My name is Mike Magalnick and I'm a lifelong wrestling fan. I know that sounds like a cliche but I have vague memories of being at wrestling shows as a very small child. My brother tells me that the then WWF ran the local high school every month. Since it was the early 80s I now realize this was at the tail end of the territory days. From the beginning I knew wrestling was a show meant to entertain. I don't know how I knew this so early on but I never thought of it as real or fake. It just was what ir was. It was a strange mix of athletics and stories filled with comedy and drama.
Did I mention that my local high school was in Stamford CT.? Future home of Titan Towers and WWF/E. Growing up without cable, that was my only source of televised wrestling until a local channel picked up a syndicated version of the NWA. Everything else was gleaned from the Apter mags, my favorite of which was Pro Wrestling Illustrated.
Then in 1991, the heavens shined down on me and we got cable. Right there on my TV was hour after hour of the AWA (on its last legs), the GWF (am underrated fed out of Dallas), and Memphis wrestling. I also now had access to NWA/WCW right through the Monday night wars. A few years after that was ECW late at night on the MSG channel. I watched it all.
With the expansion of the early internet came my ability to buy VHS tapes of something I came to love thanks to ECW, and that was Japanese Death matches. The stories of good vs. evil were now replaced with incredible violence and bloodshed. I saw alligator death matches, piranha death matches, glass coffin fire death matches, and the aptly named barbed wire circus net scaffold death match. It was exactly what is sounds like. The commentary was all in Japanese but i didn't care. My favorite wrestler of this type came to be Mr. Danger, who, thanks to a news story on one of these tapes, I learned had opened a restaurant in Japan.
And like ECW, early Ring of Honor would open my eyes to a whole new style and cast of characters that I was totally unaware of. I also dipped my toe into early TNA. And now we have AEW continuing the tradition of new organizations catching my eye with new talent.
This whole time I was attending shows when I could. I rarely missed a WWF/E house show at the New Haven Coliseum, even occasionally seeing a show at MSG i attended many, ECW and later ROH, shows in CT or NY. Sometimes even a random independent in NY or NJ if I could make it. I was in attendance in the old Meadowlands arena the night Steve Austin was hurt with that fateful piledriver by Owen Hart. I was in the building in Danbury CT when New Jack and Vic Grimes took that horrific fall. I was even there the night Steve Austin was hung on the Undertaker's °symbol°. I've wined and dined with kings and queens, and I've used a urinal next to Bob Backlund!
But as my eyes have gotten worse, it became less fun for me. If I wasn't sitting close, it was too hard for me too see. I was born with a genetic disease called retinitis pigmentosa. A few years ago I was officially deemed legally blind. So although I still have some vision, it continues to get worse and worse.
Hence the name of ⁹the column.
What I am hoping to do is look at wrestling from a different perspective. Looking ar where newer talents are now and how they fit into the future, or connect to the past, hopefully seeing them grow and become a bigger part of the business. Picking out story beats or character traits that show potential or growth.
Sorry for the long introduction, but I am a fan and I have seen a lot of wrestling in my life.. I am also very excited to be a tiny part of something new and I hope you will take a walk on the Blind Side with me.