Make Noise!

Last week my friend David sent a link to a New Wave Pro (Terre Haute) match from May of last year: Two wet-behind-the-ears rookies--an overdressed heel and an enthusiastic babyface--both giving it the proverbial 110% for a (I thought) rather under-appreciative crowd. These guys are so new that, at one point when the action spills out of the ring, the heel, Josh Crane, begs pardon of a fan he accidentally bumps up against, and at the match's end the victor, babyface Dale Patricks, bursts into tears. My heart is touched by the sweetness of these moments, and by the way the wrestlers express, as David put it, "deep respect and affection for each other" while doing nothing to diminish the impression that they are "very competitive and determined to dominate."

I enjoy watching aspiring young wrestlers in action. They lack the polish that the established stars have, but often the heart they bring to their matches more than compensates for any deficiency in timing or technical skill. (I am also fascinated with the old veterans, either making guest appearances or trying for a comeback. Not too long ago I told another friend that I usually like the wannabes and the has-beens of wrestling much more than I like the current superstars. I think that feeling might be related to my fickle disposition, which probably makes me a terrible fan.)

Patricks and Crane are already skilled. They throw themselves into the battle raucously. As the momentum rises, they strike each other, stiff, resonant chops that can be heard from the back of the house. Seconds later, someone in the crowd yells, "Make noise!" These guys do make noise. They are, as it's often called, "hungry." They want the crowd to love or hate them, but more than anything they want the crowd to be right there with them. They're fresh. Nobody in the audience is wearing their T-shirts yet. The only fans that know their ring names are those that know their real names too--at home, at school, in the neighborhood. The wrestling fans in the audience are probably more jaded about pro wrestling than these wrestlers are. These guys have something to prove, and they know it. This is the cusp of their dreaming and their realizing their dream.


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