At AEW: Rampage, CM Punk made his illustrious return to the wrestling world, after a 7 year absence. As incredible of a moment as it was, it was still missing something for me. That something was not being able to share the moment with my dad. No, he hasn’t passed or anything, and the real reason is maybe a bit more difficult to explain.
We have a very small relationship because of politics.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my dad, and that will never change, but it sucks knowing that we’ve lost something that bonded us, because we are polar opposites on the political spectrum. He’s so invested in the idea that Biden, Pelosi, and BLM are ruining America, that on the rare chance we do talk about my passion, he somehow pivots it to a political ideology that he subscribes to.
On a recent trip to run some errands, I brought up wrestling, to do what I can to avoid him ranting about BLM being a hate group, and how Antifa actually stormed the Capitol to make Trump supporters look bad. In my efforts to talk about the recent (at the time) WWE layoffs and potential sale to Disney, he brought up the fact that Biden forced McMahon to do it, due to Biden’s new Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy, which my dad referred to as the anti-monopoly law. To be fair, I’m not super familiar with the executive order, but by and large, the majority of people don’t see an issue with it. It’s no surprise that a capitalist country is going to make capitalist orders. Another time, I brought up Kane winning the Knox County mayoral race as a republican, and instead of it being a cool thing where wrestling is branching out into the real world, he said something to the effect of how we needed more republicans in office, to combat the liberal agenda.
When I was a kid, my dad, my brother (not as frequently), and I would watch every piece of wrestling we could. My brother and I loved the Hardy Boyz, and dad loved Kane (which is why I brought up the election win). Alan and I were going to be wrestlers, and the best brother tag team in history, taking inspiration from our favorites. We were gonna be Thunder and Lightning, and dad helped us dream up our blue and yellow full body attires, along with our finishing moves, and how we’d start each match. The lights would go out, storm sounds would be heard throughout the arena, and the lights would come on, each of us standing on opposite turnbuckles. We would fly through the air, hitting cross bodies for the unexpected win over our opponents. It wasn’t much, and it was a bit daft looking back at it now, but it’s something we created. At 17, I graduated high school, and my dream since I was six was to be a wrestler. I didn’t care how long I wrestled, and my goal was to have one televised match in a major promotion, and dedicate the match to my dad. WWA4 was the wrestling school I’d found, and it’s the same place another favorite of mine, AJ Styles, trained at. After graduating, and being the first in my family to do so, I was ready to fulfill my dream, and all of it was cut short because dad said I wasn’t big enough. It didn’t matter to him that world champions like Jericho, Mysterio, and Shawn Michaels were small guys. Fast forward to the Trump presidency, and it feels like I’d lost the one person I could talk endlessly to about wrestling, because of his fear of a tanking America. This article isn’t meant to force any political views, and the crux of it is that politics can ruin really beautiful and wholesome relationships, and that sucks. After telling him about me being allowed to write for Nearfalls about my passion, instead of being happy for me, he asked if I was getting paid for it.
To be clear, I’m a believer in doing what you are passionate about and care very little about money, especially in the way that money is fetishized in this country. As long as I’m happy doing what I’m passionate about, that’s all that should matter. I know it’s the most obvious statement ever, but I love my dad. I just wish I could tell you about how amazing wrestling is in 2021 without it devolving into a political argument about justifying cops killing POC and how “a boy is a boy and a girl is a girl.”