Teens disucss their opinions of wrestling

By Dennis Robeniol, 17, Daniel Murphy Catholic HS
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Illustration by Matthew Jones, 16, Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies

The Rock, tall and rippling with rocklike muscles, enters the arena with roaring chants of "Rocky, Rocky, Rocky!" Before he steps over the middle rope, he stands and poses on the corner of the ring turnbuckle with his head up, eyes closed, feeding off the chants and roars from the fans. He poses for a good 20 seconds and everyone can feel the excitement … The Rock is going to lay the smackdown (that means he’s going to kick some butt).

Personally, I’d say that The Rock is my favorite wrestler. He is the first African American and, at 27, the youngest superstar to ever hold the World Wrestling Heavyweight Title. He was voted hottest wrestler of 1999 by People magazine. He’s the Kobe Bryant of professional wrestling. Like Kobe, The Rock is at the top of his game at a young age, and he doesn’t let anyone forget it. The Rock’s cocky attitude is best seen in his "catch" phrases. The Rock might go up to someone and ask a question, like "Do you think The Rock is the great one in wrestling?" Before the person has a chance to answer, The Rock shouts, "It doesn’t matter what you think about The Rock!" (My friends do this to me all the time and I always fall for it. It really ticks me off.)

It is The Rock’s wrestling moves, speech and well-built physique that make him spectacular. He has a great signature finishing move, the "People’s Elbow." Before he does the People’s Elbow, The Rock stands over his fallen opponent looking at the crowd, and slowly slips off his right elbow pad. He tosses the pad to the excited fans who stand, hoping to catch it. Finally The Rock waves his arms in a left to right motion and bounces off the ropes to his left side, jumps over his opponent, bounces off the other side of the ring and as he approaches his fallen opponent he suddenly stops, lifts up his right arm and BANG! … nails a big devastating elbow right into the sternum. No one can come back from the People’s Elbow.

I’ve been a wrestling fan forever

What can I say? I love wrestling. I have lived off wrestling since I was six years old. Now my dad disapproves of me watching wrestling (he thinks I’m too old) but it’s his fault because he introduced me to it. I grew up watching the best, like The Ultimate Warrior, Brutus the Barber Beefcake, Jake the Snake, the Bushwhackers, Sting, Rick Steiner and of course the immortal Hulk Hogan. I know I’m not the only wrestling fan, since wrestling shows sell out instantly. Mankind’s book, Have a Nice Day, is on the New York Times bestseller list. Wrestling videos and soundtracks, like the Rock’s new book, The Rock Says, are selling well. Former wrestler Jerry Lawler is in Man on the Moon. Former wrestler Jesse Ventura is the governor of Minnesota.

Pro wrestling is the ultimate male soap opera, with stories of the conflicts between the fighters, which continue from one show to the next, as each wrestler tries to prove he’s the best man. It’s fun to watch and try to guess who’ll win. One of the best feuds of all time was between Triple H and The Rock. Their first ever match was for the Intercontinental Title at the Summerslam pay per view of 1998. It was a ladder match, meaning that the winner had to climb up a 12-foot ladder and reach for the Intercontinental Belt hanging 14 feet above the ring.

Here’s an example of the kind of play-by-play the commentators might have made: "Oh my God, Triple H just suplexed The Rock right onto that ladder. Oh damn The Rock! Damn him! The Rock almost broke the leader of DX, Triple H, in half by putting him under that ladder and smashing the ladder with a chair. These two men are giving you everything they have to offer in their bodies, whether you like it or not, ladies and gentlemen.
The Rock!—The Rock just got a baseball slide from Triple H with that ladder sticking out of the end of the ring! The Rock is busted open! … Uh oh, The Rock has that ladder set up in the middle of the ring, he’s reaching for the title, but look—Triple H is still up and knocks the People’s Champ from the ladder….

"Pedigree! Pedigree on The Rock! [That’s Triple H’s signature move.] Now Triple H is reaching for that title, The Rock is up as well. The Rock just knocked Triple H from the ladder and Triple H landed on the top rope between his legs! The Rock has the advantage here, he’s climbing the ladder once again. Here comes Triple H now, slowly staggering towards the ladder … it’s Chyna … Chyna has come in and OH! she just low-blowed The Rock."

Chyna, one of the few female wrestlers, had jumped into the ring and wacked The Rock "downstairs," if you know what I mean. Wrestling is crazy. It doesn’t always follow the rules, but that’s what the audience wants, an all crazed-out fight where anything goes.

They have the strangest matches

The World Wrestling Federation officials always come up with new ideas to keep the matches interesting. They have a casket match, where you have to put your opponent in a coffin and lock him in. There was a cast match, in which both fighters had a cast on their leg or arm. In the leather strap match, the wrestlers are strapped together. In a hard-core match, they can use anything—TV monitors, steel chairs, wooden tables, broomsticks, cookie sheets, trash cans, hockey sticks, lead pipes—anything they can find! One wrestler once locked himself in a car, only to have his opponent push another car on top of him. That was funny. I don’t know how he came out alive.

I know a lot of people think wrestling is fake, but it’s not. Professional wrestlers work day and night, seven days a week, entertaining millions of people. Sure, the kicks and punches may seem fake, but the chairs, barbed wire, ladders etc. are real. Maybe the matches are predetermined, but pro wrestlers take bumps. As Triple H once said in an MTV interview, "Wrestlers, especially on my part, are unlike most other professional athletes because they work day and night and take every amount of energy that they have left on to the next show. And if we’re not wrestling, we work out. It’s a wrestler’s job to say in shape because if a very popular wrestler happens to get severely injured, most likely on the next show, another wrestler will steal his spot in the spotlight."

When it comes to trying out wrestling moves, "Don’t try this at home," as they say. Honestly, though, I admit that I have done a couple wrestling maneuvers here and there with my little brother or friends. I remember one time I was at my friend’s barbecue. After we ate, we started playing wrestling. I had my wrestling CD with me, and I played the theme songs and flicked the lights on and off just like a real arena. At one point I laid a steel chair on the floor and did the Pedigree on my friend, dumping him onto the chair. He was okay, though because I kind of faked it. What can I say? I love wrestling.

In my dreams, I’m a wrestler called X-Caliber and I go up against the Undertaker, a tall greasy guy who always wears black. I’d tell The Prince of Darkness he’s an old geezer who needs to get out. I’d get him in my Roundtable finish, in which I pick him up in a fireman’s carry, spin him around and slam him on the ground face first!

Don’t get me wrong; I still have a life, but as a teenager, I always stay home for the WWF’s Monday Night RAW and Thursday Night Smackdown. I feel it is my duty to spread the word of wrestling. I’m a disciple, helping the world appreciate this misunderstood barbaric sport. So if you ever want to watch something brutal, violent, entertaining or something to just get you off your feet, check out the World Wrestling Federation’s Monday Night RAW at 8 p.m. on UPN Channel 13. That’s where, as The Rock says, you can "smell what The Rock is cooking."