Today I got my ticket to Wrestlemania 22...
Now while I’m sure many of you are rolling your eyes , this is a very big thing for me. This is bigger to me than the event itself. It symbolizes something very deep to me, the end of one era… and the beginning of a new one.
5 years ago, I lost someone very dear to me, not to death, I just lost someone who no longer wanted to be apart of my life anymore. Most of you know the situation, and for those who don’t, you don’t need to know.
At the time I was lost and hurt. I had felt pain like I had never felt before, and it affected my life in just about every negative way possible. I lost my job, I lost friends, I lost my passion for music, for art, and I wanted to die. I had to smoke from the minute I got up in the morning, to my last conscious moment at night. For all the harm it was doing me, it was the only thing that kept me from wanting to die. It sedated me.
Right around that time was when I started watching wrestling.
Steve watched it every Monday and Thursday night, and always wanted me to come over to hang out. I wasn’t going over there to watch wrestling, I was going over there to hang out with Steve, to smoke, to get out of the house. It accounted for the whole 4 hours a week I left my home at the time. I never liked wrestling, I gave my brother shit about watching it all the years he did. I had no love for it, and found it a waste of time.
For some reason, I unexpectedly found myself being drawn into it. Taking an undeniable interest in it, at a time when I didn’t have interest in anything. Life was just a big white empty room that I lived in, and each day just ran one into the next. I could barely bring myself to take a shower sometimes, it was that bad. But before I knew it, come hell or high water, I was there for what has now come to be known as “wrestling night” at Steve’s.
Wrestling… who would have thought?
I have always loved characters. That was what I loved about He-Man, Transformers, Garbage Pail Kids, comic books etc. I’ve always been taken with characters. And for the first time since I was a kid, I had found a place where characters existed, in a comic book like setting, but were real people taking real risks. My love for bodybuilding also played a role in my obsession with wrestling. At the time I was grossly out of shape. Smoking my ass off, and either starving for weeks, or eating incessantly. I was gross, and I felt like it. At one point, after having not trained consistently for almost 4 years, I had gotten up to 230lbs and it was all fat. I truly no longer felt like myself. There were so many things in my life that I wanted to change, but had no control over at the time. But one thing I did know how to do, was workout, and lose weight. And if it was the only thing I could change, then I would do it. Being exposed to those physiques week after week and wanting to look, and feel in shape again, let alone look like them, was a big inspiration to me. It got me back into the gym. Which naturally forced me to lay off smoking, more and more as time went on. On my workout CD I’d listen to all of the various entrance songs the wrestler’s would come out to. To remind me why I was back in the gym, to drive me. I had developed an incredible amount of respect for the wrestlers, both as athletes, and human beings. I had read up on them, heard their stories, heard of their adversities they had overcome to get where they are now.
I needed someone to look up to, I needed a hero… I got a hundred of them.
Since then not a single Monday Night RAW, or episode of Smackdown has gone by that I haven’t seen as it aired. I needed a distraction from the pain, I needed something fun in my life again. Wrestling has provided this for me. It has been a long 5 years, and along the way I have suffered through an insurmountable amount of pain, and hidden it well from the general public. I really don’t know how I would have gotten through it without my wrestling.
All along, all I’ve needed was some closure to the events that had unfolded 5 years ago. No amount of wrestling could provide that. I needed the real thing. I needed an end to it. A week ago today I got it.
I spoke to the very person who I had lost so long ago. I got the closest thing to closure that I’m ever going to get, and after 5 years of living in hell over it all… it’s finally over. I will always have a scar on my heart over all that happened… and I still have a lot of healing to do, but the continuing pain is over.
One week later, I procured my ticket to Wrestlemania 22. I made it. I’ve earned it.
I made it through all the hell, all the pain. I whipped my ass back into shape, and am now on the road to compete in a fucking bodybuilding competition. Every sleepless night, every tear shed… And I finally got the answers I needed. And as if it were some sort of reward for it all, when I finally broke free, I was given this chance to go to Wrestlemania.
The last 5 years have all culminated to this event.
Wrestlemania is the biggest show that wrestling has to offer. It has been called the Super Bowl of wrestling, The World Series of wrestling. Wrestlemania has consistently sold out in less than a minute, year after year after year. Last year when they announced that Wrestlemania was coming to Chicago for 2006, I literally was in tears. The dream of going to the biggest show of the year in my hometown seemed to good to be true. Those who have been by my place since that day last March, have all seen the running countdown on the dry erase board in the kitchen. I told everyone, I’d sit in the last seat in the last row… I just want to be there. Even knowing it was coming, I wasn’t sure I’d get to go. Like I said it sells out in less than a minute. I was fortunate enough to get on the pre-sale list, and somehow I got a ticket.
April 2nd, 2006 will be the true culmination of all of these events for me. The day I’m standing there, World Heavyweight Championship around my waist, sign waiving in the air, and the show starting. I’ll have a hard time not breaking down right there.
I will always love wrestling, I will keep watching. It has helped me in so many ways. It somehow became my therapy. I still listen to that CD during workouts to this day, and if you’re wondering what song I’m going to pose to at my competition, I bet you could at least guess where it’s from.
I have a lot of regrets in my life, but one of the biggest has to be that I did not get into wrestling at a younger age. I'm certain that if I had, I would have made it my life's goal to become a wrestler myself.
I’m sure some of you may find this story to be a bit over the top. But it is real, and it is true. And this moment in my life is very important to me. For the first time in 5 years… I now have been reminded of what it truly feels like… to be happy.
So should you be watching Wrestlemania 22 on April 2nd, 2006... Know that Tom Else is there, and that it is one of the most special moments of my life.
170 days until Wrestlemania 22.