The “old-school” TV in our living room was a bulky, rectangular piece of nostalgia that seemed to have a soul of its own. Its dial seemed to laugh at us, with only a handful of channels and subpar reception, as it challenged us to find something worth watching. Each weekend, my siblings and I eagerly anticipated the Saturday Afternoon movie on Fox 5, the highlight of our week. In those days, our obsession with pro wrestling was in full swing. Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, and the entire World Wrestling Federation had captivated our young hearts and minds. “No Hold’s Barred” was a cult classic, but it wasn’t until I saw this movie that I ever dreamed of being a professional wrestler myself. As a skinny kid, I lived vicariously through the choreographed acrobatics that pro wrestlers would perform on-screen, their muscular bodies a stark contrast to my own frame. Back then, kayfabe was still alive, and wrestling felt as real as life itself. The theater of it all remained magical, and Hulk Hogan was a living legend in my eyes. But when I saw him wrestling in the movie under a different name, it nearly shattered the fragile fourth wall I had built. I couldn’t comprehend what was happening, but the violence and passion took hold of my imagination. I began creating storylines for my toys to act out, each battle a testament to the intensity of the spectacle. My action figures were far from the agile warriors I saw on screen. They were stiff, wax figurines, unable to execute even the simplest of suplexes. Regardless of their limitations, I had to envision the matches unfolding as was scripted, using the power of my imagination to breathe life into their frozen forms. Titles were exchanged, rivalries were formed, and every match that took place in my makeshift shoebox ring brought us one step closer to the next thrilling encounter. I spent countless hours orchestrating these epic battles, never realizing how strong my imagination was growing. The characters I created and the stories I told felt more real with each passing day. I felt a sense of pride and accomplishment as I breathed life into my childhood heroes and villains, building the foundation for my artistic pursuits in the years to come.

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