Christopher, why do you like pro-wrestling? It’s fake! You should be over that by now. Grow up and take a hobby of far greater value, like gardening or fine art or perhaps get involved in a worthwhile social activity.
I hear that. I get that. I understand that. I usually look deadpan in the eye of the loved one who has said something like that and say – ‘No’. Who is to say if later on in my life I might take up gardening or be interested in fine art. Can’t rule it out, stranger things have happened. At present, however, there is no chance. I have no issues whatsoever about enjoying pro-wrestling. I enjoy the storytelling at its best and the ongoing quest of individuals and tag teams to be recognised as the best.
This match to me is a great reason why I love wrestling. The year is 2003. The wrestling boom of The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin etc is on the wane. Things are not as good as it used to be. Yet even here there are enough professionals and creative outlets to make the sports entertainment intriguing to watch. These are the days when Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar were the premiere wrestlers combining the wrestling skill with the emotions and characteristics that make for a great feud.
Some might have an issue with me posting something featuring Chris Benoit who killed his wife and son before ending his own life. I don’t condone that behaviour. It is tremendously tragic and reprehensible. Yet his final actions of life into death do not take away for me what a great mat wrestler he was. He wasn’t about the personality and charisma, he was all about the business in the ring, selling moves, using ring psychology, applying a range of styles to get people into the action in-ring.
So you’ve got those three ingredients and then you’ve got the self-proclaimed World’s Greatest Tag-Team at the time Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin who were outstanding talents rich in promise and potential. Sadly this would never be realised for a number of reasons possibly personal and undoubtedly political in terms of who got the pushes in the company. At this time, though, their allegiance with Kurt Angle forming Team Angle made them value for money for Smackdowns and PPVs.
You have the wrestlers, you have them putting into the match itself. As well as that, though, the crucial ingredient to a fascinating wrestling match is excellent commentary. The Michael Cole-Tazz combination was for me one of the best. They were as good as JR-The King and as suited to their programme Smackdown as those two legends were to RAW. Tazz’s in-ring experience and real street way of engaging with the action is endearing and Cole is not annoying in giving play-by-play commentary – it’s a good partnership providing excellent commentary on a brilliant match.
The joke for those who scorn my love of wrestling – is that as thrilling, enthralling and captivating as this match is, it is just an example of wrestling at its best – and it’s not even the best or to be considered in the Top 20 best matches – that is the sign of a fascinating industry. Enjoy.