I am Turn-of-the-Century Wrestling Historian

It was 1996, during Bash at the Beach, a WCW pay-per-view event, that Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall, and Kevin Nash betrayed their fans and initiated what they dubbed: "A New World Order of wrestling."

Hulk shouted, "all you fans, you can stick it!" before children started crying, and adults shouted angrily while bombarding the ring with plastic bottles and debris. 

A lot of children lost their faith in goodness, in America, and in the "good vs evil" duality of life on that fatefal day in 1996 because those were symbols that Hulk Hogan represented. However, the New World Order would become so popular just before the end of the century, that most children began to see them as "the cool" and thus good guys. 

It was an amazing reversal in public opinion that showed the ability of children to love the bad guys. And indeed, I myself began to admire the highly hierarchical, competitive structure that created a personality cult around a founding figure, in this case Hulk Hogan, who had after becoming leader of the NWO changed his name to "Hollywood" Hogan. A generation of children were forever changed. 

Wrestling was a fundamental part of my childhood. I still remember my first live wrestling event. It was 1994ish, and I was standing by a hastily built ring on Nicaragua St., just three blocks east of my house, right in front of the town's Catholic church and main park. I can't recall exactly who was fighting, or who won, but I do remember the two most extreme acts during the whole endeavor.

The bald wrestler in  nothing but a mankini had hidden a plastic fork next to his junk and, when the ref wasn't looking, pulled it out and stabbed his opponent in the forehead. The guy who got stabbed had 4 bloody dots on his forehead, and he plead with the ref. I was in the front row, and heard the ref tell him, "I didn't see it!"

I shouted at the ref, "look at the fork on the side of the ring, and look at the blood!" but the asshole either didn't hear me or chose to ignore me. I learned right there that life wasn't always fair, and that not everyone plays nice. The next lesson I learned would concern front-row seating.

I was standing by a bunch of conveniently placed pipes, maybe ten or twelve of them, when the Forking Victim bounced off the rope and the Bald Mankini picked him up on the rebound, swinging him over the third rope, to the street below, with him landing on the pipes, nearly destroying his back and my toes. 

He got up from the pipes hissing and grabbing his back, before using my shoulder for a little support. And indeed, I steer clear of any front-row seating to this day as if my life depended on it. Whoever said that wrestling doesn't impart important values, doesn't know the real meaning of self-preservation. 

Not surprisingly, 4-8th grade in the Bronx was my wrestling phase. It was not unusual for me to watch up to 15 hours of wrestling a week. All knowledge, if interpreted academically, is useful. Knowledge is power, for maybe in 50 or 70 years someone will want to know how kids spent their time just near the end of the previous century. 

I am pretty sure that in the year 2070, if I am still alive, I will be able to more accurately recall the lives of more wrestlers than Roman emperors. And not surprisingly, many of my contemporaries, who like me grew up on a steady diet of smack-downs and Stone Cold Stunners, will recall more the lives of wrestlers than US presidents. 

If I were to develop a television series to teach children American history, I would use the wrestling model of trash-talking, betrayal, challenges to duels, name-calling, and aggressive, near obsessive quest for power and glory. If only Andrew Jackson had some pyrotechnics like the Undertaker, more would remember the details of his life and duels. 

They say wrestling is fake, but it is merely an exaggeration of reality. Unlike reality, wrestling prefers to bring out the fireworks on a daily basis, as if to remind us that to some men, every day is the 4th of July, a day to celebrate war, "freedom," and no-win scenarios.

The Kobayashi Maru is the hardest test at Starfleet precisely because test-takers know ahead of time that they are pre-determined to lose. The Kobayashi Maru is a test of character and heart; wrestling is an attempt to visualize the heart and character of a man in the face of a no-win scenario, or to measure the arrogance of a man assured victory.