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Enter The Dream Realm: Rebirth – Vol. One: My Naveed (Part 1)

You go over to the LOP Columns Forum to check up on the latest happenings in the LOPNXT competition when you see something strange; something that you seem to recall, as if from a former life, bringing back images of days gone by. You go to click the link that is evoking such vivid memories, but your monitor dies and goes to black. As you lean forward to check the power connection, it comes back on of its own volition, releasing a flash of brilliant white light. Before you know what has happened, you slump down in your chair as you slip from consciousness, and once again begin to…

Rebirth – Vol. One:

My Naveed (Part 1)

08/11/2010

Naveed – Boy’s name of Persian/Farsi origin, meaning “Good News.”

Wrestling. It’s the reason we’re all here. It’s the one thing that unites each and every one of us who visit this site. It’s the one thing that ties us together, no matter what our opinions or other interests are. Regardless of where we are from, what we do for a living, how old we are, or the color of our skin, we all found our way to this site because at some point in our lives we loved wrestling enough to want more than what we saw on our televisions every week. In some of us, that love has soured and turned to feelings of frustration and at times outright disgust. In some others, the love that first brought us here has waned and grown dim, yet we continue to come here because it’s what we know, and where we feel accepted. Still others disappear entirely. At different times, I have fallen into all three of these categories.

And yet, somehow, here I am again.

“Come, come, Naveed… Come, come, stay…”
All lyrics from Our Lady Peace – Naveed

We’ve all read, and many of us written, about how the wrestling business is very cyclical in nature, whether it be the mainstream success it enjoys, the social acceptability of being a fan, or even the recycling of storylines from previous periods. One thing that I never really considered, however, is the nature of wrestling fandom. For many people, it is a passing phase, perhaps because their friends or family were into it, or because it was incredibly popular at the time. For many others, it is a lifelong relationship that is always a part of their lives. Some people seem to have a fan relationship with wrestling that is seemingly as cyclical as the industry itself seems to be. Upon reflection, it seems that I am one of those people.

I was a massive wrestling fan when I was a small child. I loved Junkyard Dog and Andre the Giant, and they, to me, were the heroes that I needed during a less-than-picture-perfect childhood. Even from a very young age, however, I hated Hulk Hogan. It caused me some strife with my fellow playmates, seeing as how he was something akin to Jesus for children around the world at that time, but there was just something about him that rubbed me the wrong way, and still does. I think it’s hardwired into my DNA. Anyway, once elementary school ended, I stopped watching wrestling as I passed through the hallowed halls of M. Clifford Miller Middle School in beautiful Kingston, NY. Truth be told, wrestling rarely, if ever, even crossed my mind during this time.

In high school, my love of wrestling would enjoy a resurgence, and every month we would have gatherings of people over in my basement to watch the WWF Pay Per View shows. Shawn Michaels, Undertaker, Diesel, Razor Ramon, and others made me truly enjoy what I was seeing every week. However, this too was not to last, as toward the end of my high school days I stopped watching again, causing me to completely miss the entire Attitude Era in the WWF. Many of the people I used to watch it with during this time haven’t watched wrestling since. Some catch it occasionally, and some watch it again religiously like they once did. Some, like my friend Tim, never left wrestling’s side and continue to catch every show to this day. Looking back on it now, I wish my love of wrestling was less cyclical and more like Tim’s.

“Come, come, Naveed… Come, come, stay…”

I managed to get back into wrestling again just before WrestleMania in 2000 as a result of my mother buying me the WWF War Zone video game from the bargain bin at Electronics Boutique while I was stuck at home for several weeks recovering from a nasty bout with pneumonia. I decided to see if I could still catch RAW on Monday nights, and I never looked back. I watched every episode of every WWF produced television show and bought every WWF Pay Per View for the next 5 and a half years straight, missing a total of one SmackDown! and two Monday Night RAWs. My wrestling fandom was more intense than it had ever been before, and I was hooked.

I first found my way to Lords of Pain in 2001 at the direction of my boy Tim, who was (and still is) an avid follower of the site. Now, Tim is a walking history book with faster access times than a solid state hard drive. Still, to this day, he has yet to join the forum and get involved in any discussions here, which I feel is downright criminal considering he has more wrestling knowledge than anyone I have ever met, hands down. Tim and I, along with some other friends, were watching the WWA Pay Per View at my apartment when he suggested we go to the site to check out a news item he had read before.

Before I go much further, I should take a moment to answer a question I know at least some of you are asking. What is WWA? World Wrestling All-Stars was a very short-lived promotion operating out of Australia that hired a lot of the guys that the WWF didn’t after they bought WCW. It eventually folded in 2003 and their titles were unified with NWA-TNA. During its short existence, much like the beginnings of TNA, the World Title was held predominantly by Jeff Jarrett, with Luger, Steiner, and Nathan Jones taking turns with the belt as well. Yes, that Nathan Jones. I really can’t do justice to just how ridiculous this promotion was, so if you want a more detailed history and a closer look at the absolutely comical booking orchestrated by one Jeremy Borash, here’s the link.

If nothing else, the simple fact that we had ordered these Pay Per Views should serve as an embarrassing example of just how big a wrestling fan I was at the time.

“Are you there, and is it comfortable?
Did you want to escape, try to escape the population?”

