When I was a kid, I was a big wrestling fan. Pretty much every weekend, my best friend Mike and I would get up on Sunday mornings to watch the WWF, then spend the rest of the day practicing suplexes and a variety of submission holds on my little brother.
Mike's favourite wrestler was the Ultimate Warrior; he once went so far as to try painting his face in the manner of the Warrior with paint from my mother's crafting set. Unfortunately, it wasn't the sort of paint which easily comes off, and he ended up spending most of July that year with his face covered in blotches from the paint thinner we had to use to get it off.
My favourite wrestler was actually a villain. In fact, most of my favourites were villains; they just seemed so much more interesting to me. Probably says something about my own misanthropy, but that's really neither here nor there. Regardless, when I was a kid, I loved the Nature Boy, Ric Flair of the WCW. He was everything I wanted to be; he could do anything and everything he wanted and no one could stop him, because he would just kick their asses. For an extraordinarily smart but sickly and lonely kid of seven, it seemed like the perfect life. Plus, he was blonde, which meant he and I had in common the only thing I actually liked about myself.
Sadly, though, as a young boy in St. Louis, I came along just a bit too late to experience the best of wrestling in the Gateway City. Wrestling at the Chase was a St. Louis institution for almost a quarter century, running from 1959 to 1983. Unfortunately for me, I was only three years old when the show went off the air, and don't remember it at all. A shame, too, as some of the biggest names in the wrestling world made their way through St. Louis throughout the show's run.
Eventually, both Mike and I grew out of our love for wrestling. He fell in love with Dungeons and Dragons, I went for illicit drug use. (To be fair, though, I also loved D&D; particularly while getting high and listening to Sonic Youth records. Ah, memories...) Years later, I tried to watch pro wrestling again, and was surprised to find it held no appeal for me anymore. I still remember all the characters of my youth, though, and I still love them all. And Ric Flair is still the greatest.
My thing of the week this week is the intersection of my childhood hero and St. Louis' wrestling history: Ric Flair vs. Tommy Sharp at the Chase.