Today is Black Friday. Odds are, if anyone is reading this, they’re vegetating at home rather than beating the masses for “deals” at the crowded shopping malls and big-ticket retail stores. It’s usually a day for leftovers and college football. I can’t really blame anyone if they want to watch LSU battle Arkansas in a game with MAJOR BCS implications. That being said, if anyone is reading this, they’re also wrestling fans.
It used to be that Thanksgiving was a BIG deal in wrestling. Texas territories always held events on Thanksgiving. Starrcade started out as a Thanksgiving tradition in the Mid-Atlantic territory, and after it was smoked out by the WWF, Vince McMahon’s company carved out their own Thanksgiving Eve tradition with Survivor Series. One of the biggest all-time bummers for me as a wrestling fan is that now the November event is dissociated with Thanksgiving and is only held on a weekend close to the holiday. Boo.
It’s become my new yearly tradition. When the wife insanely wakes up at all hours of the morning to trudge out so she can possibly save a few shekels on presents for everyone on the list, I wake up when I feel like it, make a sandwich out of the leftovers and pop in a few DVDs. I won’t be able to partake in a full day of lounging this year because I have a wedding to go to, but the last two years and in all years going forward, I fully plan on making that my tradition. This is a brilliant idea for any number of reasons.
Firstly, it’s a great opportunity to catch up on independent wrestling. Companies like Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, Chikara, SHIMMER, Anarchy Championship Wrestling, Dragon Gate USA, EVOLVE and Absolute Intense Wrestling among others have vast DVD libraries that feature a mix of the best wrestlers who haven’t broken out into the big time yet and the guys who used to be in WWE and TNA but who don’t work there anymore for whatever reason. It’s possible to get really acquainted with a promotion over the course of an eight-to-twelve hour day of doing nothing but watching wrestling. Furthermore, if not having DVDs is a problem, Internet pay-per-view companies often have on-demand viewings of prior live broadcast events in their libraries. I know for a fact that Go Fight Live is offering replays of Chikara’s seminal High Noon event that can be purchased at the user’s whim.
Secondly, all those DVD sets the WWE has put out over the last five years or so are great viewing for a day like Black Friday. Seriously, we rag on WWE for a lot of things, but their production of set after set of archive footage, documentary and classic wrestling is both prolific and top-notch. There is literally something for everyone. There are WCW sets, ECW sets, DVDs profiling so many superstars of the past and present, PPV anthologies and TV show compendiums. It’s so prolific that the choices are almost infinite. The on demand options are pretty good too. Hell, imagine next year when the WWE Network gets launched. That’s going to open options up even more.
The third option would be through vicarious living through digital means. Of course, I mean video games. The hot option is definitely WWE ’12, the new wrestling simulator from THQ that is getting high marks from a lot of people to trust about this kind of thing. However, there are other ways to get down if one isn’t privy to getting the new game. Older games may be flawed, but I still love pulling out No Mercy and the other excellent N64 titles they produced. Modded versions with updated rosters and moves are even better if those are at arm’s reach.
Thankfully for us though, there’s more than enough material out there for us to choose and make Black Friday the new day for everyone to eat leftovers, vegetate and watch all the wrestling our minds and bodies can handle. I speak from experience; there’s nothing like it.
Tom Holzerman is a lifelong wrestling fan and connoisseur of all things Chikara Pro, among other feds. When he’s not writing for the Camel Clutch Blog, you can find him on his own blog, The Wrestling Blog.