The weekend of Jan. 26 was memorable. The WWE presented one of its premier pay-per-view events, The Royal Rumble, live from Phoenix’s Chase Field.
On Jan. 26, my friend Jake Gerhard and I woke up early to get ready for WWE Axxess, a session of meet and greets with WWE superstars, and chances to see live matches and tapings for TV shows.
Shaking hands and conversing with these stars that I’ve watched on television for many years was a breathtaking experience.
I also got to witness one of my favorite wrestlers perform. WALTER, a 6-foot-4-inch, 300-pound Austrian with chops so loud they envy the noise of a gunshot. It was special because WALTER wrestling in the United States is a rare sight.
Later that night I attended my first NXT TakeOver show. NXT is the WWE’s developmental brand, and is where performers learn more about wrestling’s entertainment aspect while still maintaining great ringwork.
The matches that night were some of the most intense I have ever viewed.
My favorite match that night was Ricochet versus Johnny Gargano. The athleticism was incredible with the many hazardous dives from both men.
I lost my voice, being so invested, in what was going on.
If you think the pro wrestling business is in decline since you last watched it religiously, picture this visual in your head.
The next day we approached Chase Field, a sea of over 48,000 people waited to get in. A variety of ages, races, genders and creeds were all in the same place for the same reason.
We didn’t know anything about one another, but we complimented and conversed with one another like we had all known each other for years.
That’s the magic of pro wrestling that gets overlooked by the general public. Pro wrestling builds bonds between people creates relationships that last a lifetime. I met three of my best friends two years ago through professional wrestling.
Wrestling also is a safe haven to many fans. Whether we’re watching live or on TV, we can forget about the stresses that our real, boring lives bring us and we can live a colorful life through the characters we see the wrestlers perform.
Professional wrestling is in a boom period not seen since the era of Hulk-A-Mania in the ‘80s or the Attitude Era of the ‘90s. The hype is real.
So if you’ve got a couple hours to spare on a weekday, catch some pro wrestling and see how invested you get into the characters and stories.