Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Jeff, We Hardly Knew Ye...

Prior to 2007, my knowledge of pro-wrestling consisted of this: Hulk Hogan.

That’s it. His name. I was aware of him, and what he looked like, nothing more.

Flash forward 2 years later, and courtesy of my WWE obsessed boyfriend, I am self-consciously calling myself ‘a wrestling fan’. It’s not something I ever would have assumed I’d like, let alone gotten into. But now on the eve of losing my favorite wrestler, Jeff Hardy, I feel the tables, ladders and chairs have turned.

WWE and Wrestling Entertainment conjures up images of shameless roided and oiled up hunks tossing each other around a ring while yelling. And possibly a few catchphrases. But now that I’m seeing it through the eyes of someone who loves it, I see that WWE has storylines. It has heroes and villains. And it has heart.

In the wrestling entertainment world, you can’t just wrestle – you have to tell a story as well. In WWE, there are those who can act, and those who can wrestle. Jeff Hardy was one of the latter. His acting ability left much to be desired, and is often parodied in conversations I have with other fans. However, I think I became a fan of Jeff because he was different. He was not HUGE. He was not exceptionally talented. He did one signature move that I didn’t see anyone else attempt much – a rotating flip off the turnbuckle. It was almost gymnastic. He looked different, he acted different, and it seemed like not only was his character an outsider, but he personally might have been one as well.

His moments usually consisted of bad promos, followed by astonishing flipping falls from incredible heights. He threw his body around like a rag doll.

But I wanted to see him win. The underdog, the smaller man, the outsider needed to win. And thus, WWE had me hooked.

He has risen to the top, and personal demons saw him fall again. His personal life really did echo his character, and thus…he has to confront his life, and rectify what he’s become. He is taking time off the WWE to recuperate, and unfortunately…now he’s gone. He may return – who knows how long he’ll take off. He may see fit to not return to wrestling.

I’m not sure that the reason I watch WWE is the same reason everyone else does. I’m not sure that I get out of the show what I’m supposed to get. But I know I at least call myself ‘fan’ partially due to the gigantic flipping leaps of Jeff Hardy. So I guess, he accomplished what he set out to do.

Hulk Hogan who?

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