I’ve been a wrestling fan for about 25 years. I am 35 years old right now so that means I’ve been watching wrestling since before I even knew how to write my name in cursive.
In the early days of my wrestling fandom, my dad used to take me to the local sports arena to watch the matches when they came to town. We went to several shows at the IMA Sports Arena (or at least that’s what it was called then) in Flint, Michigan. Sometimes we even took my cousin, although he wasn’t as big of a wrestling fan as I was. Those local shows were never as good as the ones they showed on TV. It was always some up and coming wrestler that we had never heard of wrestling against a big name. the main event for the evening was usually a couple big names wrestling against each other. Nevertheless, we cheered our lungs out for our favorite and booed until we went hoarse for the ones we didn’t like.
But it never failed. Every time we got out to the parking lot after a local show, my dad would say with a chuckle, “You know those guys are all in their dressing rooms right now pounding back a few beers and splitting up the money.”
“No they aren’t, dad!” I would say each time. I was upset at the thought that they were friends because of what I had just seen them do to each other in the ring.
But with the recent passing of Randy “Macho Man” Savage, Hulk Hogan confirmed exactly what my dad was saying. Hogan said that he and Savage were a couple pioneers in the wrestling industry and the were the first to change the rules and “pound the Miller Lites in the dressing room.”
These days, I know that’s what happens. It seems like the “bad guy/good guy” walls have been blurred in some cases and wrestlers are not as divided as I once thought they were. But when I was only 10 years old, the thought of Hulk Hogan sharing a beer with the foe that he just gave a beat down to was an utter impossibility. I wonder if Macho Man is sharing a beer right now with all the wrestlers who have gone before him.
R.I.P. Macho Man.