Before you start reading this article I have a confession to make. I'm not sure how well this article will do. I've even got my self prepared for it to be my lowest scored article that I've written to day. There are two reasons for this, first one is that its long and although I don't think a wrestling fan would have any trouble getting through it non fans might be disinterested. I hope that's not the case. However the main reason is because its changed so many times. At first I figured I like wrestling a lot and to write an article on the subject would not only be easy but would come naturally. Boy was I wrong.

Fact of the matter is what you have before you isn't so much one article as it is an amalgamation of four articles in fact the finished product here is actually the FIFTH version of this article and boy has it changed from the start.

The first go around I thought that I would write a small fact filled article about the history of wrestling since I've been a fan, but after getting it nearly completed I decided that it just wasn't good enough. I started over and on the second attempt I decided to just write about a bunch of wrestlers I enjoyed from different eras in wrestling but once again it just didn't feel right, it needed to be more personal. On the third attempt I decided it should be about my relationship with my grandfather and what wrestling meant to it, I was getting closer this time but it still didn't feel right so on the fourth try I took everything from the previous three attempts and threw it all at the wall to see what would stick. I liked it. But it still wasn't good enough so I decided to give it once last shot, once again I would try the article with everything above in it. So after a very long journey I have finished it and this is it. I love it and it has replaced my "Movie Poster Masters" article as my favorite article I have written. I can only hope that you will enjoy it as well.

Oh and one more thing. Its gonna be a long ride so sit back grab the WWE Ice cream bar with your favorite wrestler, a pack of slim jims, a can of WWE: Raw Attitude energy drink and crank up your favorite edition of WWE The Music. Hope you have a good time.

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I couldn't tell you when I started watching wrestling. Truth is I can't remember a time when I didn't. My grandfather is to thank for that. He loved wrestling and every Saturday night when it came on I was sitting on his lap. Stories from my family suggest that this started before I could walk, talk or even crawl and that it became a Saturday night tradition for him to have little baby Theodore on his lap to watch the good old wrestling show. I always love hearing those stories, it was the earliest male bonding that I was ever a part of and it gave me my first and best wrestling buddy. I'm sure that was something that my Grandfather intended, he loved wrestling and his eyes glowed every time he got to talk about it epically with children.

As I started to grow older wrestling was right there with me as essential in my life as anything else walking, talking, food and a roof over my head and wrestling. Family legend goes that some of my first steps were walking to my Grandfather to sit on his lap during wrestling and that the word "wrestling" itself or something resembling that, maybe "reslin", was one of my first after the other essentials like Mom, Dad, Nan, Poppy, big bird and no were learned.

Like any fan as I grew up I had my favorites. Ricky The Dragon Steamboat was fantastic, I didn't take note of the amazing technical wrestling abilities he had when I was a child that I love now but back then he was cool because he was a good guy, and one of the nicest good guys around to boot, PLUS his nickname was "The Dragon." That nickname caught my imagination when I was a kid how could you not like a guy who likened himself to the marvelous mythological beast that breaths fire! Granted at the same time I was a kid who loved monsters so he could of been Ricky "The Bigfoot" Steamboat or Ricky "The Nessie" Steamboat and it would of had the same effect.

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The Dragon displayign his black belt for all to see.

The Junkyard Dog was another big favorite, I can't recall it myself but I know it to be fact that when I was a child I did a pretty mean imitation of JYD's trademark dance and sky biting, as every time I go home now there are bound to be a few old timers that were my Grandfather's friends without fail they tell me how much I loved The Junkyard Dog and how they loved watching me do his little dance. More often then not they will also try to talk me into doing it for old time sakes but since I haven't done it since I was about five or six years old I decline the offer of making my self look like a big bag of douche.

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JYD with his trademark dog collar and chain.

Jake The Snake Roberts was another favorite. I don't have to spell out why I liked him but will anyways. Like Ricky Steamboat he had an awesome nickname "The Snake" but he did Steamboat one better by bringing an actual snake to the ring every single time! We all remember Damien right? Whenever I see the clips of the Ricky Steamboat/Jake Roberts feud I always get the same fuzzy feelings and remember just how I felt when I was a kid watching it. Sure Steamboat was cool but Roberts has a snake! There is no way that Steamboat could compete with that, that is of course until Steamboat did Jake one better and brought to the ring with him a dragon!

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Roberts standing over his latest victim with Damien.

That night also has another special meaning to me as it was the very first time I was ever allowed to stay up late enough to watch Saturday Nights Main Event, it was a very big deal for me because it didn't come on until 1:30AM but my Grandfather went to bat for me. It was the first pay-per-view quality show I had ever seen, if you were lucky you would get ONE match on the usual Saturday evening show that had two popular wrestlers facing off. Sure I got to see clips from good matches from the bigger shows but it wasn't the same. So to see this show with all the big names wrestling one another with an incredible experience for me!

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The logo for Saturday Nights Main Event. This IS my childhood.

