My 25th Anniversary As A Black Wrestling Fan

This month marks the 25th anniversary of me being a black wrestling fan. It’s been one hell of an emotional roller coaster ride for me seeing the highs such as Bianca/Sasha main eventing WM37 and the lows such as Bianca getting squashed in 26 seconds at SummerSlam in 2021. 

My life as a wrestling fan actually begin on a pretty hot night of July 6, 1998 when I was just a young black millennial teenage boy growing up in my old Jackson Street neighborhood because prior to that night, I didn’t even know what wrestling was because part of my childhood in the mid-to-late 1990s was dominated by video games and The Original Power Rangers series that was definitely at the height of its popularity at that time and that show saved me from what I was going through being the worst period of my life in the early 1990s (1990-1992).

Also around that mid-to-late 1990s period, I became a fan of The Atlanta Braves because I would sometimes watch the games on TBS and they definitely had one greatest and most legendary North American sport team runs ever in the 1990s. They were even coined “The Team Of The 90s” by legendary sportscaster Bob Costas.

Now, fast forward back to that hot night of July 6, 1998 where I was in front of my tv in my old room and I remember being bored with nothing to do, so I flipped through the channels until I landed on Channel 51 which was TNT way back in those days and I saw a wrestling match on Nitro and my first thought was “what is this?!?” and then that crowd at The Georgia Dome was red hot that night as well as the beautiful cruiserweight wrestling that I saw from the likes of Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio and seeing a black guy named Booker T on my screen made me instantly fall in love with wrestling from the moment I watched it.

I would watch wrestling religiously every week from 1998 to 2008. During that period I saw the highs such as The Legendary Smackdown 6 Era from 2002-2005 and the lows like Triple H’s Reign Of Terror from 2002-2004 which included the racially insensitive angle with and burial of Booker T at WM19. By the mid-2000s I say like 2006 to 2008, I was rapidly getting tired of seeing bad weekly TV on Raw and Smackdown so much to the point of me outgrowing wrestling and also having an emotional and mental burnout from those 10 years I watched wrestling religiously. 

During my 10 year sabbatical from watching wrestling, my personal life was rough because my grandmother, who I loved so much like a mother figure to me passed away in November 18, 2009 which is the saddest day of my entire life and then prior to my 10 year sabbatical from wrestling, I lost one of my oldest cousins to horizontal gun violence on the night of March 31, 2007 which was absolutely devastating to me because he was definitely one of my favorite cousins growing up as a kid because I was always happy to see him. Fast forward to May 2014 where I lost my oldest nephew also to horizontal gun violence and late in November of that year, I lost an old black female friend that I grew up in the old Jackson St neighborhood with and her little black son to a horrific suicide and these 3 deaths had took a very bad toll on my emotionally and mentally which makes 2014 one of the top 5 worst years of my personal life. 

Fast forward to 2018, I felt like I was missing something from my life, so when I watched a 45 minute highlight video to “All In” which is the prelude to AEW, my love for wrestling was once again reignited and ever since then, it’s been a joy to see more representation that I didn’t see very much of when I started watching it in 1998. I love the fact that I see so much diversity of black characters today from the serious Hurt Business to the fun loving New Day and then you have two strong and unapologetic black women in Bianca Belair and Jade Cargill who had until late May of 2023 the longest major American women’s wrestling title reigns of the current modern era because they both carried not only their respective companies, but they represented and carried The Culture on their entire backs during their title reigns because I hardly saw any black wrestlers outside of Shelton Benjamin in 2004-2005 and MVP 2007-2008 who had very lengthy title runs.

The Conclusion - I think it’s very important to know that wrestling is a variety show and not every match is going to appeal to everyone. I love to watch all wrestling not just the major American wrestling promotions like WCW back in the day to WWE and AEW today. Wrestling is for everyone except xenophobic, sexist, bi/homo/transphobic douchebags including predators who commit SAs against women and even children.

I am very thankful for what these 25 years of being a wrestling fan has brought for me and it’s been a wild and crazy ride. 

By Kwame Shakir 

My 25th Anniversary As A Black Wrestling Fan My 25th Anniversary As A Black Wrestling Fan Reviewed by Blerds Online on Friday, July 07, 2023 Rating: 5

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