Anyway, on Monday night, something else transpired that made me feel like a kid again. While getting ready for Monday Night Football, something told me to change my channel to USA, in the hopes that RAW would give me SOMETHING to look at. However, I was completely unprepared for what I saw.
First, it was the RAW background at the entrance that confused me. I hadn’t seen that background since the old days of Monday Night Raw. Then, I saw the WWF logo on the bottom-left side and it really threw me for a loop. I had no idea what the hell was going on, but when I saw the ring mats and the turnbuckles were the ones from the old days, I finally sent a tweet to my boy Keith Tolbert and asked him what the hell as going on. He proceeded to tell me it was old-school night, and for the next three hours, I was in paradise.
Granted, I didn’t see the entire telecast, because I was watching Monday Night Football and the Jay-Z/Cornel West New York Public Library thing at the same time, but the stuff I did see blew me away. From seeing Tony Atlas talk like somebody’s drunk-ass uncle, to seeing some of the wrestlers in the old-school wrasslin’ shirts (I’m getting that King of the Ring t-shirt), and from seeing The Legendary Rowdy Roddy Piper, I was in complete and total disbelief.
The livest ring announcer on professional sports, Howard Finkel, came down and introduced some of the wrestlers, much to the approval of anyone who grew up on Fink. Then, I saw The Great Mean Gene Okerlund, and it was officially on. I was tweeting like crazy, and everyone else who grew up on old-school wrasslin’ was as well. All my boys, from B-Lew, Carlos, and and1grad; to Keith Tolbert, Crazy Joe, and D_GMenAllDay; to flyordie0, Kellen Daniel, and Dwayne were all going nuts.
We couldn’t believe it, but the one that really did it for me was the arrival of the man who calls a wrasslin’ match like Gus Johnson calls damn near anything, like Kevin Harlan called Tracy McGrady dunkin’ on Shawn Bradley, and like Billy Packer called the Kansas-UNC Final Four game, when he said “this thing…is over!” even though there was still eight minutes left in the first half. To make it even better, he came out to the OU Fight Song:
Keep in mind I haven’t watched wrasslin’ religiously in about ten years, so I didn't even know good 'ol J.R. was gone. Once WWF became WWE, it was the beginning of the end for me. It totally lost its soul, got too far away from wrasslin’ and became utterly ridiculous. The storylines took a dive, new stars weren’t being developed quick enough, and it just flat-out went to hell. With that said, seeing Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler call a match together felt like being back in the day, when RAW took precedence over EVERYTHING on a Monday Night. I had no idea who the two cats in the ring were, but J.R. and The King called it so much excitement, it was like HBK v. The Hitman in there. Plus, hearing The King take care of J.R.’s lightweight, Michael Cole, was even better. He told that clown he could write his life story on a piece of confetti. It’s safe to say that will NEVER stop being funny.
Side note: when did Michael Cole become such a hater? I've never had anything against dude in the past. It seemed like he always knew his place, but on Monday night, he wouldn’t keep his mouth shut while J.R. was talking. He was totally disrespectful. I grew up during a time when youngsters kept their mouths shut when grown folks were talking. Then again, it's simply a reflection of the time we're living in now, but it did end well. Seeing J.R. slap the piss outta Michael Cole with his cowboy hat on his way out made my night.
After that, they honored the legends, including The Iron Shiek, Nikolai Volkoff, and The Doctor of Style, Slick. All in all, it was a night that makes me feel sorry for fans of new wrestling. They have no idea what I, along with other wrasslin’ fans, grew up on. Maybe I, along with other folks who grew up on something truly authentic, are simply a lost cause and can't be saved. It's definitely a possibility. However, we also know quality when we see it, and two nights ago, we got top-notch entertainment. It’s a shame, too, because there was a time when wrasslin’ on Monday night truly was KING, but for one night, it felt good to turn back the hands of time.
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