This past week in Dallas, I saw the greatest wrestling match I have ever seen in my life. The debuting Shinsuke Nakamura, famous for his hard-hitting knee strikes and self-proclaimed “Strong Style” popularized in his native Japan, took on the “Underdog from the Underground,” the heart and soul of NXT (WWE’s developmental wrestling brand), Sami Zayn in what would be Nakamura’s debut match for the company. To the uninitiated, the fact that a grown man would be excited for two individuals engaging in predetermined simulated combat must sound pretty silly. Luckily for me, over 9,000 others were equally excited, all there to indulge in the spectacle known as WrestleMania.
After numerous weeks of deliberating back and forth as to whether or not I should purchase tickets to go to WrestleMania, I decided I should simply leave everything up to faith. I already knew I was going to be in Dallas for the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association convention that weekend, but I had no idea when I would be heading back to Kingsville. As it turns out, we were scheduled to be heading back Saturday afternoon, so in that sense, I was glad I wasn’t spending money on tickets for a wrestling show I wasn’t even able to attend.
However, the more I thought about the situation, the more my inner childhood self was becoming more disappointed. The last time the WWE traveled to Texas for WrestleMania was back in 2009, when the annual event took place in Houston at the Reliant Stadium. I had already kicked myself for not making the effort to attend that show, and I was certainly not ready to miss out on the festivities again.
Since I knew I would be able to attend at least one of the wrestling events during the weekend, one of which many wrestling fans speculated would be the show-stealing event of the week, I was ready to drop good money on going to the sold out show which took place last Friday evening. The feeling of excitement further escalated when I went to arena where the show was scheduled to be held, and I found myself surrounded by so many wrestling fans from all over the world. For once in my life, I felt as if people that actually understood why I find professional wrestling so enthralling surrounded me.
The excitement reached a fever pitch when Nakamura walked down the aisle and entered the ring. Within the few minutes it took him to come face to face with his opponent, it become visually and audibly clear that the King of Strong Style had the crowd in the palm of his hand.
If you’ve never seen a professional wrestling match before, or have never quite understood how so many people can be so infatuated with a “fake” sport, I encourage you to watch this match as soon as possible.
Follow Raul Altamirano on Twitter: @raulsotx