I'll admit, they got me.
Longtime readers of this site will know I'm not the world's biggest Jake Roberts fan. Not because he wasn't a talented performer back in his day, but rather because I'm one of those unforgiving animal rights nuts and I still mourn the untimely -- and unnecessary -- demise of (sniff) our little Damien.
Rest in peace you scaly lil' hall-of-famer, right alongside our beloved Frankie.
But during last night's special "Old School" edition of Monday Night RAW, I was able to put all that aside and enjoy Roberts' return for what it was, a good old-fashioned trip down memory lane, snake-on-a-heel style. While I personally would have gone for broke and had Brutus Beefcake come out and (gasp) lop off the locks of Roman Reigns, I'll settle for what we had.
Assuming they don't get spoiled by their own success.
WWE, like any business, probably finds it hard to resist a good thing. When you trot a bunch of nostalgia acts out in front of a new generation of fans -- and said fans lose their minds -- there is a post-event back-patting committee that looks across the glowing "Universe" and thinks, wow ... they love it.
But just because the interweb bees are buzzing does not necessarily mean we need more honey. Part of what won me over last night is how good Roberts looked, especially considering the last time I saw him. He's an old man any way you slice it, but at least it didn't look like he was recently exhumed.
That's the memory I'd like to preserve until the next "Old School" edition.
I'm sure the temptation is there to recycle the "Legends" roster for the upcoming Royal Rumble pay-per-view (PPV), which is always good for a few surprise run-ins from the stars of yesteryear. Hopefully, that temptation is resisted, or at least satiated with a new set of old faces.
I chose to forget that most of them can no longer work, so there's really no reason to remind me.
Even the ones who can, like the New Age Outlaws and Too Cool, should be folded neatly and tucked away in the one-and-done dresser. I was marking out for Scotty Too Hotty's worm, partly because it hearkened back to the much-ballyhooed Attitude Era, but mostly because it took so long to complete, I had time to go get my oil changed and be back before the chop.
I remember going to Old Timer's Day at Yankee stadium not long after my hero, Don Mattingly, retired from baseball. As I watched him take a few cuts, then field a couple of hard choppers down the first base line, I couldn't help but think, "Damn, 'The Hitman' still has it!"
But he didn't.
He was out there slinging yarn and going deep on the geezer patrol. That's a far cry from putting him back in the line-up in late September against the best the sport has to offer. But the fact that the Steinbrenner machine had convinced me that "Donny Baseball" was still the cat's meow, made Old Timer's Day an unmitigated success.
That's why they only have it once a year.
I hope that holds true for the "Old School" phenomenon, as well. I'm not talking about 40-something comebackers like Goldust or Rob Van Dam, I mean the dinosaurs who can still roar with the best of them, but who also don't have the same bite they did back in their heyday.
The less we see, the more we believe.
I've never felt as strongly about that as I do now, especially in light of persistent rumors that Hulk Hogan will be hobbling down to the ring for a big spot in the very near future. That's fine by me, assuming the usually-insatiable Hulkster can hit a few poses, drop a few legs and scurry off to the cryo-chamber to await his next summons.
No more, no less.
If he -- as well as WWE -- ignore the urge to milk the Hulkamania udder until its completely dry, then I believe that even the most-hardened smark, somewhere deep in the blackest part of their rancorous bowels, can find some of modicum of disremembered gaiety.
Nostalgia is like therapy for the soul ... just don't get hooked on the treatments.
I no longer poo-poo on Jake Roberts for his history of substance abuse, nor do I continue to anguish over the heartbreak caused by Don Mattingly's strikeout against Randy Johnson in the 1995 ALDS. Time heals all wounds -- and it has -- and the memory of what was good and right in the careers of my childhood heroes now lives on through sporadic but otherwise solicited curtain calls.
Take a bow gents, you've earned it ... then hurry up and get the hell off the stage before someone ruins it.