The British Bulldogs were my favorite tag team, why? Two reasons, one, they were named after a type of dog and two, they brought said type of dog to the ring with them. Ahh good old Matilda, I have fond memories of her cashing Bobby The Brain Heenan and of course that one time she crapped right in the middle of the ring. It didn't take much to make me like a wrestler when I was a kid and a dog crapping in the ring would do the trick with ease. Of course Davey Boy Smith and The Dynamite kid were no slouches either they were both great wrestlers, but lets face it when I was a kid I was there for the dog.

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The Dynamite Kid and Davey Boy Smith as tag team champions.

Koko B. Ware was another favorite. Guess why. That's right cause he was The Birdman and he carried Frankie, his pet parrot to the ring with him all the time! You see a trend here? If the wrestler had something to do with animals there was a good chance I liked him.

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Koko with Frankie.

To get off of the animal theme though, The Ultimate Warrior was also great, well ok let me correct that. As a child I THOUGHT that the Ultimate Warrior was awesome. He just had that aura about him that you couldn't explain that made him great, that "it factor" I believe its called. His interviews were always amazing not because of what he said because quite frankly that never made sense to me but I'll be damned if I didn't believe it! The intensity and conviction which he spoke with was enough to make any kid believe that "destrucity" was coming down on any villain that stood in his way. As I grew older though I got more and more tired of him, though oddly enough I still love his interviews but for entirely different reasons now, actually you know what? Scratch that I love them for the exact same reason, because they don't make any sense!!!

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The Ultimate Warrior as the Intercontinental champion.

George The Animal Steele was another favorite. What a fascinating oddity this guy was. He has more body hair then should be humanly possible I mean it looks like the guy is always wearing a mesh shirt, has a green tongue AND eats turnbuckle pads for nourishment! PLUS even I was smarter then this guy! It wasn't hard to like this guy. He was very childlike in nature with his actions and reactions, as odd of a character as he was when your a child he may of been the easiest wrestler of them all to relate to.

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George The Animal Steele in the middle of a meal.

Even though they were the bad guys under the always devious cane and salt wielding, Mr. Fugi I also liked Ax and Smash, The Demolition and they quickly became one of my favorite tag teams. How could you not like these guys they wore leather outfits with spikes all over them and on top of that wore face paint. Face paint was always a big thing for me when I was a kid. They were also huge and incredibility strong. A lot of people passed them off as nothing more then a couple of Road Warrior knock offs but when I was a kid I only saw WWE programing and had never heard of The Road Warriors and when they eventually showed up in the WWE under the name The Legion of Doom, I thought they were just a couple of Demolition knock offs, funny how that works.

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Ax and Smash were the most dominant tag team in WWE history.

Although I wasn't a big fan of The Macho Man Randy Savage at first due to his evil tactics, when he turned the tide and saw the light at the end of the tunnel and joined Hulk Hogan as a good guy and stood up against the likes of the evil Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase it was impossible not to love him. Much like The Ultimate Warrior, Randy Savage's interviews were way out there but in a really good way. Unlike Hogan or The Ultimate Warrior however Randy Savage often had the best match on the night, and of course there was his ever lovely manager the beautiful Miss Elizabeth and although Savage could never pronounce her name (The closest I ever heard him get was "Liza-bett") you could tell that what they had was genuine.

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Randy Savage as world champion with his beloved Elizabeth.

Of course I would be remiss if I didn't mention Hulk Hogan. He was my Grandfathers favorite and due to that and it being the 80s Hogan became my favorite as well. What can I say about The Hulkster that hasn't been said?

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Its Hulk Hogan vs. EVERYONE, my moneys on Hogan!

One of my favorite childhood memories comes from my Grandfather coming home from work, he worked away from home and would be gone for months in a row, so as if his return wasn't good enough one time he had a gift for me when he came home. I opened it up to see the greatest thing I have ever seen in my young life. A Hulk Hogan t-shirt. There it sat in its box a thing of beauty. It was white with a picture of The Hulkster himself on the front doing his trademark shirt ripping. I instantly tried it on, it was a little bit to big for me but I didn't care. I instantly put it on and once I did my Grandfather called me over.

"You like your new shirt?" He asked.

"Yes its the bestest shirt ever!!!" I replied with all the genuine excitement a six year old could muster.

Before another word was said my Grandfather put his arms around me, I thought looking for a hug which I was happy to oblige with, how wrong I was as one of the most terrifying moments of my life was about to happen. Instead of going for the hug like I thought he was going for he opted instead to grab the back of my shirt and rip it of me destroying my new shirt.

"Just like Hulk Hogan does huh?" He said laughing.

I didn't understand. How could a person I loved so much do such a horrible thing to me!? He just gave me this shirt and I had it on for only two minutes before he ripped it up. Like any child I started to cry but it was not to last as I found out it was just a joke. My Grandfather quickly raveled to the relief of everything I held dear in life that the shirt had velcro on the back, it was MADE for you to rip it off just like The Hulkster does! And you could do it again and again! Needless to say for the rest of the day every time I saw someone come into the house I was proclaim.

