June 17th, 2017. The return of No Rules Wrestling.
Four years ago today, I wrestled my last match. Of course, not professionally or anything like that. The trained stars who do it for a living have my utmost respect. I could never, ever compare. This was just myself versus two others who grew up watching WWE and loving every single aspect of the profession. Like many in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, it wasn’t long before we all thought “What if we did that?” Despite all the commercials and public service announcements, we did indeed try this at home. Being in our teenage years, it was not pretty.
Our stage was the rock hard grass and cold ice on any Wisconsin winter night. Our tables were cardboard boxes taken from the dumpster at the local McDonald’s. Our baseball bats were actually foam baseball bats I used as a kid. I’m pretty sure we still used a real sledgehammer and cookie sheets and whatever else we could find. For the most part, we were about as safe as we could be. No stupid neckbreakers or trying to paralyze each other. No cutting our foreheads for blood. No chair shots. None of that junk. Believe it or not, we did try to remain in one piece and not be a fool like you saw late at night on all the Backyard Wrestling VHS tapes. Our love was the moves and the beauty of the presentation. Our own pay-per-view names, our own story lines, our own characters, etc. That was so much fun to brainstorm!
A little teaser here…
I mean, our logos and theme music were both originally done. The whole production of it all brings back such good memories.
Like everybody though, we slowly but surely got older. Our bodies started to feel the bumps a little bit more. It became more and more of a hassle to go outside in below zero weather and freeze attempting to body slam one another. The video cameras only went up in price. The editing and everything involved went up a notch each year. Then came middle school, then came high school, then came graduation, etc. We had other interests. WWE was still on TV, so that part of it all was still there. Putting on ring attire and acting out a fantasy at age 18 or 21 was a little different than when you were 16 and just having fun.
After years of being inactive, we all agreed to one final match. A triple threat match for the vacant NRW Championship. As custom to the name of our ‘company,’ there would be no rules. This was No Rules Wrestling afterall. Anything goes, one final hurrah from the three guys that stuck around the longest and three guys that were the pillars of the entire organization. The location was set for Belgium, Wisconsin on June 17th, 2017. However, this was not happening on the grass or outside in the middle of the night with poor lighting or a dinky camera set up. No, we went all out.
In the months leading up to the big showdown, we searched high and low for supplies to make our own ‘wrestling ring.’ Yep, this was going to be one heck of a spectacle. If we were going out, we were going out in a blaze of glory. We had help from those who knew how to set up things. We found what we could at rummage sales and took a trip to Home Depot and put the finishing touches on the ring. Then came the promotion. It wasn’t much, but we made Youtube videos. We teased it all on Facebook. We started getting our gear ready. We began to go over the “creative” part of the match.
All that good stuff; that is what we loved! The planning, the preparation, the pageantry, the anticipation, the ideas, etc. We only had one walk through. That was on the Monday night before that Saturday…and yes, we tabbed bell time for 6:05pm on Saturday. My idea there. During the walkthrough, we weren’t entirely sure if a referee was needed or not, but make no mistake, he was. Shout out to the best darn ref in NRW history! I am refraining from using any names in this column, but you all know who you are. None of this could have happened without you.
After busting my butt at the gym and getting into halfway decent shape for the first six months of 2017, there wasn’t much time left. Laying out the match and putting all the pieces of the puzzle together was left to me, as the biggest WWE fan of the bunch. We already knew the finish. That was the first thing decided on, which it should be. From there, we worked backwards and all had our ideas of different things to include. Truth be told, it didn’t take very long. Like I said, it took just one quick walkthrough a few days beforehand. However, that was mostly to see if the ring would hold up and make sure the referee was set, which he was. Two days before, on June 15th, at a birthday dinner with my family, I will never forget my sister saying good luck and to let her know how it went immediately afterwards. She was worried. We were ready.
Finally, Saturday arrived. We had already agreed on NOT telling anybody the location, as this was just going to be for us select few and some of our closest family and friends. When it was done and over with, then we would post the video, grill out, toast a few beers, etc. The match itself though was for us and nobody else. Little did we know, friends and family DID find out about the location and some showed up to join in the festivities and watch the magic up close. That was not what we had wanted, but hey, whatever. It was “go time!”
Four years ago today, I made a comeback but I also said goodbye…
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you NRW: The Return.