You know what I say every Friday to celebrate that we’ve survived life and earned our weekend? Well, never has it applied more than tonight, the last night of 2020.
WE FUCKING MADE IT!
All the trouble, all the chaos, the heartbreak, the fear and the rage, all of it… we can put it into history tonight. And while 2021 won’t magically be sunshine and rainbows, that time has gone from “eventually” to “on the horizon”. The vaccine is being rolled out, and soon with the precautions we’re taking, life will resume being close to what it was.
Wrestling, our world, is starting to crawl out and find its way. Sparse crowds or empty arenas on streaming services allow those who are not under national contract to be able to make a living. But 2021 will see those crowds be allowed to be slightly bigger, and bigger, and more… and the healing can begin.
As we look back on 2020, consider all we lost. From Howard Finkel to Brodie Lee, wrestling has seen legends of the past and present get called home to glory. (Sorry, bear with me and my Catholic self for a second.) And while, yes, it is sad who we lost, they gave us memories we’ll never forget, and gave us great feelings that will resonate. It’s like Cody Rhodes said last night: the measure of a man is what he does for those who can do no good in return. The power dynamic was usually on the side of the entertainer — and what these wrestlers gave in terms of good times and memories is worth so much more than any ticket we bought or T-shirt we wore. So… one last time, In Memoriam 2020 — please remember these big names who left us:
- “The Madman of the Pampas” Pampero Firpo
- La Parka II
- Kendo Nagasaki (US)
- “Soulman” Rocky Johnson
- Joe Pedicino
- Howard “the Fink” Finkel
- Scott Bowden
- “Da Beast” Shad Gaspard
- Hana Kimura
- Danny Havoc
- “Mr. Wrestling II” Johnny Walker
- “Killer” Tim Brooks
- Mark “Rollerball” Rocco
- “The Ugandan Giant” Kamala
- “Bullet” Bob Armstrong
- Tom “the Claw” Andrews
- Barry “the Voice of TNA” Scott
- “Hollywood Blond” Jerry Brown
- Road Warrior Animal
- Len Rossi
- Principe Aereo (who died in the ring)
- “The T.H.U.G.” Tracy Smothers
- Bob Ryder
- “La Bestia del 78” Bobby Lee
- Pat Patterson
- Tommy “Zeus” Lister
- “Mean Machine” Kevin Greene
- Danny Hodge
- “Exalted One” Brodie Lee
It’s a tough list to read. It’s a sobering one. All of these men contributed to making wrestling what we love today. This doesn’t even cover those we lost who were on our side of the internet — people like Chris Hyatte, Larry Csonka, and Casey Michael. 2020 was a rough year for wrestling, even by 2020’s rough standards. And I don’t want to dismiss those who have left us, so take a moment to remember them and thank them.
But… living in the past is not the way to go. It’s time face a new year with a new chance to right wrongs. Optimism is the order of the day. I hope the 2021 list is much shorter, and I hope to be here recapping live events from the indie scene once again. I look forward to assuming the roles of Gorilla and Brain most Thursdays; I look forward to finding the future on AEW Dark with all of you; I look forward to presenting Matches of the Week from around the country… and yes, I look forward to every week, and every weekend, so we can say we made it.
So, in the words of Col. Sherman Potter, leader of the Mobile Army Surgical Hospital Unit 4077 in Korea: “Here’s to the new year; may she be a damn sight better than the old one.”
I leave you with this: the best 5 minutes of television we’ve seen all year.
Thank you for being my friends, everyone. Good luck in 2021.