A WrestleMania XXVIII Preview for the Former Wrestling Fan and a Stroll Down Memory Lane
By Joseph Williams
When I was in middle school, it was right after the Monday Night Wars broke out, with WCW Nitro and Eric Bischoff battling eternal top dogs in ratings and history, WWF (now WWE after the World Wildlife Foundation got all litigation-happy on them) Monday Night Raw led by Vince McMahon (before his wife ran for U.S. Senate). These were the golden days of wrestling. New superstars like Bill Goldberg, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and The Rock were breaking out, taking ratings and popularity to never before seen levels, while legends from the dawn of WWF in the 1980s spread throughout both organizations, rewriting their characters and storylines, mixing with the new guys, and leading the second Golden Age of professional wrestling.
For about two years, I was glued to the old tiny TV in my parents’ room, watching WCW Nitro each week. At the time, I convinced my mom, who was a skeptic, that WCW was the more family friendly of the two shows. I first started watching in Spring 1998 not long after the Wolfpac formed, creating two alliances within the nWo, New World Order. Right after the calendar ticked over into the new millennium, I started barely following wrestling. The last pay-per-view I ever ordered with friends was January 2000’s Souled Out, with a controversial win by controversial wrestler, Chris Benoit. For just under two years, I watched Nitro. I sometimes watched Thunder (usually read recaps online). I read and participated on message boards debating storylines, wrestlers, and spoilers. Three or four times a year, I’d get together with my cousin and some friends to split the cost of buying the pay-per-views, order some pizza and wings, and enjoy a Sunday night of elite pro wrestling. What first hooked me was a free trip for my baseball team to the Saturday morning local wrestling show at NBC News Channel Five’s studios in midtown Memphis. My friends at church had started following WCW and I helped them start an nWo Wolfpac tribute website. We were 11 and 12-year olds, fascinated by this whole new world and the splitting of this thing called a new World order. Read more