Man, it seems like yesterday when wrestling was so awesome. Paul Rome can remember Wrestlemania 14 in vivid detail. The Romester had the first of his five annual Wrestlemania parties in his rents basement when he was a cocky, little 8th grader. My buddies and I all jumped for joy as guest referee Mike Tyson turned on Shawn Michaels and helped Stone Cold Steve Austin win his first ever WWF (sorry, now WWE) heavyweight title at the Fleetcenter in Boston. My buddies and I then proceeded to my rents front lawn to have our own royal rumble hardcore match.
One friend drew blood on another with a shot to the face with an empty milk carton. I got clocked in the forearm with a swim noodle by another friend, leaving a nice sized welt for a week. The cardboard boxes then came out and were the hardcore weapon of choice for many of my friends. Lastly, one pal of mine got his hands on my street hockey goalie blocker, put it on his hand, and began jabbing people in the arm and back, leaving everyone that crossed his path with bruises like none other. Man, that was fun.
Those days are long gone, but make Paul Rome smile when looking back. The reason those days are long gone is not because wrestling no longer interests Emperor Rome, but today's "superstars" will never compare to the superstars of my youth. Those superstars included Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, Kane, Undertaker, DX, Bret "The Hitman" Hart, Ken Shamrock, and many more. Heck, the R-rated Superstar Edge was an up-and-comer back in those days and the Hardy Boyz were worth watching because of their daredevil, high flying moves.
When looking at Wrestlemania 28's card, Paul Rome just shakes his head. The 28th edition of the mini-Super Bowl (in my non-humble opinion) which is in early April features Nexus bum Daniel Bryan vs. the Celtic Warrior Sheamus for the World Heavyweight Championship. Also on the card is CM Punk vs. longtime veteran Chris Jericho. I like Jericho because he reminds me a lot of myself, but CM Punk is junk. The Big Schmo squares off with Cody Rhodes for the IC title. That sounds so exhilarating to me..one over the hill wrestler who starred in the terrible film "Knuckleheads" against some guy who is only in the WWE because his last name is Rhodes.
It is cool that one of my all-time faves Triple H will try to snap the Undertaker's undefeated Wrestlemania streak and The Rock vs. John Cena is a once in a lifetime match. That is the only good thing about Wrestlemania that may peak one's interest.
Rome wonders out loud often, "Why did wrestling become so lame and where did all the superstars go?" Here are my reasons for the decline of wrestling from my days as a youth.
#1-No Competition-once Vince McMahon bought out WCW, the creativity in the story lines seemed to decline. WWE Raw was losing the rating war for some 80 plus weeks to WCW's Monday Night Nitro when Vince pulled out all the stops when he unleashed the "Attitude Era" to surge back in front. The story lines became less outrageous when he owned WCW and because of that, they became less entertaining. On a side note, how can you not love Vinny Mc? He is one of my heroes. Nothing would make Paul Rome laugh harder when Vince would come to the ring, begin his spiel, and then draw the ire of the crowd who began chatting not so nice things at Vince. The WWE Chairman would respond by yelling into the microphone, "Shutup!!!" God Rome loved that. Hilarious. Check it out for your own laughter.
Plus that awesome strut he had to the ring is duplicated with each step Rome takes everyday.
#2-Hollywood- I hate Hollywood for robbing The Rock of an even more legendary career. Stupid movies like the "Tooth Fairy" and the "Game Plan" have tarnished the Brahma Bull's career. He was so awesome and was in his prime when he left. Then you see Steve Austin in a bunch of dumb movies like that flick "The Expendables" with Stallone and "The Condemned." He was a riot in the "Longest Yard" though. Stone Cold should stick to "Tough Enough" because his eliminations were awesome. If Hollywood was not calling for these guys, wrestling would've been better for a longer period of time.
#3-Bar Set Too High- With all the talented names I listed above, how can you compete with that? Not to mention WCW had the NWO and guys like Diamond Dallas Page giving themselves "Self hi-fives." Guys like Triple H, Cena, Randy Orton, and the Undertaker are still top dogs, but besides that, no one is worth mentioning in the same breath. The Miz (even though I love his arrogance), Sheamus, Ted Dibiase's kid, Alberto Del Rio, David Otunga, and the Hart Dynasty are all a joke. I think the Brooklyn Brawler has more charisma than those jobbers combined. It is unfair to be so hard on those guys, but be at least somewhat entertaining. No mike skills makes Paul Rome not watch and Rome thinks a lot of people agree.
Emperor Rome was truly blessed to be a youngster during the height of wrestling. I don't think you will ever witness a period of more entertaining, talented, charismatic, spouting wrestlers partaking in such a wild and crazy set of story lines and matches. I always knew on Monday nights that I'd be entertained and would show up at school Tuesday to recap the highlights with my buddies and mimic a few lines I stole from The Rock. It didn't matter what it was...Stone Cold feuding with Vinny Mc, The Rock raising the people's eyebrow, Jerry Lawler's catch lines, or Triple H using his styro-foam sledgehammer to knock someone out cold, wrestling was simply awesome a decade and a half ago and Paul Rome will forever miss those days.
The Miz generally says "I'm awesome" after he wins a match. Here's the classic catch phrase I'd use after winning a match..."I am Paul Rome and I am out!!"