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My Name is Janelle, and I am a Recovering Wrestling Addict

Pro Wrestling

My Name is Janelle, and I am a Recovering Wrestling Addict

Alright, boys and girls, its time I came clean.

Listen to the latest episode of our weekly wrestling podcast, PTW!

I am a recovering wrestling addict.

For much of my misspent youth, I was riveted by the empire Vince McMahon had created. Growing up a child of the 80s, I watched Hulk Hogan, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, Andre the Giant, and the Ultimate Warrior sweat it out in the ring time and time again. The first match I remember vividly was between Bret “the Hitman” Hart and Rowdy Roddy Piper at WrestleMania VIII. It was a great match, transcending the theatrics (at least to my innocent eyes) and filled with blood, sweat, and tears.

My Name is Janelle, and I am a Recovering Wrestling Addict
Stacy Keibler TOUCHED ME OMG!

I watched gleefully as stars rose. My black black heart rejoiced whenever The Undertaker rose from the ring in otherworldly splendor, and giggled at Paul Bearer’s antics. The pyrotechnics, the outlandish costumes, the campy theme music. I was HOOKED.

Growing into my adult years, WWF (as it was once known) became a staple. Hubby and I, and many of our friends, would settle in to watch Monday Night RAW and SmackDown! every week, waiting to see who would turn heel, and who would be the most entertaining.

It was in January 2003 that I finally fulfilled a lifelong desire to go to a live event. The 16th annual Royal Rumble.

It was such a shitshow.

The matches were epic – and I had chosen to honor this occasion by dressing like one of my favorite WWF ladies, Lita. I wore my thong with pride, not caring a whit for what a floozy I looked like. My carefully crafted sign read “I want to be Van Dominated” – an homage to Rob Van Dam, and all his Five Star Frog Splash glory.

My Name is Janelle, and I am a Recovering Wrestling Addict
There’s nothing homoerotic about this. We swear.

I remember the excitement as we looked toward the ring. Though the crowd was howling with delight, there was an emptiness. It was bizarre to be watching without Jerry “The King” Lawler and Jim Ross in the background, commentating their little hearts away.

We had great seats, but that didn’t stop me from making frequent trips to the concession stand. I was all of 22, and the novelty of buying beer in public still hadn’t lost its luster. Who am I shitting? Nearly 10 years later, it still hasn’t! I do remember venturing for my fourth beer or so, and hearing a decidedly cultured and mature voice compliment me on my “costume”. I turned to see a man in his mid-30’s, standing aside what I can only assume was his young, almost pubescent son, eyes agog at my flashing torso, and proudly displayed Superman thong. I had the good grace to be casually embarrassed, and returned to the task at hand – getting drunk.
And man, did I get drunk. I stumbled loosely to the correct row, and proceeded to spill my recently procured beverage ass over end onto the row of spectators before me. Previously, I hadn’t taken any notice to them, they were extraneous, part of the crowd, and non-important. A row of surprised and innocent faces turned and looked at me, swaying in all my drunken-Lita glory. They couldn’t have been more than 12 years old, and all wore powder blue matching t-shirts, proudly advertising their church group. Here I was, scantily clad, clumsily spilling beer on their holy little heads. I truly am the devil. I apologized profusely, only now painfully aware of what I looked like. Their chaperone eyed me with a mixture of disdain and curiosity, and at this time I suddenly decided to explore the venue. I can only hope, that being directly behind the ring, some photographic evidence remains in the archives.

My Name is Janelle, and I am a Recovering Wrestling Addict
I looked like this, only better.

The rest of the night got pretty hazy – I know that we commandeered one of the private skyboxes, and stole their shrimp. I know that I screamed my head off for Triple H…and was PISSED that Brock Lesnar defeated the Undertaker. I also know that I had one killer hangover. SO WORTH IT.

I’m not sure when the love affair ended…it was a gradual thing, to be sure. Now, years later, it’s something we don’t discuss much. It’s a wistful memory. Remember that time we were die hard wrestling fans? Good times, good times.

That is, until recently. With the return of The Rock — THE most electrifying man in sports entertainment! — I may find my way back. What’s not to love about pyrotechnics, bombast, and sweaty men in the world’s most athletic soap opera?

Now if only Shane-O-Mac would return, we might have a deal.

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