Wrestling with Charlie Brown!
As many of you know, I am a fervent fan of the male soap opera known as “Professional Wrestling” or, as VKM calls it, Sports Entertainment. I have followed wrestling since...well, my earliest memories are of Bobo Brazil, the Sheikh and Tony Marino, to give you a frame of reference.
And in all the decades I have been following it, I have never before had a vested interest in a wrestler other than being a fan of theirs. I have attended matches, met some outside their hotel, even seen them at conventions and such. But until recently, I had never actually met and known a working professional wrestler. That changed during a taping of Wild Eye Reactions when one of our guest experts was Charlie Brown (at the time the US champion in the IWA). We hit it off immediately over our shared love of wrestling and I said I would love to watch him work.
Long story short - too late! - I and fellow castmates learned of his next scheduled match and both Melanie and I were able to attend. What was different is the level of knowledge I have acquired about the “sport” in the meantime. If you know terms like face, heel, stiff, shoot, worked, etc., then you know my viewpoint. I would be attending a wrestling match for the first time as a biased observer with a dangerous (to my enjoyment, not my body) knowledge of the “ropes” of wrestling.
So, Melanie and I were there for Charlie's first title defense, and I was glad to be sitting next to her father, another wrestling fan/expert that I was able to talk to and bounce observations off of. First of all, this is a minor promotion that we were about to watch, so there was a lot of confusion about matches times and who was wrestling when. The ring was definitely not the caliber of bigger promotions, looking as old and stiff as I feel every morning when I try to get out of bed. The wrestlers were game warriors, valiantly struggling to put on an entertaining show, and we were glad to help them out. I sacrificed myself a few times by verbally jousting with a heel or two so they had someone to “mark” on.
Eventually it was time for Charlie to make his ring entrance, and seeing his obvious happiness in Melanie and I making his match was worth the trouble finding the place (the Moose Lodge on Demorest is NOT easy to find at night). After the obligatory introductions and wrestler repartee, the match opened and I got to watch a friend have an actual match. Was it perfect? No. Did they miss spots and telegraph some moves? Heck yes. Was it entertaining and just a little cringeworthy knowing the men who were taking those “bumps” would be feeling it later? Definitely. I look forward to seeing him wrestle again, just hope the finish is not so Dusty Rhodes.
So what was different from all the other times I have attended a wrestling card? A lot actually. For one, he was able to let me help him with pictures and such, he was much more available for interaction - not just with me, but with many of his younger fans. Knowing how sports entertainment works took a lot off the shine of this apple, but it was still a tasty treat. Personally knowing the man who was both delivering and taking moves was a little more of an investment than I expected.
Overall it was an exciting night, with many interesting moments and things to remember. I believe he said his next match will be March 15th, so keep an eye peeled for his announcement, he deserves your support!