Suspension of Disbelief: Hand Me That Soapbox (Hulk Hogan, The Rock, “The Model” Rick Martel)

Columns, Top Story

Before I get started…

Thank you to everyone who read my column last week (including a certain Most Electrifying Man In All Of Entertainment). The response was absolutely overwhelming and I appreciate every read and every comment, even from people who completely disagreed with me. I am a Leo, and I run on praise, and the feedback from my last column has my tanks supercharged.

As for the screenshots of the tweets that the awesome and encouraging C.B. included in his interview with me, let me just say that it made my entire weekend. Such an amazing feeling getting that response. I was flying all weekend, even when I found out that a girl that catapulted me into The Friend Zone had, miraculously, both gotten over her ex-boyfriend AND found a guy that was more amazing than she assured me I was at the time of my dismissal.


Yep, the tweets from The Great One made me smile all weekend and will have me happily plunking down my hard-earned scrilla for a brand-spanking new “Boots 2 Asses” t-shirt tomorrow when they come off of Back Order status.

Alright, enough of that.

Suspension of Disbelief begins… Now!

Growing up, I had a jerkface of a cousin named Adam. Adam lived in New York City with his Mom. His father lived in Greece. His Mom was nice enough to take my own mother in when she moved up from Florida to be closer to my younger brother and I, so every weekend for a while I had to deal with Adam The Jerkface. He was mean, and profane, and didn’t share, and was the foul-tasting icing on top of a dry, flavorless cake that consisted of a scary Long Island Railroad ride, a scary subway ride, and a four flight climb to their hot, small apartment.

hated those trips, and the only thing that was worse than being in the City (this is pre-Giuliani New York City, and my father watched the news so all I heard were MURDERS AND GANGS AND ROBBERIES about The Big Apple) was putting up with Adam The Jerkface. He would never let me play his Nintendo (my younger brother could) and was so mean about it that I’ve despised Nintendo until this day. He said my Vogueing (my mom loved “The Immaculate Collection” and I’d do the dance as a goof because despite my status as Puerto Rican and Cuban, I can’t dance) was me doing a “…faggot dance.” He was mean across the board, and had a bit of an accent. An accent shared by “The Model” Rick Martel.

I fucking hated Rick Martel.

He was smarmy, underhanded, arrogant (hiyo!), and he always managed to pin one of my favorite wrestlers, his old Strike Force teammate Tito Santana. I hated “The Model” Rick Martel, and I wanted him to lose. When Jake “The Snake” Roberts defeated him at WrestleMania VII, I was the happiest camper in the world. I had a villain what deserved thwarting. I had a hero (hush, Jake’s issues weren’t public knowledge back then–and I was like 10 so Don’t Be That Guy). I had a rooting interest. If Martel would’ve won, I’d have been upset. Jake won and I was happy.

And that’s pretty much professional wrestling in a nutshell.


My appreciated commenters and some esteemed colleagues have discussed the emotional connection some fans and writers (*looks around, adjusts tie*) have with today’s Professional Wrestling product:

The homey Mike Gojira here:

And Jiggy Jonah Kue here:

First and foremost, these guys are here every week writing faithfully, creatively, and at a high level. I drop in from time to time, say what I want, then disappear for a few months at a time. They’ve earned the right to say whatever the heck they wanna say. Their opinions are valid and worthy.

…but there was no way in heck I wasn’t going to chime in.

I have an emotional connection to wrestling. I have emotional connections to a lot of things. It’s how I process what’s going on in my life. A brief sampling:

~ “The 40 Year Old Virgin” reminds me of Summer 2005 and how incredible my friend Danny was to me that time of year, a summer where I found out that, despite what she told me earlier in the year, a girl I was intimate with was carrying someone else’s child.

~ Puff Daddy and The Family’s “No Way Out” album reminds me of my senior year in high school, when I was free of a dramatic and petty group of friends and found people who were like me–people I’m still best friends with today.

~ “How I Met Your Mother” reminds me of the train ride I took down and back up from Florida in 2008, a trip I took to be there for my big brother’s wedding.

~ Kanye West’s “The College Dropout” was the only bright spot of winter 2004, a season where my depression first sank in–a depression that wouldn’t lift until Fall of 2009.

~ Calvin Klein’s Obsession has been my baby brother’s cologne of preference since 1993, and whenever I happen to catch a whiff it I think of him out in San Diego, and how much I love him.

So, yeah. Wrestling is on that list. The Rock is on that list. It’s how I connect to things, and where most people would say, “…and I don’t care who doesn’t get it,” I will say that I do care. These shows, these songs, these scents, these sports entertainers–they got me THROUGH something. They were there to provide inspiration, or entertainment, or motivation, or simply an escape. Heck, wrestling itself reminds me of spending time with my Grandparents when I was a little boy.

I can’t help but find a reason to care beyond entertainment or something that became a habit a long time ago that is pursued as more of a routine than an actual interest. I can’t help but enjoy the roller coaster ride of happiness and disappointment based on what is contained within the three walls of my television. It’s the way I enjoy the product.


The last thing I wanted to comment on is this Hulk Hogan sex tape thing.


I haven’t read anything about it. I don’t want to know. I don’t want to know if it’s legit, if it’s fake, if it’s recent, if it’s from the 80s. I don’t want to ever see it. I didn’t even want to know it existed. Hulk Hogan was my hero growing up and, along with George Lucas and Kanye West, is one of the only celebrities I really hope I meet one day.

The problem is, we live in a world where Ironic Detachment, Apathy, or Casual Indifference have become the norm. You’re not allowed to just plain like anything. If I wrote a column bashing The Rock or WWE in general or Hulk Hogan, I’m sure tons of people would chime in and say it/he/they suck(s).

People are afraid to get the emotional attachment to things because they’re afraid of having their heroes turn out to be frauds, or phoneys, or jerkfaces. People are afraid that someone will come along and poke holes in the plot of their favorite movie, the production of their favorite album, or bring up an embarrassing TMZ-Ready moment of a public figure they admire.

This is the world we live in, a world that was made more exciting and less scary thanks to a guy like Hulk Hogan, a larger-than-life Super Hero who inspired me to do the right thing and be a better person. That’s the guy who I care about, the guy who I like. What Terry Bollea does is his own business – reality show, divorce, sex tape – whatever. I don’t care about that stuff.

That’s not who he is in my life, and if I ever have kids, that’s not who I’ll tell them about.

I will tell them about Hulk Hogan, the man who bodyslammed Andre the Giant, the man who survived an Earthquake. A guy who taught me that courage was the thing that kept me free. I will tell my kids about him if I am lucky enough to have them. I’ll tell them that he did something not enough people in this world care about doing.

He made me care.

This has been Suspension of Disbelief

Rey Mundo is just a mean green mother from outer space, and he is bad! who you can follow on twitter via @ElKatook.