By BOB KAPUR — For SLAM! Wrestling

When was the last time you really “marked out” while watching wrestling? The last time an angle just blew your mind, made you really lose it? Something totally unexpected that floored you when the events unfolded on-screen?

When I was younger, there were lots of things that did it for me. Paul Orndorff turning on Hulk Hogan with “the clothesline heard ’round the world”. Nikita Koloff extending his hand in friendship to Magnum T.A., his long-time arch-enemy. The formation of the “Mega-Powers” on Saturday Night’s Main Event. The list goes on and on.

I remember only two instances in the past five or six years that prompted the same sort of reaction in me: The Rock’s overnight transformation into “The Corporate Champ”, and Bret Hart’s “I quit!” declaration on Nitro earlier this year.

Not coincidentally, it has been about that long, approximately five or six years, that I have been using the internet to follow the wrestling scene.

From the first day I got online, I began to supplement my TV viewing with regular visits to wrestling newsboards and websites in an effort to be fully informed of all the latest news and developments.

And with each posting I read, with each page I opened, the excitement I felt while watching wrestling as a kid gave way to my desire to be a “smart” fan. To follow the industry instead of the storylines… to be in the know.

Today, there’s a virtual A to Z of wrestling news out there in cyberspace. A fan can find out almost everything with a little bit of surfing. Contract disputes, long-term booking plans, all sorts of tidbits are floating around, ready to be scrutinized, dissected, and disseminated.

To what end?

Whatever happened to the good old days, where we could sit back, relax, and just watch for the sole purpose of being entertained? Never mind when this guy is leaving that company, or how much this person is getting paid, or the ratings from last week, or projected gates for next week, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

Frankly, I miss the wonder and excitement of being surprised while watching wrestling. I long for the days when I held my breath while watching a title match, unsure of who would win, not knowing that the challenger was guaranteed the belt according to their latest contract. I’m tired of knowing who will win a match simply because I read that one of the participants is a friend of the booker. I want to see PPV matches develop as a result of the scripted storylines, rather than know the anticipated card three weeks before the first match has been announced.

I realize that I have disserviced myself through my use of the internet. By voraciously reading everything I could, by trying to learn everything and everything, by ignoring the “***** SPOILER WARNING *****” headings, I have turned my back on the fan I once was.

And I miss that fan.

And in order to get him back, I would have to make some drastic changes.

I would have to delete my Bookmarks, hang up my mouse, and stage a personal boycott against wrestling information on the internet. I would have to pledge to not access taping results, insider reports, or anything else that would provide me with more information than I would have been privy to prior to my use of the web.

It would be necessary to limit my wrestling exposure to only the weekly programming, Pay-Per-Views, and any items that appear in the general media (ie: newspaper articles, magazines, etc.). The same sources that were available to me when I was young.

Yet, as much as I miss the fan I once was, I’m not prepared to do that.

I wonder if any of us are.

It has been written that once a man has gained a thirst for knowledge, he would rather drown in information than stop drinking from the well.

And I guess that’s indeed the case.

See you online.

R.I.P. – “Mark”