walk on the wildside: National Wrestling Alliance
stomps, slams and thrashes its way into the into the
Athens Arena, by Kimberly E. Mock
question: What's of questionable taste, employs more
spandex than Britney Spears' stylist and represents
a veritable fight of good versus evil?
you answered Christina Aguilera, you're right!
you answered professional wrestling, you're also right!
somewhere between a prime time Telemundo network drama
and an afternoon of Jenny Jones episodes is a macrocosm
inhabited by an armada of spandex-clad heroes that,
through the magic of television and cross-marketing,
has helped the sport of professional wrestling become
America's lowbrow pastime of choice.
it seems watching grown men (and women) thrash about
in a ring has become a mainstay in modern American
culture. And while millions may argue over its validity
- are fights real or the product of elaborate choreography?
- there's no denying wrestling's power as a bona fide
sport and, for many, a lifestyle.
wrestling has outlived (and out-financed) such beloved
American television entertainment phenoms as ''American
Gladiators,'' ''Putting on the Hits'' and ''Roller
Why? Perhaps wrestling's subsistence lies in the critical
life lessons we've learned since professional wrestlers
first entered the ring for an afternoon of smackdowns.
to professional wrestling, wrestlers' trademark moves
such as Stone Cold Steve Austin's ''Stone Cold-Stunner''
and The Rock's ''The Rock Bottom'' have nestled their
way into the American lexicon.
has taught us valuable life lessons too, such as:
After a hearty fight, the good guy usually prevails;
using steroids makes you large and a shoo-in for anger
management therapy; bleached platinum blond hair is
generally a bad hair choice (thanks Hulk Hogan!);
if and when Randy ''Macho Man'' Savage comes bursting
through your garage door, you'd better be ready to
eat some Slim Jims.
perhaps the most important lesson we've learned via
the well-lit arenas of Sunday night pay-per-view is
this: watching a good ass-whooping can be good clean
American fun. And in Athens, the fun is just about
to begin. On Saturday, the granddaddy of all wrestling
cliques, the National Wrestling Alliance, will stomp,
slam and thrash its way into the Athens Arena as part
of ''Arena Wars,'' an all-out, multi-card beat down
that NWA-Wildside owner, promoter and television syndicator
Bill Behrens describes as a ''passion play of good
your typical passion play may not employ the messiah
cavorting about a well-lit ring whilst fans chant
''Get him,'' Saturday's showcase will feature David
Young (the ''Messiah of the Spinebuster'') taking
on Jason Cross (a.k.a. ''The Role Model'') and Jimmy
Rave, ''The Original XTC.''
two- to three-hour romp also will feature ''The Archangel''
Gabriel versus Azrael with Jeff G. Bailey, as well
as a match pitting The Impact (a.k.a. Chaos &
Cage) against Bulldog & Tank with Al Getz. Behrens
says the match is designed to delight spectators with
wrestlers' death-defying stunts, continual bombast
and ongoing beefs.
contrary to popular belief, you need not study up
on the past four years of league matches to understand
the story lines at the show - although with the NWA's
new monthly matches at the Athens Arena on the second
Saturday of each month, you really have no excuse.
going to be entertained from square one,'' Behrens
says. ''You're going to see tremendous athleticism,
people taking gigantic risks with their bodies and
their lives. (It's) good guys versus bad guys and
a series of matches that each tell a story. ... It's
an aggressive soap opera.''
parents hoping to show their kids the plight of good
versus evil - a seemingly common theme in wrestling:
nobody liked it when Andre the Giant took down Hulk
Hogan - without the raunchy outbursts sometimes associated
with wrestling, fear not.
says each match is tailored specifically to its audience
- meaning, while kids likely will witness a serious
beat-down, matches still can be a fun, family-friendly
what about the match's reality factor? Is it real
or is it all a sham?
Behrens says, the match's real factor may just be
in the eye of the beholder.
you see actually happens,'' Behrens says. ''So if
you see someone bleed, they are actually bleeding.
There (are) no blood capsules in wrestling. Whatever
these people do happens that very evening.''
in the Athens Banner-Herald on Thursday, July 10,
on the Online Athens website
Wildside official website
Mediaman, Greg Tingle, interviews Bill Behrens
Tribute (Greg Tingle's website)