"See my new shirt is real nice huh?" Of course that person would agree, then to my absolute pleasure I would do my best Hulk Hogan impression and rip that sucker off to their shock and amusement before explaining how the gag worked.

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Despite the fact that the velcro was in the back I spent many hours impersonating this very technical wrestling move.

The shirt quickly became the bain of my mothers existence as I continued to embarrass her non-stop by showing everyone I saw how the shirt worked. It didn't matter where I was, at the store, at a friends house or even at school. No place was to scared for my shirt ripping ways! Before to long my Mom took it upon herself to get rid of the shirt on one of the rare days I didn't wear it, she said that it had gotten lost and since I was always a pretty happy go lucky kid I bought it but didn't dwell on it for any more then a hour, all it took to forget about it was Mom taking me to the movie store to rent a few videos. One of which was Hulkamania 4.

As I got older my Grandfather and I continued to grow closer thanks to wrestling. I was to big to sit on his lap these days but we still watched it together. Around this time I was starting to hear the blasphemous rumblings that wrestling was fake. I had just the year before discovered the horrible secrets of Santa and The Easter Bunny but wrestling too?! This was way to much to bear, was anything I held scared in life real!?! To be honest wrestling was a much harder pill for me to swallow then the other two I never actually SAW them or anything but wrestling I have seen for more or less every week of my life how could something I'd seen so often be fake?

So it was with a heavy heart on one Saturday night that I finally worked up to courage to ask.

"Poppy... is wrestling fake?" I asked. He looked at me with sadness in his eyes, he knew this day was coming and much like myself this was harder for him then my learning the secrets of Santa and The Easter Bunny.

"Who told you that?" He asked.

"Some kids at school say that its fake. Is it true?" I asked again hoping against all hope that he would say that those kids were liars, but one thing about my Grandfather is that he never once lied to me he was always a straight shooter.

He explained to me that yes wrestling was indeed fake but at the same time he told me its a lot more real then everyone gives it credit for. He told me how the matches were predetermined and the wrestlers knew who was going to win ahead of schedule. That was a very bitter pill to swallow. All these years Hulk Hogan wasn't as invincible as I had thought, they let him win he was nothing but a big phony. He put it in perspective though, he told me that when I fall it hurts, so it had to hurt when the wrestlers fell from the top rope how could they fake that? It was still a rough night for me but my Grandfather made it a lot easier to take.

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Could this be true!?!

With the discovery that wrestling is fake most kids started to lose interest in it. Why back these real life super heroes when the only reason they are so unbeatable is because the other guy is letting them win. The complete opposite was true for me. I found myself getting even more into it. Most of my friends who stopped being wrestling fans after the discovery was made just didn't understand it. My explanation was this, sure two guys can get in there and use their athletic ability to beat the crap out of each other until the better man wins, that's one thing and its great as well, but the way I was seeing things now is that there were two guys in the ring using there athletic abilities not to hurt each other but to make it look like they are hurting each other when they are doing a chorus of amazing moves and protecting the other person from getting hurt. To me that was just a truly amazing and beautiful thing. It still is.

It was also during this time that I started to favor the bad guys more. When I found out that they weren't indeed a bunch of jerks and just acting like them then why wouldn't I? If I liked a villain in a movie I would enjoy that villain why not enjoy the bad guys in wrestling. Also armed with this new found knowledge I grew to love other wrestlers that weren't based around any types of animals or have an animal related nickname.

Being a WWE fan of course I had known about Bret The Hitman Hart for years as a part of The Hart Foundation which I always had a love/hate relationship with, which is to say that if The WWE told me to love The Hart Foundation I did and if I was told to hate them I would. Like all children I was a sheep. Of course around this time the whole good guy/bad guy thing wore off and since I was discovering the greatness that was technical wrestling Bret Hart quickly became one of my favorites. He was having great matches with everyone he wrestled and unlike Hogan, Bret always seemed like your average joe and not some over the top cartoon character.

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The best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be.

And with my love of Bret its only natural that I would hate his winey jerk of a little brother Owen Hart. Well that wasn't the case though, Owen, much like his big brother, had tremendous matches with everyone and was much more entertaining then his more serious big brother, one of the best examples I can think of for this his their shared finishing move the Sharpshooter. When Bret locked it on he was deadly serious about it, this was the end, he wouldn't let his opponent escape from it no matter what, but with Owen his character was such a jerk that was so full of himself that as soon as he locked it on he pretty much started to celebrate his victory before the other guy gave in, Owen would often throw a arm in the air and scream "Woooooooooo!" or "I got em', hes done!". In addition to Bret's technical wizardry Owen could also be a high flyer if the situation called for it.

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Looks like Owen has this one wrapped up.

Speaking of Wooooooooo's it was in the early '90s when he first debuted in the WWE where I got my first glimpse of Ric Flair. He had shown up in the WWE with the WCW world title and proclaimed himself the REAL worlds champion but since the