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26.5.18 1656
The W - Pro Wrestling - Losing a fan, losing Jay
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Scott Summets

Since: 27.6.02

Since last post: 5217 days
Last activity: 5185 days
#1 Posted on
Reading all about Austin coming back kinda made me nostalgic to past angles, but most of all it made me think of one of my best friends Jay, possibly the biggest Austin mark ever and a fan who went astray. This is long, but it kinda goes hand in hand with the WWE losing their casual fans.
Jay and I first met in the 7th grade. We played on the same Hockey team and were Star Wars marks at the time. We both loved it, and both were normal, goofy middle-schoolers, me in the 7th grade, him in the 6th. We became fairly fast friends. After the season I never saw him again until my Sophmore year. In the football JV-Freshmen locker room, lockers were being handed out to freshmen players, and sure enough Jay got the locker next to mine.
The years weren't kind to our friendship--we really didn't talk much, I thought he was a pompous Freshmen, he thought I was just a weird jerk. But then came Junior year.....
The second half of Sophmore year I started becoming better friends with Jay, and by Junior year things changed. We sat together in the bus to ride to games, we would sit next to each other on the sideline during practice, work out together. By then, I was in the Varsity locker room, a huge accomplishment compared to the JV one. The JV locker room was dark, with tiny lockers that barely fit all your pads, whereas the bright Varisty locker room with its name plaques, huge lockers you could sit in, and wood panneling was heaven. In the middle of the season, the coaches decided to promote a linemen to the Varsity locker room.... and Jay was picked, a huge honor for a Sophmore.
Only problem was that no lockers were open, so someone would have to share with him; I gladly accepted. Jay and I became locker mates and soon became better friends by the day. Before long we had a great bond and he was one of my best friends in the world. I remeber one specific day, we had a meeting early Friday morning before a game when he came in, sat next to me and said, "Man, what was Rikishi doing running in on that Rock match?" I was stunned, I always tried to talk to Jay about wrestling, but he never really liked it. He watched in the Hogan days, but here he was, talking about who ran over Austin, how good Benoit was, etc. etc. He got into it.... big time. He loved the WWF, and most of all, he LOVED Austin.
I don't know if it was because Jay is a bit of a redneck and is from the South, or just because he became enamoured with Austin like the rest of us, but he LOVED the guy. Jay got Austin shirts, and an Austin camo hat. I can look back at pictures and see the two of us fishing together, his Austin hat on matching his huge smile. On one fishing trip, I hid his gear in the woods, leading to him trying to tackle me. As we tumbled around, fighting each other, it soon became heated, that is until Jay tackled me, bounced off a tree, threw his fists up like a piston with his middle finger extended just like Austin, and dropped a FU elbow right on me.... we both died laughing.
By Royal Rumble 2001, we were best friends and both pumped. It was the first PPV we would order together, and Jay was ready. I remeber Austin coming out, how he went nuts when HHH jumped him, how huge he marked out for Austin winning. Jumping ahead to WM 17, Jay had a party at his house for the PPV, because Austin was getting the belt back. The party was divided on Rock vs Austin, but every move Austin got in Jay erupted for, and he was shocked at Austin and Vince teaming up. In the end, he loved it, but the bad times soon were to come........
Jay liked the paranoid Austin, but hated the Invasion. He disliked WCW and didn't care about a bunch of nobodys in his eyes invading for no reason, and Invasion destroyed his trust. He had been suckered in by the Austin face turn the week before, and his heel turn shocked him, he annouced that WWF was stale, Austin was being made into a joke, and the Invasion ruined everything.
Jay was out of the loop after that. For months he wouldn't miss a PPV for the world, but now he didn't care... until one day in late December I asked him a question and he responded with a WHAT!. He was back, and we soon ordered PPVs again. Jay was happy Austin was back, the Austin he knew and loved, the take no crap Austin, and his dreams were coming true that Summer.
See, Jay always wanted to go see WWF live. He couldn't go to the RAW where RVD and Dreamer came with me or the Rumble (both in Atlanta) due to vacations, but when he heard RAW was coming to Atlanta on June 10th, we had to get tickets. Jay was again getting frustrated with WWF like many of my friends, and we figured RAW would revive our interest. We got seats on the hard camera side, right at the ramp, 8 of us went, most of the people going were pretty frustrated with the WWE by this point over the botched Invasion and Brand Extension.
