Saturday Evening Hangover

Saturday Evening Hangover
By Dennis DuBay

With the wrestling action fierce and constant lately, there really is very little time for myself to write anything other than a show review. I don’t break news - I have no insiders, and I wouldn’t want to break news anyways. I watch wrestling for the same reason as most - for the entertainment value of it. Talking with fellow writer Andrea Hangst of Fansided earlier on Twitter today struck up a memory of mine that I’ve written about before, but wanted to revisit today.

I grew up during a time when there were just a handful of channels on the TV that were ready available to me. My Mom wouldn’t allow cable tv or a phone in our home for years. The reasons for this were never explained to us. But we lived this way until I was about fourteen.

So we had basic antenna television in our house. Living in Mid-Michigan, there wasn’t a whole helluva lot of wrestling to find - we had WWF on Saturday mornings and NWA/WCW on Saturday nights, with Saturday Night’s Main Event from time to time. But once in a great while, when the wind was blowing just right … or maybe not blowing at all, the ol’ antenna would pick up a rogue channel on the over the air signals. And once in a while, you'd get a wrestling program you’d never seen before.

This happened one Saturday afternoon when my antenna … okay, so it wasn’t an antenna, it was a bronze hanger I fashioned into an antenna for my tv because I broke off the original hanger so I could pretend I was a weatherman. I don’t know man, 1986 was a weird time for me, okay?

Anyways, somehow that day I picked up the feed for a station that was carrying the UWF. Now, I'd read about the UWF, but I’d never been able to watch it. And I honestly can’t even tell you what I saw on that program that day. It was still pretty cool.

Around that same time, I was also a huge radio nerd. Art Bell was my favorite thing in the world, but sometimes I’d start scanning the radio dial (on AM, that was the wild west of radio, back than,) just to see what I could find. Never in my life did I think i’d stumble upon a wrestling program on the radio. But there it was, on WFAN in NY. Jody McDonald and Rich Mancuso from midnight till three a.m. (this is going purely by memory, I could be off on the hours) talking pro wrestling. At that point in my life I’d never heard of Dave Meltzer or the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, so all the “inside info” that McDonald and Mancuso were sharing was blowing my mind. One of the big stories I remember hearing from them was the death threats WWF were getting for turning Sgt. Slaughter into a terrorist sympathizer … claiming that’s why they moved venues. Years later, I remember reading that ticket pricing was the real reason.

Fast forward to the current timeline and we’re spoiled as hell. Hundreds of hours of podcasts waiting on the cloud for us, wrestling streaming in dozens of places and hours of tv for us to consume.

Part of me misses the “hunt” for the action. I think that’s why I dig the independent scene so much more as time moves on. While it’s easy to find, there’s mystery in what you’ll be seeing from the local group from (insert whatever part of the country) they are coming from.

It’s a really great time to be a fan. I think we should all stop focusing on the things that don’t really affect us in our living rooms: attendance, tv ratings, talent contracts, etc. And just revel in the amount of content provided by men and women who sacrifice their lives for this business.

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