I've been a wrestling fan for about 20 years, give or take a bit. (I think I was about 9 or 10 when I started watching, and I turn 30 in May!) This post has been on my heart for years. Literally. (Well, at least since 2014 when I read this post.)
When I started watching, WCW was my company of choice. (It was initially what I was introduced to.) Then I found out there was another one - WWF (now WWE)! (Come to find out, there are many, many promotions out there - still now! You may be surprised to find local promotions in your city!) The two big companies rivaled for years and years. WWE eventually bought WCW, and the two became one.
While there were two major promotions, I watched wrestling nearly every night of the week. Sunday Night Heat, Monday Nitro, Raw, Thunder, Smackdown, and WCW Saturday Night. It was a huge part of my life, which I'm sure was an interesting choice of a hobby/interest for a shy, tiny, blonde girl. (I'm obviously past the shy part. And the tiny part, but let's not get into that! Hahaha.)
Growing up, all I wanted in life was to be a WCW Nitro Girl. Their stint dancing during Monday Nitro was short lived. I then knew I was meant to be a Diva. The women in WWE are strong, beautiful, brave, and inspiring. All I wanted was to be one of them. My room was wallpapered with posters and clippings from floor to ceiling. I had a notebook that held weekly pictures of the women I admired and wanted to be like. I practiced my autograph on more paper than I could count. I knew I had to attend college in a town with a wrestling school. I was making plans.
When I was 16, I stopped watching because I knew I had made wrestling an idol in my life. I knew God had to be in first place. It was hard to let go, but it allowed me to grow and learn a healthy balance. During my hiatus, I never stopped loving wrestling and kept up with people and what was going on.
Today, I'm still a loyal fan. I don't watch it as often as it airs (we don't have cable!), but I keep up - with many thanks to social media, the internet, and (of course) WWE Network!
Beyond my TV watching and internet searching, I've been able to meet so many of the Superstars and Divas who really inspire me, still. I may have given up on the dream of becoming one of them (as I'm about to be 30 and didn't pursue it), but I love it more than ever. I really feel like God has blessed me with these interactions with some of my favorites. He has shown me that even though I didn't get it my way, He still had good plans for me. Getting to interact with people who have inspired me for years is truly a gift!
WHY? Why am I writing this? Why am I telling you? Well, honestly, it's because the industry means so much to me. I know that this may not make one ounce of sense to you, but I'm really going to try and explain.
Wrestling as an industry and as a fan community is sincerely like a family. Sure, we don't all cheer for the same people, as some like the faces and some like the heels, but we're all there for the same thing. We love that they risk life and limb to entertain us. There's just something about it. The loyalty. The dedication. The creativity. We all have each other. We cheer the wrestlers on, and they inspire us. Day in and day out.
Many people love music, but not many people can arrive to a concert and meet the lead singer of the ultra popular band, you know? Wrestling is different. I can't speak for every single performer out there, but so many of them are eager to meet their fans and interact. (Note: Not every place and date allow for them to have the freedom to do this. Keep in mind they are on the road over 300+ days a year. They work hard and are tired. Be kind when you get the chance!)
WWE is more than just an empire. The Superstars and Divas truly do give back. They work with Make-A-Wish and Be a STAR, just to get the list started. It's about teaching kids to grow up into people who achieve their goals, give back, and help others.
It's about the community. It's about the loyalty. It's about the underdog. It's about the biggest star. It's about SO much to me. It's about sharing it with friends. It's about completely buying in to it. It's about arriving to the arena early to see who I can meet and talk to.
Would I still love to work for the WWE? Of course. In just about any capacity. Haha. I don't know what God has for me at this point, but I do know that I have an intense and long-lasting love for sports entertainment. I feel like I feel so strongly for a reason. Maybe it's just to tweet and encourage a superstar I enjoy. Maybe it's for more. We'll see.
Happy Wrestlemania Sunday, friends!
P.S. Wrestlemania is the only thing on my Bucket List so far!