The day was a great one, we got to the arena early, met RVD, Lawler, and Terri. I remeber Jay and the rest of our group seeing a huge truck in the parking lot and guessing it was Austins. Around 6 pm we rested near the entrance (if only we had been in the parking lot to see Austin leave....), but around the entrance we talked to fans, fans in Austin shirts, everyone talking about the Austin vs Flair no punching match the week before, everyone excited to see Austin humilate Naitch.
Soon enough, Raw started. Out comes Vince and Flair, they say Austin isn't there. Yeah right the crowd thinks. Jay is pumped, Austin was one of his heroes... he admired his work ethic, how he came back from injury, and he loved the guy... we wondered when the glass would break that night. The RAW passed.... then it happened, Vince vs Flair! Austin's arch-enemies! The arena was tingling, we expected the glass to shatter at any moment, the whole night everyone had been waiting for it. But it didn't happen--no Austin.
As we retreated the arena, the more net-savvy of my 8 friends and I wondered where Austin was, what happened to him, and how a new era in WWE was beginning, the end of the Flair-Vince war, Brock becoming a player, but no Austin. I get home, check online and see "Austin Gone!" The next day I called Jay and told him, he was fine with it, RAW was great without him he said, Jay loved the Hardyz jumping Taker, the Booker skits, HBK's return, seeing Flair and Vince, and a great RVD vs Eddie match. Jay enjoyed it without him.
That weekend was a sad one. I logged on to 411wrestling early Saturday morning to read Jay Bower's column. I clicked on it and saw what Austin did to Debra. I called Jay, and asked if he heard about Austin. He said he had, he walked out... no I told him, he beat Debra, he's done. Jay's voice sank, his hero had fallen in one week. He didn't watch WWE for several weeks, and after SummerSlam and me leaving for college he only watched for our perrenial favorite Billy Gunn (don't ask). Even then, he rarely watched. After Billy and Chuck's wedding, he told me he was done with WWE. He still occasionally tunes in and tells me how different it is, he waxes nostalgic to the WWE/WWF he once knew, the one he loved, he tells me he wants to love it again, he wants to get into it, but he can't. He remebers Triple H, the best damn heel he had ever seen in 2000 and 2001, he remebers the fun times of 2000, even before he told me of his love, he liked WWF from April of 2000 on. He loved Austin, Rock, Hunter, Taker, etc. He loved it all..... most of all he loved Austin. I remeber this Austin mark Jay, the guy with the Austin hat, who won EVERY belt in Smackdown 1 with Austin (and the tag belts with Austin and himself as a CAW) and flipped out when I went and won all of them with Mankind forcing him to rewin them with Austin.
But the point of this story is Jay. A wrestling fan, from 2000-2001 he couldn't miss WWF for his life. We would watch together and have a great time, huge PPV parties, etc. He still comes to the parties... but he doesn't care as much. Summer of 2001, the Invasion started to get his hopes down, fall of 2001 crushed them, but winter and spring of 2002 got his hopes up, NWO and Hogan coming back, Y2J as champ, but WWE blew it. Jay hated the weak Jericho around WM, he got frustrated again, and when Austin left, he left too. Jay was the biggest mark ever, sure he knew what a "push" was, and workrate, he knew Benoit and Angle were gold in the ring, but his heart layed with Austin. The WWF/WWE took the biggest fan I ever saw and sent him away, he wants to love it again, but he can't. He sees RAW he tells me, and it frustrates him more than it frustrates us. He remembers the golden days, HHH and Austin at No Way Out 2001, Flair of olden year, the WWF he once knew. Jay is still my best friend, and I am excited about coming home from college to see him. We talk almost daily about all the good old times, some involving wrestling. We had a football variety show and Jay and I did a stand up routine that ended with him stunning me. Jay is my best friend, but he is done with WWE, he doesn't care anymore, but he wants to. And this is the point, there are millions of Jays out there, who want to love wrestling still, who want to watch WWE again but tune in and dislike what they see. I will tune in forever, but not everyone is like this. But once agin, the WWE still has a chance.... Jay wants to love, all the old fans want to love it again. Who knows when WWE turns it around, when the old fans tune in and see that magic? RAW's 10th anniversary is coming, WM is coming, WWE, your second chance may be coming....... use it well. Bring Jay and all the old fans back, bring back the magic.