Everyone needs something they can turn to as an escape from the pressures of life. Some people have a hobby, or play some sort of sport. Some people play video games, or read extensively. Some people drink heavily or do drugs. At some point in my life, I have turned to all of these things for my escape, but only one thing had consistently been there to help me forget about all the problems and bullshit plaguing my life, and that’s professional wrestling.

For a few hours a week, I could set aside all of my problems and worries and just sit back and enjoy partaking in something I truly enjoy. Wrestling was more than just my way of escaping the trials and tribulations of everyday life, however. Wrestling was also my release. I could manage to get through my week without killing people I couldn’t stand by living vicariously through people wearing too few clothes pretending to fight each other on television. Every time I saw Triple H throw a punch would be one less punch I felt the need to throw at someone else. For me, it was truly cathartic.

“The pressure is deceiving,
For you particularly.”

As the pressures of real life began to increase, so, too, did my dependence on my wrestling release. The stress of graduate school was really beginning to bear down on me, along with the fact that I had moved away from my family and friends and didn’t really know many people in my new locale on the Godforsaken Island of Long. Add to that the stress of a dysfunctional relationship taking that next step toward Hell by becoming a dysfunctional marriage and you have a veritable pressure cooker inside which I was trapped. I reached for that wrestling release valve like my life depended on it.

Shortly after I had begun my first attempt at wedded bliss, I found out I was suffering from some serious health problems. Between the issues themselves, the pain associated with them, and the depression brought on because of them, I found myself increasingly withdrawing from the outside world and relying more and more on my release to help me forget about it all. A few months later is when I first crawled my way into the forums here at Lords of Pain, and much of the rest of that is documented history. With the introduction of the Dream Realm, wrestling became more than my hobby, or my escape, or my release. It became my obsession. While watching wrestling and hanging out on LOP, I didn’t have to deal with the walls of my life that were crumbling down around me.

That is, until I found those walls empty one day. There are no words that can accurately describe the feeling of coming home from work one day to find your apartment empty and your wife gone. No discussion, no warning, just gone, and with a lot of your shit, too. Violated, even raped would be as close as I could come to putting my feelings into words. Even in this, though, wrestling stood me in good stead, as I popped on an ROH DVD and sat numbly, trying to come to terms with what happened. It served me well in another way, as without wrestling I never would have met Steve, who was the person I called that night to clear my head. I still owe him one for that.

Over the next few weeks, I plowed through all of the WWE and ROH DVDs that I had amassed over the preceding years. While watching wrestling, I didn’t have to think about what I was going to do next. How was I going to continue living in that apartment with only my meager graduate student stipend to live off of? How was I going to pay for a divorce lawyer? Was this shit going to get ugly? My then-wife used to work for me in the lab, so I couldn’t focus on my research and school work because it brought everything back. How the hell was I going to get past that and get back on top of things?

It didn’t matter. Christopher Daniels was the shit.

“To let a young man die?
Let him die if he wants to, die if he wants to…”

Then, a couple of weeks later, the news broke. Eddie Guerrero found dead in his hotel the morning of the day he was set to win the World Title. I was dumbfounded. I, like 99% of all other internet wrestling fans, was a huge fan of Eddie’s, but with me it was more than just his ring work and skills as a wrestler. With me, it was his whole life story. Having fought his way back from adversity, overcoming addiction and loss to work his way to the top of the mountain in the industry he loved. I related very closely to that, and his story was truly inspiring. I loved him not only as wrestler, but as a person, and I felt as though he was taken from this world, from me, far too soon.

That loss reverberated through the rest of my life. The wrestling I had turned to for my release and escape from my troubles had begun to bring its own pain and troubles into my mind. The tribute shows and the armbands. The beginnings of Rey Mysterio’s “Puff Daddy” push to the World Title. The fans chanting Eddie. Looking back now, I can see that these were fitting tributes to a man who meant so much to so many. However, at the time all of these things, though meant as a show of respect, felt like they were pouring salt in an open wound. I would find myself inexplicably breaking down in tears, and even turning off my television during wrestling to try to escape the pain I was feeling when I watched it, which is something that had never happened to me before.

More than anything, I longed for that pain to subside. I needed to be able to have that release again. I needed that escape. I needed something to turn to, something to halt the downward spiral I felt my life collapsing into, even if only temporarily. I just wanted to go back to the way things were. Before Eddie. Before my ex-wife. Before I was sick, even. I needed that piece of Good News from somewhere. Anywhere.

“And I can’t live here anymore,
But it’s hard when you reach for that floor.
There’s something that tears me inside, so I can’t go.”

I just wanted to go home.

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Wednesday, August 11th, 2010 at 10:11 pm • ETDR, WrestlingRSS 2.0 feed Both comments and pings are currently closed.

4 Responses to “Enter The Dream Realm: Rebirth – Vol. One: My Naveed (Part 1)”

  1. [...] Enter The Dream Realm: Rebirth Vol. One – My Naveed (Part 1) [...]

  2. holt says:

    What a great point you make. Yes, some people just don’t need to comment to feel they have participated to the fullest. That’s not their style. You’re right on the money with that. Thanks for remembering them.

  3. Cyrus Leuthold says:

    I’ve read some good stuff here. Definitely worth bookmarking for revisiting.