Matt Striker's Wrestling Lesson of the Week for 7/31/07
"Everyone needs a nemesis" is a great quote by a little-known scholar from New York City.
Now, if you don't know what the word "nemesis" means, please look it up!
In life we all have our favorite formidable foes, alliteration aside, as it is our contests that define us as humans.
Each and every one of you can think to an event where you were challenged... and you engaged.
You emerged inspired and superior. If not for your opponent, if not for your muse, per se, you would have never advanced to where you are now. For whatever reason, you are content with that place.
I, on the other hand, seek new challenges, new situations where I can "emotify," if I may coin a word, and mold this ball of clay into my own grand design, only for it to sit upon the mantle.
Let's look at great nemeses in pro wrestling history!
The most readily available nemesis to me, as a child of Western Civilization here in the United States, is the imagery of the SOVIET UNION.
As a child I was drawn to the stigma of the Russians, simply because my father resembled a soldier, and the two (my father and the Russians) emoted a feeling of strength and authority.
For most of the 1900s, the United States had felt the presence of an equally powerful nation vie for world supremacy. Through legitimate threat, bad decisions by world leaders and, of course, propaganda, the world was completely divided.
Imagine a dinner table where you and your family or friends sit. You are aware that there is an aggravated issue between the two biggest people at the table. Every move they make, every twitch, every sigh, you jump, because you feel in your loins that something, somewhere, has to give. All you can do is wait. That was the mood, at times, here in America.
Pro Wrestling reflected that, because wrestling is life. Think about it.
Some great Russian wrestlers have passed through the annals of time. Names such as Krusher Kruschev, Boris Zukhov and Soldat Ustinov kept the flames of patriotic fires burning strong for years with typical Russian pro wrestling style and aggression.
Russian wrestlers would typically bull and push their opponents. They had extensive training, extreme discipline, cunning tactics and unmitigated, raw power! Add in the built-in hatred every red-blooded American had for what these athletes represented, and there were some emotional moments which became memories, as great moments always do.
Superstars of the sport, such as Nikolai Volkoff and Nikita Koloff, took Russian wrestling to new heights with their popularity and size, as well as making the transition from hated to fan-favorite (Nikita).
Now, dare I tell you this, my students?
Pro wrestling in 21st-century America might not be what it is, if not for "The Russian Bear," Ivan Koloff!
"Uncle" Ivan's career spans more than 30 years! I can't believe I have to say this but, ASK YOUR PARENTS ABOUT HIM!
Koloff did so much as an evil, brutal, Russian, that as a boy growing up in parts unknown, a young Matt Striker was even frightened! (That's the truth!)
Koloff carried a huge chain, and one could just tell it was cold and heavy by the way he carried it. He had a bald head and a long beard. (Picture BOTH Highlanders morphed together and you may get an idea.) Koloff's head was a road map of scars and bloody trails into immortality.
I recall, vividly, Madison Square Garden: Pat Patterson, a handsome, bleach-blonde haired, fan-favorite, was set to tangle with Koloff. The two had a heated animosity, stemming back from their days as World Tag Team Champions in Florida. Coupled with the need for a nemesis, Patterson and Koloff made one of the most brutal, EXTREME matches I have ever seen, even to this day.
At Madison Square Garden -- in the heart of New York City, the heart of capitalism and the elitist mindset, the heart of America, the heart of.... me, Matt Striker (your teacher), a brutal battle raged.
Not for Pat Patterson and his bleach-blonde hair covered in red.
Not for Ivan Koloff and all his aggression and anger, but for me.
For the guy in the T-shirt who knows all the words to "Born in the USA."
For the girl with the tattoos and the hair ties on her gearshift. For the little boy who walked backwards 'cause he was afraid he was being followed.
For my grandma who still uses coupons! For your friends who never bothered.
For all that went out of their way. For the boy who didn't kiss you, and that girl you wish you listened to.
For everything we know, they fought.
Koloff made his legacy during a time of great tension here in the United States.
Most of all, he scratched, clawed and dug his way into my mind and my life. That is all any of us should ever strive to do. Make an impact. Have meaning. Touch a life.
Koloff touched me and it is through this great sport of professional wrestling and sports entertainment that I will touch each and every one of you!!
Some more than others. Some several times. Good touch. Bad touch.
I will be your friend or I will be your nemesis, either way, YOU NEED ME!!
Do yourself a favor. Search out my lessons on whatever World Wide Web you weave, and view them and learn them. Trust me when I tell you, after the Bible, wrestling has all the answers.
Why we still runnin' in place frustrated?
Pride is mistaken for hate -- it's upgraded!
No excuses -- I feel that there's none needed
I know that you resent me because I study how I'm greeted
Lavish? I'll never have it
I get too happy doing atmospheric damage to your amateurish madness --
Check your current status...