I wish I could remember when I first cried at pro wrestling.

Knowing my childhood it was probably something ridiculous and hilarious in retrospect. That doesn’t make it less valid. I don’t remember when I first cried at wrestling. I know when I’ll be crying next in pro wrestling, it will be ALL OUT weekend as I experience an emotional journey of being at my first wrestling events since transitioning. I’m going to explode with emotion when CM Punk comes out, and I’ve already given a heads up to my Voices of Wrestling faithful. I’m an emotional time bomb prepared to go off at that exact moment. I can fortunately remember other times I cried at pro wrestling.

I remember crying the first time I sat down at a WrestleMania. WrestleMania 28 to be exact. As I sat in the seat and looked around me, the magnitude of the moment hit me in waves. I was overwhelmed. While I no longer have the fan relationship with the WWE that I once did, going to WrestleMania back then was a big deal for me, a bucket list goal I would achieve three times. It was an incredible experience.

I remember crying when Daniel Bryan won the main event of WrestleMania 30. I remember jumping up and down like a kid, hugging friends, hugging strangers, tears flowing down my eyes as I watched my favorite wrestler win the biggest prize in the biggest match at the biggest event. I remember how exhausted from the emotion I was afterward, and how that memory sticks in my mind as if superglued into my brain. As if it drilled a hole in my brain, burrowed deep inside, and will never come out. I never want it to. 

I remember, in more recent times, crying as Johnny Gargano defeated Adam Cole to FINALLY win the NXT title, watching Okada defeat Jay White at MSG, being at the first Dynamite and it hitting me. I was at something truly special. Okay, I cry a fucking lot at wrestling. I’m an emotional as hell person, there are non-wrestling reasons for such things, but I have never bottled up my emotions, not anymore. I used to do it when I was younger because I was told that was what I was supposed to do and how I was supposed to handle things. It was bad advice. It drove me into depression. It drove me into anxiety. It led me down the path of self-harm. It nearly killed me. I have been made fun of, ridiculed, teased, insulted for how emotional I am, and it hit hard and it hurt. I will be damned if I’m going to sit here and watch that unfold once more to other people.

You all know the fan by now, the image of him crying as CM Punk made his return down the ramp.

I get that fan, I understand that fan, I respect the hell out of that fan. Letting his emotions run for all to see. It’s not something everyone is comfortable doing, it’s not something everyone enjoys doing. I don’t know the fan’s mentality, I don’t know that fan’s opinions on things, all I know is as he had tears streaming down his eyes he was experiencing pure euphoric joy and I am so jealous of him. I mean, I was crying also, I was crying in my living room as my knees knocked together at the moment. And that was me watching on television, I can ONLY imagine how it felt in that arena. I wish I could’ve been there. I may have had to be carried out.

I absolutely love that CM Punk’s return brought that emotion out of people. Whether it was crying or otherwise. For me, Wrestling is at its ABSOLUTE best when it brings out our rarest and heartfelt emotions. Whether those emotions are joy, heartbreak, elation, disappointment. When it penetrates an arrow of feelings into your heart, that is when wrestling does its job. I don’t want wrestling to ever be something I just sit in my chair with a blank expression on my face and silently watch as the proceedings go down. To hell with that. I want wrestling to grip me, I want it to shake me at my very foundation. I want to forget what I’m watching is planned out, discussed, and pre-determined. I want to get lost in the drama, the suspense, the surreal, the action. I want the moment to be the only thing that exists to me in that time and space. I’m not saying shut off brains, I’m simply saying let the brain take a step back and allow the heart to temporarily take over. Your brain can use a rest, probably.

I have no time and no respect for ANYONE who makes fun of people for getting emotional at wrestling. Trust me, those emotional fans are getting far more out of wrestling than your stone-cold critical judgemental eyes ever will. They are enjoying, they are experiencing, they are living the moment, you are just a mere observer who isn’t even part of the ride. You are observing the ride preparing from afar, pre-meditating a “witty” tweet or sardonic moment of wit to please yourself. Prepared to make fun of people for “marking out” over the very thing you pretend to be a fan of. You’re nothing special, you’re nothing memorable, you aren’t even a troll. You are a spec that gets caught in one’s eye. A slight irritation until it is brushed away, never to be thought of again.  Leave the crying wrestling fans alone, leave the emotional fans alone period. They are connecting, they are experiencing, and they are living the dream.

Wrestling can be art. At least that is what the argument is from many. Wrestling can be art. Well, from my experience and limited understanding, art makes you feel. Art has an impact on you. Art is something that wells up emotions inside of you, bubbling, festering, until they can no longer be contained. Emotion is pure, emotion is raw, emotion is not something to be ridiculed but celebrated. I will never apologize for being emotional about wrestling, and I will always defend those who are as well. It is the absolute best, to get so lost in what is going on, to get hit so hard that you feel your hairs raise, the goosebumps form, and a shiver go down you no matter how hot it is. It rules, and if you can’t experience that, if you can’t let yourself free enough and exposed enough to let that roll over you, YOU WILL NEVER UNDERSTAND WRESTLING AS MUCH AS YOU PRETEND TO. Wrestling is emotion, the emotion in the ring, the emotion in the audience, the emotion coming through your television screen, from their words, their actions, their trials, and tribulations. Without emotion, wrestling is empty. A joyless, expressionless void that’ll leave you feeling hollow. Without emotion, wrestling becomes boring, barren, pointless. Art without emotion is a tragedy that is best never experienced. 

So laugh, cheer, jump up and down, let your heart flutter, let your spirit soar, and yes let those tears flow. They are absolutely valid, and it’s the absolute best. There is no shame in emotion, only shame in ridiculing those willing to share it with millions of wrestling fans witnessing. Yes it’s vulnerable, yes it can be scary, and yes you will get teased for it. Keep on being you, keep on being a beautiful blubbering mess of a wrestling fan whoever you are. You are wonderful, you are what wrestling should strive for. You are everything that keeps the industry alive.

You can cry if you want to, and I’ll always be by your side, crying along with you. 

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