You don't get it boy, this isn't a mudhole... it's an operating table. And I'm the surgeon.
Something tells me to stop with the leg. I don't listen to it.
But where in the world is there in the world
A man so extroardinaire?

C'est moi, c'est moi, I'm forced to admit!
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Boudin rouge

Since: 1.3.02
From: Denver, Colorado

Since last post: 3494 days
Last activity: 2938 days
#2 Posted on
I think that there are points to where us fans, no matter how long we've been so, reach a certain threshold. We either get jaded and stop watching or we get jaded and continue to watch, beccause we are hoping for something great to happen that we can all mark out for.

As far as I go, I never really liked a lot of what the WWF/E did in 1999. After the whole 'Higher Power' thing, I lost a bit of interest. I kept watching, and I never really regained my confidence for the product until No Mercy '99, with the awesome ladder match between the Hardyz and Edge & Christian. To me, 2000 (at least up until they botched the Austin return AND a possible HHH face turn) was the shining moment for WWE in the last four years. Great action, good storylines, some comedy mixed in, but it was more enjoyable to watch than now.

I'm jaded with WWE right now, but I know there are other sources of good wrestling out there. I'll keep watching WWE. I won't stop. I KNOW they'll get better. They've got to. Otherwise, it'll be like other organizations that went by the wayside.

My brother and I watched WCW right up to the last Nitro. For us, that was a very sad night. At any rate, I hope to, as a wrestling fan, never have to see a favorite promotion of mine go down in cinders like WCW. Or ECW. Or the AWA. Or the UWF.

Are fans who stop watching smarter than us who keep watching? Or vice versa? I dunno. But it takes all of us for wrestling to be what it is, because WE make Vince and company their money. We can dictate to WWE what they present ultimately. YES WE CAN. Imagine if, on one night, RAW's rating dropped one whole ratings point? It can happen. No one could've seen WCW's demise four years down the line at the height of the nWo angle. Enough fans took DubbyuhC-Dubbyuh's crap no longer and stopped caring. Now, WCW, its PPV's, it's TV shows, even down to stuff like the way their rings looked to the music that opened their TV programs, are but memories.

Anyway, to end this, I hope that WWE will do something to make us care. And I agree with you, Scott, that WWE has a HUGE opportunity to do it. They've got to make sure though, that they'll also set a foundation to build their future on top of giving us the last few dream matches that this era could ever witness. Because after Steiner, Goldberg, Rock, Austin, HHH, Hogan, Angle, Brock-- who's left? Has WWE invested enough to create a situation where dream matches will be a reality in the future? Only time, and wise decisions, will tell...

To add to Scott Summets' sentiment-- WWE HAS NO OTHER CHOICE BUT to bring back the magic. So please bring it back!

David Crockett sez it best, folks: "Look at 'im, Tony! Look at 'im!"
Lap cheong

Since: 15.1.02
From: Philly

Since last post: 3986 days
Last activity: 3985 days
#3 Posted on
Scott, that's a hell of a story. I'm pretty jaded myself at the moment. I just happen to be a person who sat through the ascension of HHH from DX to uberheel, to Austin walking out, to the return of HBK, to Steiner's return. Man, I totally understand Jay's hopes being raised, only to be squashed. Now, I mostly watch WWE out of habit than necessity, but I will say that for all the things we fans endured in 2002, and it was a lot, 2003 is poised to start with a dream match in HHH-Steiner. I won't exactly put on my optimist's cap, but I have to admit, having seen Steiner as champ at the same time HHH was champ, it was something that did cross my mind. If they deliver, then there's still a glimmer of hope and I'll just leave it at that. Thanks for the story Scott.


