Matt Striker's Wrestling Lesson of the Week for 7/16/07, for extra credit
Today, let's look at grit. Lets analyze how a man -- any man -- endures through troubled times.
Does he wear his struggle on his face? Does he lament loudly to anyone who will feign an ear
Or does he, and all those around him, realize that he was never invested at all?
Was he merely calculating and preparing his lair for himself and his comforts, as opposed to anything but?
Another characteristic I have honed over the years through osmosis and deduction is that of valor.
Valor is defined as the absence of indecision even in the face of tumult. The ability to navigate and amend ANY situation brought your way or to the way of those you wish to help is an attractive, sexy, manly, poetic quality that I posses.
I learned much of my valorous ways from Greg "The Hammer" Valentine.
Many of you may be familiar with the name and recall Valentine as a member of The Dream Team with Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake. (Some say Brother Brutai's fetish for cutting hair was inspired by last week's focus, Gino Hernandez.)
You may even recall the famous "cigar incident" with The Dream Team, at the behest of their manager, Johnny Valiant, of the famed Valiant Brothers, when they blinded the handsome and charming Barry Windham en route to claiming the tag team titles from Windham and Mike Rotundo (the US Express).
But where you and I differ -- well, where I differ from pretty much everyone around me -- is I harken back to events that made everything YOU remember possible!
I am aware of origins.
The old saying: "You don't know where I'm going and only I know where I've been."
I know SO much more than you -- I always will. And that makes me forever prepared to navigate and manipulate everyone, even you.
Valentine wrestled as "Baby Face" Nelson more than 30 years ago! He rose to fame in the NWA's Mid-Atlantic region, which was headed by their version of "Mr. McMahon," George Scott.
Did you know that Greg Valentine won the NWA World Tag Tam Ttles on different occasions? His partner? "Nature Boy" Ric Flair. Valentine had a storied rivalry/friendship with Flair, spanning decades through cities and towns, engaging in some of the best wrestling matches EVER seen!
When I was a kid, I would always finish my assignments before all the other students and occasionally, my teachers would let me take out wrestling magazines and read them. Granted, I received special treatment because I was a special student.
I remember seeing a picture of Greg Valentine wearing a T-shirt that said "I BROKE WAHOO'S LEG" after he destroyed legendary wrestler Wahoo McDaniel in a match. I remember thinking how cool it looked, and I went home and MADE a "I BROKE WAHOO'S LEG" T-shirt to wear to school the next day.
Nobody understood what I was doing, most of the other kids laughed at me and I had to go to the principal's office and change into a school-issued gym shirt. That may have been the start of my vendetta on the world and its ignorance... Hmm… that's a good one for the therapist's couch.
And of course, no Greg Valentine dossier would be complete without a look at his epic, groundbreaking battles with "Rowdy" Roddy Piper over the coveted United States Championship (now held by my friend, Montel Vontavious Porter).
Piper and Valentine defined StarrCade as THE precursor to WrestleMania, as the definitive supershow in wrestling history.
A legendary Dog Collar Chain Match saw both legends give all they had in the form of blood, sweat, passion and senses, as Piper went on to lose more than 70 percent of his hearing in one ear for the thrill of the fight. THAT is what I've learned and taken from my exposure to Greg Valentine.
The thrill of the fight, the passion of the sport, not just the sport of wrestling, but the sport of life, of human chess and believe me when I tell you, You all get played!
Some folks trust to reason, Others trust to might
I don't trust to nothing, But I know it comes out right
Say it once again now, Oh how I hope you understand
When it's done and over Lord, a man is just a man
Playing... Playing in the band
-- The Dead