Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Thank You, Johnnies

Two of the best, ever
Photo Credit: Dirty Dirty Sheets
I'm very much an adventurous wrestling fan. I will sit through anything once, whether it's the most familiar of familiar styles like a WWE main event match between John Cena and Chris Jericho, or the most arcane and unusual of the lot, like an absurd match between Survival Tobita and Mojukin Ken. When it's middling or worse, I pass on it, but when it's good, when it's really good and eye opening, then I have no choice but to really heap praise on it. It's what I do when I find something I really like.

Until Saturday and Sunday, I had very limited exposure to what English mat wrestling1 was all about. I had seen Johnny Saint before at my first ever indie show, and I had been exposed briefly to wrestling exchanges by Colt Cabana and Nigel McGuinness before as well. However, I'd never been exposed to the full breadth of what men like Saint and Johnny Kidd could do. I likened Saturday's match to a religious experience, because it was like my eyes were opened to a whole new world of what wrestling could be like. I already had faith in what the artform could be, but that faith was bolstered by both matches that these two English legends produced, the first night by themselves and the second with the help of Cabana and Mike Quackenbush. I saw the beauty in each wristlock. I saw purity in each reversal. Hell, I even found a place in my heart for the Lady of the Lake, even though it literally had nothing about what I normally enjoy about matches about it.

After the second match, both Quack and Saint got on the microphone to thank the Philadelphia crowd for being in their words, not mine2, such a great crowd for wrestling. I appreciated the sentiment, but again, I don't think they should have been the ones thanking us, but vice versa. So, I will take this opportunity TO say thank you to all four men for awakening me to another world of potential for wrestling to take me as a fan and critical viewer. Thank you Colt Cabana, for your antics in the second match, making it a more fun experience than it would have been without your presence. Thank you Mike Quackenbush, for putting this match together and for wanting to expose your loyal fans to as many different styles of wrestling as possible.

And thank you most to Johnny Saint and Johnny Kidd. I was honored to have been there both nights to see you two legends ply your trade, for teaching me something new about wrestling, something that I've been missing out on for years and years now. It really was an engrossing experience, and it helped cap off what has been one of the most tremendous months in wrestling history.

1 - I erroneously used the term "chain wrestling" to describe the style used by Johnnies Saint and Kidd. I linked one William Regal to my Fair to Flair piece on the match, and he admonished me for using it. So, there's your knowledge for the day; it's not chain wrestling, it's mat wrestling or just plain ol' wrestling. On a side note, how f'n cool is it that Regal read one of my blogs? REALLY COOL is the correct answer.

2 - Just to head off the anonymous commenter who thinks I get off on "patting myself on the back" at the pass.

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