16 Comments
Feb 24, 2023Liked by Mithen

Just a belated comment to say how wonderful this was to read - I think your essays are amazing, and looking forward to working through the whole set.

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I'm so glad you're enjoying! There should be one every Friday night for another couple of months!

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As someone who has followed Kevin's career since the first time I saw him wrestle in 2003 and even if I was privy to how his split from Jacques Rougeau's tutelage happened, it's beautiful to see that story being told from the viewpoint of a foreigner who didn't have that opportunity.

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It's amazing there are people who've seen the whole thing from beginning to end! Coming to it late isn't the same, but does give a sort of overall viewpoint that can be useful, I like to think!

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That was beautiful. Thanks for taking us along on the journey.

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Thanks so much for reading it and letting me know you liked it!

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Your essays are amazing, i already knew when i discovered them a bit ago, but i didnt enjoy them as deserved. I just read was quick as i could (being english not my first language, sure i missed quite a lot). But now i´ve finished, and its time for me to start again: slow, carefully, seeing all the vids so i can have a better idea about their story. Sami was also my fave back in 2014 and i did a similar journey trying to figure out was has happened btw Kevin and him. I only had youtube and no idea where tp find anything else, being in a country when i feel almost none care about wrestling, and specially none cares as much as i do :) Anyway, im ready to start reading again, and hope you don´t mind, leave you some comments too. Hope its okay. I guess its like a diary, i couldnt share it before with anyone.

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I'm ALWAYS happy to hear your thoughts! Sami was the beginning for so many people and he's given us so many emotions and I love to share them with people.

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Btw, seeing the vid has made me really happy!! Thank you for sharing!

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JJ,

This was magnificent, as always. What a perfect example of the hermeneutic circle!

that after-match footage was so important. You could tell in the last moments than an exhausted Steen was just barely holding it together. He had wrestled against his soulmate and gave it everything he had and got exactly the same from that skinny masked man. How could he walk away, knowing the magic he could make? In the end, it just goes to show that it never pays to sell your soul.

Also, even early in Sami's career, note how much that little crowd LOVED him. Chants, cheers, hugs--El Generico was an all-time babyface.

Your line about making other people understand how they feel about you through their actions is telling in more ways than one. Sami gave Kevin everything, and Kevin knew it. Similarly, you note that you and Kevin (and Sami too, I would wager) rarely talk.

Yet you do talk. They read your critique. They respond to it, on screen. They know you care, and more importantly, they know you are the critic of record for them, understanding their art. Of course Kevin was up at 3am recording this match from a VCR onto his ipad. You have been having a conversation without words for a long time.

You inspire me as a writer and critic, JJ. Thank you.

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Rob, this was the most wonderful comment to read, I literally teared up at the part about communicating without saying anything directly. What a lovely thought.

That post-match sequence is SO important! There's that glitch where it cuts out for a bit right after the match ends and the first time I watched it I thought it ended there and was like "Oh darn, but this is so much more than I ever expect--WAIT!" Kevin's mentioned that he was unable to sleep the night before because he was so stressed out, and you can really see it in the way he stops dead as the crowd starts chanting. There's no way he can leave that, and Generico, behind. It's just magic.

Thank you again, your words really mean so much.

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Tears all around, it seems! Your writing touches a nerve, because it communicates a narrative that these artists are trying to tell. It's funny, the word today in my "word of the day" listserv is "boswell." You're a twitter boswell for both of these wrestlers.

For me, the magic of Kevin is the way that he channels his emotions into his performance. Even as a heel, there's an explosive anger that's born out of regret and almost a sense of self-loathing. But it's all because he CARES. He cares SO MUCH about wrestling, about that interaction with the crowd, about the sheer joy of movement and performance that he knew he had with Sami. When he sees his friends off camera (like that video with him, Sami and Becky that aired recently), you can tell just how much he delights in them. I remember one time he saw Adam Cole on an NXT watch-along of some PPV and Kevin just tackled him out of joy.

That one War Games when he went back to NXT to participate, simply for the fun of it and to get a taste of that NXT feeling, was another example of this.

JJ Boswell, you picked the right Dr. Samuel Johnsons to accompany and write about.

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I'm really happy you went all the way to look for this. Thank you

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It was 100% worth the quest! Thank you for reading!

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I love everything about this story.

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It's been an amazing journey, thank you for sharing it!

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