Sidelines: Yes, some people actually think professional wrestling is real

For the first time in my life, I got to witness a live “professional” wrestling event earlier this week. World Wrestling Entertainment’s (WWE) “Monday Night Raw” came to Seattle’s KeyArena and Vince McMahon’s traveling road show was definitely a sight to behold.

There goes another line on my official “bucket list.”

But let’s get this straight right now, I had an “actual” reason to be at KeyArena Monday night, unlike most of the riff-raff that occupied the box seats. My wife’s step-brother is the reigning United States Champion in the WWE. He goes by the name Daniel Bryan (actual name: Bryan Danielson) and was born and raised in Aberdeen.

So that was kind of cool. I can now say that I decorated a Christmas tree and ate dinner with a WWE Superstar, who could pile-drive me at the blink of an eye. So I’ve got that going for me.

But watching Bryan get manhandled by Sheamus the Celtic Warrior in a non-title match Monday night, left me a lot of time for one of my other favorite passions — people watching.

And, as far as people watching goes, you are not going to get any better than “Monday Night Raw.” It was like the clientele of Wal-Mart, K-Mart, 7-Eleven, Target, Taco Bell and RiteAid all converged on Seattle’s KeyArena at the same time. It was the proverbial bug light for all the “interesting” characters from around the Puget Sound area.

And I didn’t have to look very far to find some of those weirdos. They were sitting all around me.

There was the chain-smoking dad, who sat behind me with his teenage daughter. This guy had a mullet that would make the 1991 version of Billy Ray Cyrus look like he had just gotten out of Basic Training. During our two hours inside KeyArena, he had to suck down at least one pack of heaters.

Why even buy a ticket if all you are going to be doing is standing outside in the smoker’s square on a brisk Seattle night?

But it was during one of his numerous smoke breaks that his daughter lobbed an F-bomb at the ring with such vitriol and volume that something hit me like a folded metal chair — There are actually people out there who still think professional wrestling is real.

The 13-year-old “big-boned” kid further embedded that fact in my mind when he was on the verge of crying when fan-favorite John Cena lost to The Miz in the Main Event.

“You suck Miz. I hate you,” were a couple crackily quotes out of this kid’s quivering mouth.

Another phenomenon I noticed regarding the aggressive pro wrestling fan was the plethora of fake, replica championship belts that were parading around KeyArena.

I overheard one 40-plus guy telling another 40-plus that he got a “sweet deal” at a shop for the “authentic” WWE Championship Belt that he had proudly hooked around his 60-inch waist.

“I got this bad boy for $300 bucks,” he said as my jaw hit the ground.

Now, I have regretted spending my hard-earned money on a lot of things during my life — tickets to this wrestling event come to mind first — but I can honestly say a replica WWE belt will never show up on my credit card statement. What do you do with it when there isn’t a “Monday Night Raw” in town?

Do you hang it above the fireplace or display it at your desk at work? I wonder why you’re single, bud.

The best spectacle of the night came down from the nosebleed section during the final match of “Raw” in the form of a tattooed, 30-something dude who pounded a couple too many Natural Lights in the parking lot.

But this wasn’t your normal, run-of-the-mill drunk at a WWE event, which I also saw plenty of. This guy actually thought that the ring announcer was going to call his name and he was going to slither his way through the ropes to take on Hulk Hogan.

His seats were two rows from the top of KeyArena and he was cheering like he was the “big-boned” junior high kid. Watching him was better than the matches in the ring. He was undulating when wrestlers were getting counted out by the referee and jumping up and down when his guys won.

But the kicker came when the guy ripped his shirt off, revealing a pair of barbed-wire tattoos around his biceps and a tribal pattern throughout his back, and ran down the numerous rows of stairs at KeyArena toward the ring.

Needless to say, the yellow-coated security guards put a quick end to his charge and escorted this “tool” out of KeyArena.

And they didn’t even stop to grab his T-shirt, which I’m sure didn’t bother this guy. The only reason he even owns a shirt is so he can tear it off.

But, in the end, I guess you gotta respect the enthusiasm of the wrestling fan.

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