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Concluded ...

A Hardcore Title defense: the Big Bossman vs. the Road Dogg Jesse James. My first thought: What? My second: Who? I still can't get over the fact that there's this new belt and that the 1-2-3 Kid is now REALLY hairy.

The Big Bossman comes out, decked in black (an improvement over the police uniform, I think), and looking mean as ever. Next comes a question: "Oh you didn't know?". Well, no. "Your something better something something". I can't make out what is said because it seems like the entire audience yelling along. Out comes this guy with a mic, cornrows and stubble and the crowd gives him a pop like a cork off a bottle of bubbly.

I go "Eh".

He gets in the ring, all the while jabbering with the audience and starts on this speech. The crowd joins him.

I go "Hmmm ..."

He says his name. He says the name of someone who isn't there. Then everyone yells "The New Age Outlaws!". I think, "Well, break out the incense!".

I'm set to be unmoved.

The Bossman and the Road Dogg start in the ring but move quickly out of it and things get interesting. The Road Dogg's not having an easy time of it. The Bossman is pounding him something fierce into the audience partition and the cameras go in for a close-up. I can't tell whether or not he's a good wrestler, but he's selling it real well and I'm getting into him.

Then I see it.

Or I think I see it. It happens so fast, like a second or two, and then its gone.

He smiles.

And I'm amazed.

He smiled. Not the Al Snow "Look-I'm-crazy-see-how-I-grin" smile, but an actual "Boy-I-really-love-this" smile. I hadn't seen something like that in a long, long time.

They say you do theatre for love and that you should have fun with it and a play's called a play for a reason and other such bullsh*t. After eight years of "love" and "fun", I was downright cynical about those views.

Most people I had come into contact with did theatre for one reason: to prove that they were better than everyone else. Those people seemed set on makaing sure everyone (or at least the ten people in the audience) knew that they were intellectually superior to the world. Fun was not a part of the equation. Love was a convenient synonym for "ego". Communication didn't matter. Committment didn't matter. Hell, even the f*cking audience didn't matter: just their money did!

It made me want to puke.

And then there was that smile. Or what I thought was a smile. Maybe his face was just at a wierd angle.

But for a moment, I thought I saw someone who loved what he was doing. I thought I saw someone who was getting off on that crowd as much as they were getting off on him. Someone who maybe did it for love and sure as hell looked like he was having fun with it.

And I was hooked.

The rest of the match kicked ass and it felt so good when the Road Dogg became the "Hardcore Champion of the Wooooorld!" And then he came back the next week and did it all again. And the week after that. And then the week after that and all the way up to the Saturday before the St. Valentine's Day Massacre. I hadn't seen someone defend a title that consistently for almost a decade.

F*cking awsome.

And the rest, as they say, is history ...

the best is yet to come