I have learned over the years, that when it comes to emotional writing and emotional speaking, sometimes you should take a moment to reflect.

Take a moment to think about your words before you put them out there and are unable to take them back. That’s what I’ve been doing lately with this article I’m about to write. I must admit, I feel like I’ll be mocked for my words, maybe accused of being dramatic. I’ve long stopped caring, my thoughts are my thoughts, my feelings are my feelings. They are valid, they are real, and I’ve embraced them because they all together me me who I am.

I haven’t written much for VOW this year other than some reviews. Truth be speaking, it’s been a hard year mentally. I’ve had a lot of good happen this year, but my mental health has been a huge struggle. At the end of September/beginning of October, I ended up in the hospital because of them. Stuck in a hospital with not much to do other than pre-outlined activities, and all the time in the world to think, think about your life, think about your choices, and yes, I did indeed think about pro wrestling, I thought one simple question:

What happened?

I’ve been watching pro wrestling since 1991. I’ve been watching pro wrestling since as a little kid the idea of Rick Martel and Jack Roberts stumbling around the ring blindfolded amused me. I’ve been to three WrestleManias, I have gone to non-televised shows. I have gone to shows with thousands of people, and I’ve been to shows with less than a hundred in attendance. I’ve watched promotions be born, I’ve watched promotions die. I have watched my favorites die, I have watched my favorites fall from grace, I have watched some wretched human being someone succeed at some form of redemption. In my thirty-plus years of wrestling fandom, I have seen a lot, and I treasure all of it.

What happened?

This isn’t an article bashing wrestling. I would never write that. Wrestling has meant so much to me over the years. I would never shit upon what brought me so much joy, so much fun, so much peace, and so much escape in my life. Hell, even now there’s still flickers. When I went to ALL OUT 2023 (which was fantastic) and watched some amazing wrestling, 41-year-old Jeri was replaced by a ten-year-old Jeri once more, eyes wide, mouth open, body trembling at the emotion and passion that went through me.

What happened?

This is an article trying to understand, how something that could’ve meant so much to me for a long time can begin to flicker, and fade without any fault of its own. One by one, the streaming services I belong to fell. I unsubscribed to them all. One by one, I stopped purchasing events on streaming. Bit by bit, I stopped having a desire to write articles about something that I loved so much. The fact I watched less wrestling, and it was less on my radar didn’t bother me. The fact I couldn’t figure out why did.

What happened?

Was it AEW’s fault? AEW, the hopeful savior of American wrestling, now starting to fall for the same pratfalls and mistakes WWE has made many times. No, that’s not fair. AEW is not at fault. There is still plenty to be enjoyed in AEW (the talent, for example, is incredible).  AEW is making its mistakes and causing itself some problems, but it’s not at fault. That would be in bad faith.

What happened?

Was it COVID’s fault? Did the long state of pandemic wrestling, the lack of crowds, the lack of energy, the struggle for anything to stand out in the long run do me in? No, that’s not right. I survived COVID wrestling, in fact, I was one of the few fans that thrived on COVID wrestling. COVID wrestling was the crutch that got me through. Writing about it over and over again gave me life and made me friends. No, it’s not COVID’s fault.

What happened?

Was it all the bullshit? The scandals, the grifts, the unlikable personalities behind the wrestlers, the fact that a lot of people in pro wrestling are, in fact, not good people and wouldn’t piss on me if I was on fire. No, that’s too easy, and it’s a lie. Wrestling has ALWAYS been that way. It has always been a carnival of lies, deceit, two-timers, backstabbers, liars, cheats, rapists, murderers, the list goes on and on. Many of them we scorn but then bow down to and chant “WELCOME BACK” when they appear on our televisions (NO CHANCE, THAT’S WHAT YOU GOT).

What happened?

I don’t know.

And it bothers me, I don’t know. It irritates me. It’s an itch I can scratch but it doesn’t go away. I think the truth is, the painful truth is, I moved on and just don’t want to admit I moved on. I don’t want to admit that the very thing that has gripped me for so long has lost its grip. That I slipped away. I found other things, I found other people, I learned to be happy without pro wrestling.

Wait, let me say that again. I need to repeat that to myself.

I learned to be happy without pro wrestling.

Holy shit. That’s it. Pro wrestling was my crutch, my sanctuary, my peace, my escape. I have gotten to the point in my life it no longer needs to be those things. I no longer hide, I no longer run, I no longer need pro wrestling to be happy, I have learned to be happy on my own.

Jeri, you’ve grown, not in the child-to-adult kind of way, but in an emotional way, in a mental health way. I have grown, and pro wrestling who has held my hand for so long doesn’t need to anymore. That’s, not a negative at all. That is the biggest positive possible. I absolutely love coming to this realization so very much.

I’m no longer drowning in pro wrestling to hide from the hurt, to disguise the pain, to fill the void that I constantly felt in my very being. It’s no longer necessary, I am, for the most part,  happy. I have my bad days, I have my rough periods, and yes, I have moments where living becomes hard, and I don’t want to do it anymore, despite it all, in the end, I find reason to smile, I find reason to take another step I keep moving forward. I no longer hide from the pain, I confront it, I face it, I embrace it, I accept it, and I move on.

That’s what happened.

That being said, I still love me some wrestling. I will always be grateful for what it’s done for me, and I still enjoy tuning in and watching the shenanigans, even the shenanigans that make me facepalm and think, “Why would you put that on television?” but now I don’t feel I need to watch wrestling, I just tune in when I WANT to watch wrestling, and that is a different mindset, a different feeling, a different idea, and I am in love with it.

Pro wrestling has been a major part of my life for so very long, to think it now plays a smaller part in it, and sometimes a non-existent part feels weird, and unfathomable, but it is the reality, and you know what, I can go along with that. I’m okay if pro wrestling has morphed into something I check out here and there but don’t totally invest and totally dive into anymore. I didn’t fall out of love with pro wrestling; pro wrestling simply fell out of being a necessity in my life… and I think, in the end, I’m okay with that.