a house show but the reign was not recognized due to the fact that there was a broken ring rope, when I heard of that that really upset me. Sadly, the team broke up at the beginning of 1992 when Shawn turned his back on Marty in the infamous barber shop incident; Shawn threw Marty through a glass window, which busted Jannetty open and Marty left after that and Shawn went on to become the star that he is today. I never really cared much for Shawn Michaels as a singles competitor, especially since his part in the Montreal Screwjob, but despite it all, one of these guys were going to be something, I'm just sorry to say it wasn't my real favorite which was Jannetty, Marty Jannetty remains my idol to this day, despite that he makes on and off appearances now and then, maybe if he had become a real star like Shawn, then I would've become a wrestler and be honored to be trained by him, but sadly that's not gonna happen. Right after the barber shop incident I had ordered a poster of the Rockers but I didn't have the guts to hang it up. Whenever I look back on my childhood wrestling favorites, I always think of these guys; rockin and rollin, strutting and strolling, slammin and jamming, woo.

Well, as you can see, these guys were my all time favorites and really entertained me growing up. The WWF was the best wrestling company for me, but I will say this, if I were 10 years old today, my parents would never let me watch it. Wrestling today is sort of raunchy and a bit out of my league, I wish I could've been a wrestler but I don't know if I would go on all the way and risk getting hurt and being on the road for most of the time away from friends and family, I guess I made the right choice not being one but I still enjoy wrestling now as I did before.

Well, that's it and Happy New Year.