What WrestleRama Means to Me
By "Cannonball" Alex Steele
The biggest show of the year. The Granddaddy of them All. Our Super Bowl, Our Stanley Cup; each of these phrases denotes the centerpiece event, date, or otherwise centrally focused object of a company, a sports team, and, in today’s case, wrestling promotions.
Professional wrestling (or, as it’s called these days, “sports entertainment” (a term I personally detest but ultimately recognize as the proper term)) has been an art form that is now, and has always been, near and dear to my heart. I didn’t grow up in the 80s with the rest of the Hulkamaniacs, I didn’t grow up with the birth and early days of Monday Night Raw, and I didn’t grow up with the the millions (AND MILLIONS!) of the Rock’s fans in the late 90s; my first experiences in the world of pro wrestling took place in the 2000s, at the very tail end of the Monday Night Wars and the Attitude Era. And the one era that I was able to take to heart and truly admire and adore was the Ruthless Aggression Era...the Era where one John Cena dared to answer the challenge of a newly bald Kurt Angle on SmackDown. The Era where Chris Benoit (may God damn his soul) won the World Heavyweight Championship and took part in my still-to-this-day-all-time-favorite moment when he embraced his great friend, Eddie Guerrero (may God bless and rest his soul). The Era where I fully believed that hard work would eventually pay off. The Era where the matches were far more competitive and more sport-like than the Crash TV, puppies and garbage wrestling, Springer-esque content of the Attitude Era.
So, yeah, I’m a Ruthless Aggression fan. It’s what I grew up with; deal with it.
One thing I did have in common with my older peers that grew up in the 80s and 90s, however, was that WrestleMania was THE biggest show of the year, hands down. Sure, there was Starrcade, but the WWF had most of my attention. I didn’t even know WCW truly existed until right before it went out of business (and then I read the great book “The Death of WCW” by Bryan Alvarez and R.D. Reynolds to get caught up on what I’d missed). WrestleMania XX had my favorite line of all time:
“Where it all begins. Again.”
Now, I know you’re looking at the title of this essay and you’re thinking “waitaminute, buddy, ya spelled WrestleMania wrong, ya jerk!” And my response is “hey, pipe down, grasshopper.”
Because WWE has WrestleMania. WCW had Starrcade. ECW had Barely Legal. TNA/Impact Wrestling has Bound for Glory. ROH has Final Battle. New Japan has the Tokyo Dome show on January 4.
The Michigan Wrestling Organization has WrestleRama.
For those of you not in the know (most likely ALL of you), the Michigan Wrestling Organization is a local promotion based out of Southeast Michigan, serving the Flint, Fenton, and Burton areas for over 20 years. We’ve also had shows out in Battle Creek and the suburban Detroit area. It is a promotion that is very near and dear to my heart, and not just because it is one of only two promotions with which I currently participate in the art and the sport of pro wrestling. This promotion runs things very differently than other indie feds in the area, (dare I say, even the country); in the MWO, we are one big family.
Like any family, we have disagreements and drama every once in a while. But for every one of those moments, there are tons more moments where everyone is on the same page, and everyone has the same goal in mind: put on a PPV quality show. And WrestleRama is our biggest show of the year, where storylines culminate, new stars are made, and existing stars are transitioned to legendary status.
Whether it was the Blue Bomber (no, he didn’t have a Mega Buster on his arm) winning the MWO Heavyweight Championship and then unmasking to reveal Pure Fury Jeff Clouse, or Skullz returned to answer the challenge of the monster known as Blackwell, or guys like “The Flatliner” Scotty Fraytown and “Old School” Ric Caurdiea tearing the house down with a match for the ages, the fact remains that WrestleRama has more than its fair share of (kayfabe) drama and action to captivate fans of all ages and all types.
Every year, when WrestleRama season approaches, I get excited. The anticipation is palpable. I get excited for my comrades as they get to live out stories they’ve planned out for months and months. I get excited for the fans that know -- ABSOLUTELY know -- they’re getting the best show of the year.
As of this writing, WrestleMania has come and gone, and many have gone on to say it was one of the best Manias in recent history (and scores of other indie nerds have taken the company to task for its perplexing booking). Go ahead and relive it on the WWE Network, or take time to indulge in its rich history via the WWE Network or tapes you have lying around at home.
On Sunday, April 22, 2018, at the Richfield Road Church in Flint, MI, the men and women of the Michigan Wrestling Organization will be putting in the work to make OUR show the best damn show it can possibly be. And if you’re in the area, come check it out. You won’t be disappointed.
In the meantime, I’ll be sitting here, dreaming my dreams and planning for my WrestleRama moment, whatever it may be, in hopes that, one day, it will come. And I hope that, when it does, it will be because I earned it.
Here are some links in case you’re interested: