Friday, July 10, 2009

Costumed clowns

There are only a few things from my childhood favourites which I've had the maturity to outgrow and at the top of the list is my former devotion to 'pro' wrestling. WWF (WWE in its more recent avatar) was a craze for almost every young one with a TV back then and names like Stone Cold Steve Austin and the Rock were right up there with the Sachin Tendulkars and the Zinedine Zidanes. Why well built actors playing out scripted roles on an unusually violence prone stage was so likable and almost up there with real sportsmen in terms of popularity I don't know but it was and it still is going strong judging by the "sports entertainment" categories unflagging popularity.

Early on in the days of cable TV, I used to walk down to my cable operator's house in the hot summer sun and pick a fight with him only to have Star Sports/ESPN re-instated amongst the handful of channels which could viewed at one time. Then I'd run back to my house to catch Summer Slam, Royal Rumble or Monday Night Raw as the toothpick chewing Razor Ramon, the coldly impressive giant Undertaker and Shawn Michaels went about their rehearsed business of jumping off ring corners, dropping knees into abdomens and other methods of bone crunching physical retribution.

Evenings would turn into late nights as friends would gather debating who was likely to win that vengeance re-match complete with steel cage and a room full of hazardous looking fight props. We were ready suckers for it all: the drama, the trademark entries (like Austin's shattering glass, the Undertaker's gong and Rock's "If you smeyallll...") and the choreographed violence performed in the most outlandish of costumes. If a real wrestler were asked to wear it, he'd probably be too ashamed to even come out of the dressing room. But no, not these guys! They drank in the crowds appreciation and the fawning crowds loved them back even more. As if falling off ladders, falling through tables, smacking someone's head with a chair while parading in fluorescent pyjamas were as natural an activity and as essential a function as breathing air. I am sure there were definitely more educational and practical programs on other channels at the same time but we sure as hell weren't watching, mesmerised as we were by what was nothing more than a circus of costumed clowns.


Kunnu said...

of all the shows...this is the ONE, which I just can not stand. I dont know exactly why, but this show just puts me off. Whether it is just loud violence or something else...but WWE is unbearable to my nerves!!

hehe...but you do seem to like it very much though :)

Roy said...

Used to... used to! Still can't explain why! But not any longer.