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Wrestling with my past
By TIM BAINES - Ottawa Sun


Tim Baines golfs with The Big Show. Ottawa Sun photo.

If you’ve grown up a fan of men wearing oversized swim trunks while either trying to force an opponent to submit or pin his shoulders to the mat for the count of three, you’ve probably had a favourite or two.

I started watching wrestling in the days when Lord Athol Layton presided over Maple Leaf Wrestling with an iron fist ... when guys like Pampero Firpo, The Mighty Igor, The Sheik, Big Tex McKenzie, The Love Brothers and Haystacks Calhoun ruled.

I remember Stampede Wrestling with Makhan Singh, Bulldog Bob Brown, Bad News Allen, The Cuban Assassin and all of the Harts and All-Star Wrestling with the likes of Sgt. Al Tomko.

I saw the first Wrestlemania. It was much better than the jobber vs. heel slop we were fed each Saturday on TV.

I quickly took to guys like Hulk Hogan and Rowdy Roddy Piper. Later, I would enjoy guys like The Road Warriors, The Midnight Express, The Midnight Rockers, The Rock and Roll Express, Ric Flair, Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock.

I’m not sure I see that franchise guy now. Sure, there are plenty of wrestlers I like. But there isn’t one guy WWE or TNA is going to build their business around.

I have a soft spot for Canadians Edge, Chris Jericho and Christian. I love watching A.J. Styles, Samoa Joe (although I thought he was much better utilized in Ring of Honor) and CM Punk. I’ve long thought The Big Show was misused. He should have been a monster, an unbeatable force who had a long, long title reign.

The business has changed. There are no more abdominal stretches or airplane spins. And it’s all about entertainment, a soap opera if you will. But there’s still something about it that seems appealing enough to waste an hour or two on a weeknight.

Tim Baines is the Sports Editor for the Ottawa Sun and can be emailed at Tim.baines@sunmedia.ca.