Wrestling and wrestlers have been the news and social media over the last few months. Most recently the UFC promoter made the revolutionary comment that fans should pay $9.99 for “fake” entertainment. As it stands with some of the recent events regarding Dusty Rhodes, Hulk Hogan and “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, some of the all-time greats, I’m not sure if I’d want to live in a world where wrestling was indeed “real”.
“The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes: Also known as “The Common Man”. These weren’t just gimmicks but rather Dusty Rhodes exuded what it was to be common allowing fans able to live vicariously through him. My favourite pro wrestling promo is one entitled “Hard Times” that Dusty did in response to the villainous champion Ric Flair. Dusty shared so passionately what it was to have your American Dream crushed and what it was to live common. Every word Dusty uttered fans held on to. When the Dream returned to the ring and finally defeated Flair for the gold, it was as though the American Dream was restored as soon as the bell rang. Now we return to our “real” world where Virgil Runnels has passed away and it devastated the wrestling world. Why? Because no one wants to live in a world where the American Dream can die.
Hulk Hogan: Everyone in the world knows who Hulk Hogan is because he became synonymous with the most famous wrestling promotion in the world, the World Wrestling Federation now WWE. Similar to Dusty, fans gravitated to this larger than life figure who vanquished all his foes. Hulk Hogan preached a wholesome message to his young fans to train hard, take your vitamins and say your prayers. What else could we want in hero? Hogan’s career progressed throughout the 80s, 90s and early 2000s and his fans followed him everywhere he went. Now we come up to present day Hulk Hogan. Hogan is apparently spewing a different message. A racist rant of hate. It was underhanded how it was found out but regardless there was a vile message of hate and it’s difficult as a wrestling fan to live in a world where the hero goes off script to become a villain.
“Rowdy” Roddy Piper: In life, someone always has to play the bad guy. Sometimes their actions are reprehensible. Other times they just irritate you and get under your skin. When they talk they have no regard for common decency or personal sentiment. It’s like the annoying, younger sibling who keeps poking and poking…and poking you until you react by taking a swing at them or telling them to SHUT UP! That was who “Rowdy” Roddy Piper aimed to be. His bagpipe music could even send you up the wall if you’re not a fan of that instrument. Even when he was for the people, he’d still irritate and talk trash.
As I’m watching the WWE’s tribute to him last night and hearing his theme song play, I realize it’s the final time we’ll hear the bagpipes play and how truly sad it is we’ll never hear his trash talking charm ever again. The silence of the Piper is heartbreaking.