Nostalgia in pro wrestling
March 30, 2014
By: Josh Boutwell of Wrestleview.com
Nostalgia and memories of when we were kids have and always will be one of the best parts of being a wrestling fan. Most of us can remember certain matches or moments in wrestling from when we were kids whether it was throwing the remote at your TV when Hulk Hogan joined the NWO or shedding a tear along with Shawn Michaels as he won his first WWF World Championship. The moments that made us fall in love with wrestling, we all have some.
When I was a kid it was my dad and uncle that got me into wrestling, sitting down to watch WCW Saturday Night when I was really young. Sting was the first wrestler that caught my eye but it wasn’t until a few years after I first sat down to watch wrestling that I truly fell in love with it.
Every month myself, my cousin, my dad, and my uncle got together at my uncles to catch a wrestling PPV, usually it was a WCW PPV but sometimes WWF depending on what the cards looked like. But in June of 1996 it was WCW’s Great American Bash and primarily the reason we ordered that one was because of the involvement of the NFL’s Kevin Greene who was teaming with fellow former NFL player Steve McMichael in a tag team match against Ric Flair and Arn Anderson.
That match was the reason my family wanted to see the PPV but the match that literally had me on my feet was Dean Malenko defending the WCW Cruiserweight Championship against a debuting 5’6” masked wrestler by the name of Rey Mysterio Jr. in a midcard match. Rey Mysterio did things that that blew my young mind, watching him flying around the ring in a way that I had never, ever seen before was thrilling. Dean Malenko was the perfect foil, the physical and technical wrestler against the quick high flyer, and those two created art for nearly 20 minutes on wrestling canvas.
A month later at WCW’s “Bash At The Beach” all the talk was about Hulk Hogan’s turn on WCW and the official formation of the NWO, but for me all I could think about was my first time getting a chance to see Rey Mysterio Jr. and another masked luchador by the name of Psicosis blow my mind all over again. Who were these masked high flyers that Mike Tenay kept referring to as “luchadors?” WCW had started to bring in more of them like Juventud Guerrera, La Parka, and Super Calo. The more I saw these guys the more I wanted to see.
I had a cousin who was wrestling crazy at one point but Hulk Hogan’s “bad guy” turn had actually caused him to give up wrestling, as hilarious as that is, and all the tapes he had collected over the years. He let me go through them and pick a few for myself to keep before he tossed them out. One tape caught my eye. It was a recorded VHS tape with a label that simply said “Lucha Libre: When Worlds Collide” and I asked him if Rey Mysterio Jr. was on it. He nodded his head and I snatched the tape and ran home.
As I popped in the tape it started up on the Semi-Main Event rather than the beginning of it and I immediately recognized Eddie Guerrero walking out pretty much draped in an American flag along with his partner “The Love Machine” Art Barr. Rather than rewinding the tape and starting over I just sat back and watched what would end up becoming one of my all time favorite matches. In a Two out of 3 Falls Mask vs. Hair Match the team of Eddie Guerrero and Art Barr aka Los Gringos Locos went up against the insanely popular team of Octagon and El Hijo del Santo.
Now, I had no idea what “Two out of Three Falls” meant to the point where I stopped the tape and called my cousin to explain to me the rules there of. With that out of the way I sat and was mesmerized by those four men and my love for both wrestling and Lucha Libre continued to grow. I still have that “When Worlds Collide” tape to this day, but it wasn’t until WCW Halloween Havoc 1997 that my love for wrestling was cemented forever.
That night most wrestling fans were on the edge of their seat for one of the better matches in DDP and Randy Savage’s ongoing war, but for me it was the midcard again. Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio Jr. faced off in a Mask vs. Title Match with Rey’s mask on the line. As a kid it literally terrified me to think that Guerrero could take the mask of my hero, and I can remember literally screaming at the TV at the moments in the match where Guerrero began literally tearing at Rey’s mask. Emotions aside the match was hypnotizing and Rey Mysterio pulled off things that I didn’t think were possible. In my eyes it was the perfect match and to this day it still stands up as my all time favorite wrestling match.
From that point on a week has never gone by that I didn’t watch wrestling in some capacity. Sometimes wrestling is like a bad girlfriend that cheats on you and treats you like crap, but damn she’s beautiful and other times she treats you like a king.