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  • Jacob Sweetman: The ring cycle


Jacob Sweetman: The ring cycle

I could have watched anything this week. But the sports desk isn't going to worry itself too much – not when the wrestling's in town, it ain't.

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Photo by David Seto (Flickr CC)

I could have watched Hertha Berlin losing unluckily, again, on a giant screen at the Waldbuhne with 7,000 exiled fans or been served booze by FC Union players on the party train back from their well deserved draw at top of the table Kaiserslautern.

I could have watched the relegation battles for both Tennis Borussia and Türkiyemspor or a lucky last minute winner for BFC Dynamo as they hope to replace them in the Regionalliga next year. But the sports desk isn’t going to worry itself too much about such minor fripperies this week. Not when the wrestling’s in town it ain’t. See the things I do so you good people don’t have to.

The WWE Wrestlemania Revenge Tour has rolled into Berlin and it feels like I’ve woken up and my sleepy little town has been invaded by Spring Break from Idiot State University. I feel like a spare prick on a honeymoon but I think the grown man that’s been waiting at the main entrance since 5pm with his cardboard world title belt has got that role sewn up already.

Four guys come barrelling up to the outside bar, led by a pigeon chest, followed by a face that makes a bulldog look ugly. His arse arrives about five minutes later, a couple of paces in front of his lackeys. He is wearing a full length feathered and embroidered cape with “Nature Boy” embroidered lovingly on the back. Maybe his mum is a big wrestling fan. I approach the head lackey who is smart enough to be entrusted with the plastic belt slung over his shoulder.

“So, are you a wrestler then?” “No, just fans. And we drink beer,” he roars, then they high-five each other. They’ve travelled hundreds of miles across Germany to be here tonight and regularly go to Austria, Switzerland and even England to watch steroid swollen men in speedos pretend to fight each other. And they dress up to do this. “This place is fucking weird,” my notes say.

I’m expecting a show at least. This is, after all, what Pro Wrestling is all about, but it’s quite austere inside. No big screens and very little build up. At least on TV you can see the storylines develop. Who’s got a beef with who, and why. But here, live, you dont get any of that, just the same formula, and, Jesus Christ, it’s boring. Good guy starts off well in fight. Then does badly. Bad guy does something bad though his wrestling is good. Good guy then, just as he’s about to lose, wins and bad guy goes back to the dressing room to get himself ready to do all the same shit again in front of several thousand screaming morons and those who should know better again tomorrow night in Dresden.

If I wanted to go to the theatre, I could do that. But I don’t because I like the competition. You could put me in front of almost anything, give me a beer and an underdog and I’ll be as happy as a pig in shit. But here…. you know who is gonna win. The good guy! And who is gonna lose? The Foreigner! And this is before the Benny Hill meets PT Barnum meets Hugh Hefner nightmare that is the Divas. With Boobs the size of small countries and tans sponsored by the creosote council of Germany it is a face off between all American Beth Phoenix and Layla. Layla plays up every stereotype of a shreeking latina. When the brave Beth approaches, she screams the roof down and runs away. When she gets hit she screams. When she hits she screams. There’s a helicopter move after which she does a hilarious “dizzy spell”. Its all in good fun you understand. Just utterly fucking pointless.

Next up, C.M. Punk is straight edge and has his own band – so it’s okay Minor Threat, you can rest easy, the torch has been passed on. More good guys win against more indeterminate bad guys, sometimes on their own, sometimes in pairs. “Legend” Brett the Hitman Hart turns up to be a guest enforcer (he saves a good guy from being hit with a chair at the end) and the grannie behind me starts snoring. I dont blame her. I wish I had the drugs for sleep, but don’t think they’d cut through all of this. The effect the morning after WWE, strangely, was the closest thing that I’ve ever known to the aftermath of a massive amyl nitrate binge. I haven’t been able to put coherent sentences together since. I certainly feel stupider now than ever before and it’s all my own fault. This was supposed to be fun. Next week will be all about football. I promise.