Wrestling is an absolutely deranged industry - comfortably the most fascinating slice of modern Americana.
Once an actual human meat grinder and drug racket masquerading as patriotic, family-friendly fare, it is so compelling that if it loses your interest, it never loses its grip. Several fans have their own "going dark" story. Wrestling is unique in that regard, and so many others. People tend not to tire of pop music or cinema, but wrestling has a curious habit of alienating its fandom. Possibly because Vince McMahon has told his fandom to f*ck off frequently over the years, but nonetheless: the curtains are never truly closed because what lies beyond is so lurid. Even if you've stopped watching, there's a strong chance you still read the results, or still "scour the dirts".
How can you not?
Vince McMahon is right now trialling actual NXT Champions on Main Event. The man cannot be bothered to watch his own developmental programme, which is wild. It is his very means of making money, ultimately, and he's firmly in the core demographic. How can you not keep up with his various, insane whims?
In an industry that is endlessly fascinating, these wild slices of trivia are a key part of the reason why...
10. The Role Of Big Van Vader Was Almost Awarded To...
...the Ultimate Warrior!
In 1987, NJPW envisioned a character before they recruited a colossal westerner to play it: Vader, a folkloric warrior modernised to capitalise on the manga craze. Antonio Inoki in a wildly uncharacteristic move initially scouted Jim Hellwig for the role. Inoki was a man so intent on presenting wrestling as a legitimate combat discipline that he eventually worked himself into a shoot by ordering his workers to participate in shoot matches that, as workers, they comprehensively lost, saying goodnight to auras and becoming jabronies.
Jim Hellwig was not an Inoki guy because he was not a legitimately skilled or even imposing pro wrestler. He was a clumsy oaf and his stuff looked like sh*t.
Imagine the alternate timeline, though. What if Warrior sh*t the bed and was dispatched to the Dojo system? What if he emerged from it an actually good, humbled professional wrestler? What if the Warrior was even vaguely competent and disciplined?
Vince McMahon would have thrown his Sexy Bitch yacht money at the man to recruit him in the '90s, and the Attitude Era may never have not have unfolded as it did.
In the actual timeline, it almost didn't...