How DARE you mistake my humility for markdom?!
The Amazing Salami

Since: 23.5.02
From: Oklahoma

Since last post: 5099 days
Last activity: 5098 days
#4 Posted on
I guess I'm not a real fan....I've never felt any thing remotely like any of those 'emotions' about wrestling. In fact, it seems really, really bizzare that someone would (a) care that much about it and (b) write an 18 mile story about caring that much about it.

Not that it's wrong or bad....just bizarre to me.

Yeah, I post on a message board..yeah, I read spoilers...yeah, I like the backstage info...but I am only a casual fan. It's official.

"Dammit Parts Unknown you made my inbox is overflow." - Net Hack Slasher
Lap cheong

Since: 15.1.02
From: Philly

Since last post: 3986 days
Last activity: 3985 days
#5 Posted on

    Originally posted by The Amazing Salami
    I guess I'm not a real fan....I've never felt any thing remotely like any of those 'emotions' about wrestling. In fact, it seems really, really bizzare that someone would (a) care that much about it and (b) write an 18 mile story about caring that much about it.

    Not that it's wrong or bad....just bizarre to me.

    Yeah, I post on a message board..yeah, I read spoilers...yeah, I like the backstage info...but I am only a casual fan. It's official.

Hey, wrestling has all kinds of fans, but they're no less important or "real", if they care about what they see in any way or shape, IMHO.


How DARE you mistake my humility for markdom?!

Since: 19.1.02
From: Minnesota

Since last post: 783 days
Last activity: 651 days
#6 Posted on
When I was a kid my favorite wrestler was Hulk Hogan.
Then it was the Ultimate Warrior.
Then it was Razor Ramon.
Then when he left it was Shawn Michaels.
Then it was Chris Jericho (in WCW)
Then it was Triple H
Now it is Kurt Angle.
If Kurt were to quit or get hurt tomorrow, it'd be somebody else.

Alot of wrestling to me is rolling with the punches. Your favorite guy, if he ever gets there, will only be on top for a short amount of time, and then, he's gone.

There will be times when the stories are crap, the wrestling is bad, you just can't stand the shows, etc. And then there will be times when everything is clicking and even on it's worst night, a pro wrestling show will feel special.

I never thought I'd see Hulk Hogan or Shawn Michaels in a WWF(E) ring again, but I thank God that I did, I don't care how their stories were "bungled" or anything, just to see them "one more time" was special.

In the end, it's just a show, and the parts and the actors change all the time. I find it hard to get too emotionally involved, but sometimes, it just happens, like the night Foley won the title, or the last Nitro.

Steve Austin isn't the answer to the WWE's problems. Truth be told, there is no one person who is. Austin's time in the spotlight is over, and I'm sorry that your friend is having a hard time dealing with that, but in a few years, maybe just maybe somebody else, say RVD or Brock, will spark a new interest and make him watch again. But if you're watching just for one person, you're setting yourself up for disappointment, because there's always someone else.

So you can complain about your HHH or Undertaker or whatever, I don't care. Every week there are guys like Chris Jericho and Booker T and Rob Van Dam out there doing their damnest to entertain me, and I'll keep watching for them. HHH's run at the top, I don't care WHO he's dating, won't last. Just like Hogan's or Michael's or Austin's, yeah they're still around, but they aren't the "top" any more (no not even Michaels).

Be a fan. But you shouldn't expect that one guy will last forever. That's what Jay felt, and I'm sorry for him.

RAW Satire 12/16
Vikings (4-10) -Well on our way to mediocre.
Badgers (7-6) - The Alamo Bowl? Oh boy?
Buffy 7.10 More and more interesting every new episode. But isn't the call to arms supposed to be later in the season?
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So let me throw it out to the crowd - I know that none of you get HDNet and I'm not even sure any of you are watching this show. That's right. They pulled HDNet about a year ago and the only way I can keep up with ROH is via web.
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