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Of screwdrivers and the love of wrestling


It’s August 2018.

I just started hormone replacement therapy earlier in the week and I sit down to watch Evolve 109.

Stokely Hathaway stabs “Hot Sauce” Tracy Williams in the eye with a screwdriver and my world explodes into ALLCAPS.

The recap is frenetic and excited, heightened by my work-in-progress endocrine overhaul. I lament that I didn’t get a good enough picture of the stabbing to use as my cover pic and I have to settle for Darby Allin down and out during his loss to Joey Janela in the evening’s main event.

It is to this day one of my favorite moments I’ve ever had the privilege to cover.

It’s April 2023.

I’ve been out for five years, my love of pro wrestling slowly battered and bruised by a global pandemic, the continuing exposure of exactly how many scumbags are in our beloved business on every level, and a life that’s growing into everything I ever wanted it to be, cutting my wrestling time down to the bare minimum to do my job here.

“American Dragon” Bryan Danielson stabs “Hangman” Adam Page in the eye with a screwdriver and my world explodes into ALLCAPS.

It’s been a long, frustrating week.

Even before eight months of shockingly solid WWE programming got yanked out from under me in the blink of an eye, I was having a hard time.

A miserable migraine and FOMO as I sat down to watch a do-nothing go-home SmackDown while my wife was out with her girlfriend and some friends at a Trans Day of Visibility rally and everyone on my Twitter feed seemed to be watching a superlative Supercard of Honor or various indie offerings wrecked my Friday.

I slept horribly, and the emotional hangover from the night before made Saturday a grueling joyless day of liveblogging, even as both Stand & Deliver and WrestleMania 39 Night One delivered good to great pro wrestling shows.

Sunday went off the rails early, my wife’s phone broke and she had to rush out to get it fixed, and I spent the afternoon listless but mostly excited for WrestleMania Night Two.

I told myself because the build was so good, because the Bloodline and Cody and Kev and Sami poured their heart and soul into their performances, because I love Roman Reigns as a heel champion crawling up the record books, and because creative had been solid all up to this point, that I was okay with any finish to the main event.

And Roman Reigns hit the spear for the three count after Solo Sikoa defied referee’s orders to slide in the ring and hit the Samoan Spike and end Cody’s dreams of doing what his sainted father could not, and I was okay with it.

It felt limp, it was frustrating, but I figured “hey, that’s heat I guess,” and I was confident the next beat of the story would make it all make sense.

In the main event of a long, sloggy Raw that left me bored and tired, Brock Lesnar ragdolled Cody like he was nothing, and with the knowledge that Endeavor was buying WWE and putting Vincent Kennedy McMahon back in a position of explicit power, all of my goodwill evaporated.

WWE’s not for me right now, and that’s okay.

I’m in the unusual circumstance of needing to watch shows I don’t like to keep the lights on, so I’ll kvetch about it, but I’m really not about tearing anything down or telling anyone they’re wrong for liking things I don’t.

It’s a big world and we all have to live in it, the least we can do is be kind to one another.

It’s August 2016.

I’ve made the decision that I’m likely going to stop watching Raw, six years after I started, because three hours long and I want my Monday nights back.

Almost immediately there’s an opening in the liveblog chair here at Cageside Seats, and I accept the position, because I know the names of all the moves, I’m a decent typist, and I have too much social anxiety to be a secretary.

After all, it’s not like I was *really* going to stop watching, not for long, right?

It is April 2023.

I put Sermon on the Mat off until the late afternoon because wrestling has been demoralizing and I wanted to prioritize going out and enjoying the lovely spring weather we’ve been having. I crashed through it and I settled in for AEW Dynamite, without much love for pro wrestling in my heart.

Tony Khan has a big announcement. Tony Khan always has a big announcement. Tony Khan is the king of overpromisers and underdeliverers. I expect to be underwhelmed.

FTR are putting their career on the line against the Ass Boys. The grass is always greener. I expect them to lose and leave the company.

I expect the show to pass without much interest.

I am wrong.

“American Dragon” Bryan Danielson stabs “Hangman” Adam Page in the eye with a screwdriver and my world explodes into ALLCAPS.

He had just finished cutting a promo about how much he loves Claudio Castagnoli, Jon Moxley, and Wheeler YUTA, and how much he loves pro wrestling. (And how everyone else on the roster and in the rest of the wrestling world is an amateur, but nevermind that.)

He spoke of his children and how he’s trying to raise them right, to be handy and solve problems, jauntily tossing a screwdriver in one hand.

I love Claudio Castagnoli.

I love Jon Moxley.

I love Wheeler YUTA.

I love Bryan Danielson.

I love pro wrestling.

I love pro wrestling again.

I love pro wrestling even when I think I cannot, even when I resent it for being a promise I made when my life was small that feels constricting when my life grows big, even when it lets me down.

I love pro wrestling even when I hate it.

I will always love pro wrestling.

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