By Rock Mamola–
It is good to feel like a child again…
When I was a kid, growing up I knew three things and three things only. My love of the sport of baseball, my passion for music, and watching WWF (at the time) Wrestling with my dad. Instead of growing up following the great Walter Payton, I grew up wearing the bright yellow tank top and headband which read Hulkamania. I ate my vitamins and said my prayers and followed the guidance of a steroid ingesting Hulk of a man first over any guidance my parents would give me before the age of ten.
Of course growing up through high school Hulk Hogan grew out of style and old, but I still kept with the sport (and yes, it is a sport) to find a new character to mimic. Like many I fell in with the Austin 3:16 and D-Generation X crowds because of their anti-establishment mentality when it came to everything they did. I morphed from a man who preached a message of staying fit to admiring the outlaws of the sport.
Of course we all know the sport follows story lines written well in advance of the actual act being portrayed, but the older I got the more the story lines seemed to get stale. Maybe I left the sport because the heroes I grew up watching decided it was time to try something else. First it was Hogan, then Shawn Michaels and The Rock followed suit. The stars of the sport were leaving, and so did my viewership. To me I was in a transition phase of my life watching more of the four major sports and I found myself seemingly more uninterested in WWE (switched May 5, 2002) the older I got. There was nothing grabbing my attention much like the Monday Night Wars of the past did, and I have watched very little WWE product since then.
That just changed last night.
With millions watching on cable television and thousands in attendance at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California…one man got me interested again in the WWE. You may know him as Dwayne Johnson, but for millions (AND MILLIONS) of wrestling fans he is better known as “The Rock”.
Now of course Rock is simply the latest in a line of WWE legends to return to the stage for the WWE’s major PPV giant, the annual Wrestlemania. Hulk Hogan for instance came back in 2005 after being inducted in the WWE’s Hall Of Fame to Wrestle at the age of 52. Stone Cold Steve Austin went from the biggest name in the wrestling industry to a part time guest host in 2009. Do I believe Rock when he addressed his fans last night saying:
“I want to take this moment to tell you all here, you’re live here…millions watching around the world. Thank you, I love you and it is because of you that I am back in this ring, and it is because of you and I give you my word…I am never ever going away.”
I want to.
As a guy who left the sport of professional wrestling as a fan many years ago, his presence in the sport would keep me interested. I however do not believe this appearance is more than what it was last night….an appearance.
While the WWE is still a multi billion dollar corporation holding event all around the country 365 days a year, the product in the ring has lost it’s luster. The personalities of the sport have dwindled down to a few. The sport needed an injection of what made it so successful for such a long period of time…..life. The Rock brings life to the sport with not his physical abilities in the ring, but what fans term “mic skills”. The greatest accomplishment a wrestler can do is bring something new to pop culture that sticks. Between “The People’s Champ” and finding out “If You Smell What The Rock Is Cooking?”…..The Rock is no doubt the most electrifying man in sports entertainment.
The problem is like anything else in the business of sports entertainment, how long can the nostalgia last?
While The Rock returning to the WWE may keep my attention for the short term, I know following Wrestlemania the interest will go back to where it was before his “comeback”. Much like the NHL’s Winter Classic, Wrestlemania with The Rock involved will bring back memories of my childhood and the excitement I was once for the sport will return….but only for a day.
The older we get, the more the child in us dies and I (like many of you) have fallen victim to this. While I consider wrestling a sport at it’s true core, in the end it is all about the entertainment value of it. What The Rock did last night was took a jolt on energy, turned it sideways and stuck it up my candy a**. While this is just a temporary story line to hype up a pay per view…..
It just good to feel like a kid again.
The Rock Report airs every Friday night at 10pm on 670AM The Score and 670TheScore.com WORLDWIDE!
You can follow Rock at Twitter.com/RockMamola