Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Epic Moments in Pro Wrestling, Part One

    We are now six full weeks removed from the Epic Promo Shoot that CM Punk gave on Monday Night Raw (6/27/2011).  The effects of this rant are still being felt in ripples across the seascape of "Sports Entertainment".  It caused an abrupt changing of the guard in the management and direction of the WWE.  It was, for lack of a better word, amazing.  That being said, I'd like to take a look back at other Epic Moments In Pro Wrestling, and I'll start with:

    Austin 3:16

    "You sit there, and you thump your Bible, and you say your prayers, and it didn't get you anywhere... Talk about your Psalms, talk about your John 3:16 ... Austin 3:16 says I just whooped your ass!"

    With these words, The Attitude Era of the WWF(E) was born.  For a very long time, wrestling had been stale, kiddie oriented, and frankly kind of boring.  It seemed that only the most die hard of fans had held on.  We were hoping for a hero.  We were downtrodden and dissapointed by what we were being given.  Clowns, Trashmen, Mantaurs.  It was horrible.  Then, this happened.  Attentions were grasped.  Steve Austin, a very talented but underappreciated wrestler, signed with the WWF(E) and was saddled with a gimmick called The Ringmaster.  He was instructed not to talk, given a manager (the wonderful Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase), and the Million Dollar Championship.  It was a poor fit for the man who would become arguably one of the most popular wrestlers of all time.

    Then came King of the Ring 1996.  A Cinderella story had been built around Jake "The Snake" Roberts, who had become a Born-Again Christian and was recovering from long bouts with drug abuse and alcoholism.  He made it all the way to the finals of the tournament, as did Steve Austin.  Austin defeated Jake, and during the Crowning Ceremony (personal interjection: no wrestler should wear a crown unless his name is Jerry Lawler, and even then it's iffy at best), Steve went completely off script and uttered the sentences I have quoted above.

    A phenomenon was born.

    Austin 3:16 shirts flew off the shelves.  They were EVERYWHERE.  At football games, in hallways of high schools, in the malls, at Spencer's Gifts.  You couldn't spit and not hit someone wearing one.  It was amazing.  Austin continued to deliver week after week, taking on everyone in his path.  He became the representative of the working man when he put himself in the path of one Mr. McMahon (the on-air character of the real life owner of the WWF(E), Vince McMahon.

    One could say that Sports Entertainment was born out of that rivalry.  One could say many things.  However, in all truthfulness, Austin 3:16 was one of the most memorable turning points in the history of this beloved sport of ours.  And we wouldn't have it any other way.

    This is Mehe, signing off for now.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the history lesson. I've been a Wrestling fan (and where I live, that basically means "WWE/F") from the 80s to the early 90s, and, having missed the whole Attitude Era, was always kind of wondering what "Austin 3:16" was about. It's great if one of the questions on the back of your mind gets answered without actively you looking for an answer.