Growing up I remember watching professional wrestling with some of my cousins and uncles huddled around the television. Guys like Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, Roddy Piper and Iron Shiek were basically super heroes to me. I collected their figures. Smashed them together in the WWF ring I received for Christmas when I was 8, you could say they were the male version of having Barbie Dolls. I couldn’t get enough. To this day, I vividly remember my uncle taking me to see The Ultimate Warrior wrestle at a local civic center. However, just like anything else, as you get a little older, your interests change, and the same thing happened with me and professional wrestling.
As I entered my 20s, I was over at a friend’s house where they were watching WWE Raw on a Monday Night. At that time they were trying to push the envelope so far from both a language and sexuality standpoint, that it was a bit much for me. You would see children in the crowd and it just wasn’t right. Someone then sent me a link to when The Rock finally came back to the WWE after being gone for ten years. I noticed that the ratings for the WWE broadcasts when from TV-14 down to simply TV-PG in July of 2009.
Upon looking into it a little further, WWE made a concerted effort to once again market their product to families and children. As I’m getting older, I noticed some of my nephews had WWE shirts on and I began to ask them about it, and they were obsessed with it just like I was as a kid. Because of this, about six months ago, I started watching the program once more, so I could ‘talk the talk’ with my nephews. I have to say, it has been a tremendous amount of fun. So much so, that I decided to order the WWE Network around a month ago. It was an incredibly aggressive and innovative move by Vince McMahon and the WWE. For $10 a month, you get thousands of hours of old wrestling as well as all of the Pay Per Views. As an example, Wrestlemania was $69.95 this year, but it comes with your $9.99 monthly subscription.
So I fired up my AppleTV, invited the boys and their Dads over Sunday, and we had a fun ‘guys’ night, eating wings and chips, and watching professional wrestling’s Super Bowl. This year the event was at Levi’s Stadium where the San Francisco 49ers play. There was a sold out crowd of 76,976 people there to watch almost five hours of wrestling. Sure, its silly and obviously scripted, but probably not much more than some of the reality shows that are on television. To see the look on the faces of my two nephews when they thought their favorite wrestler was going to lose before miraclously extending the match was priceless and brought memories back of my youth. Sometimes its hard to find reasons to get together as a family, and rekindling my youth watching a fun show like the WWE isn’t the worst reason, and now I can’t wait for Wrestlemania 32 next year.