May 6Liked by Mithen

I would have taken off the mask, too.

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Jan 29Liked by Mithen

I'm loving this series. Keep up the great work.

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I dont think i´ve ever been able to explain why i love wrestling. But i was reading, and i think you´ve done it for me, and i guess for every fan out there. Its not because its "real", its because its true. Because the joy we experiment when they win is real, because we share their journey, the injuries, everything. What they make us feel is real, and it becomes a part of us.

As the mask became a part of the boy and finishes in a box (that part is poetry, honestly).

And coming back to our boys, i dont think there´re many more wrestlers to make us feel and connect with them as much as Kevin and Sami, when they win, when the lose, together or not.

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Not going to lie, this made my eyes well up a few different times. Incredible work.

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This may be the best thing you've ever written, JJ.

I have written, in my capacity as editor and teacher, that the difference between being an artist and a hobbyist is the desire to communicate. That need, that urge, to practice your art and know that it might be provoking a reaction. It might be making someone, somewhere, FEEL something. Maybe something they needed to feel.

This includes sports, and wrestling is a combination of performative and kinesthetic art forms. The spectacle of physicality, be it the poetry of a flippy luchador match, or a Southern gothic drama brawl, or a hardcore match, or a comedy match is something that cries out to be SEEN. To get a reaction. It's why the wrestlers were just miserable during the shutdown. It became the equivalent of putting on a dress rehearsal on opening night, again and again.

No one understands how to play to a crowd like Kevin and Sami do. It is a finely-honed part of their craft. And any idiot can get cheap heat, or yell at a crowd, or do something ostentatious. KO refined it such that the slightest gesture can be intimidating.

By the way, the little girl in that NXT crowd is Izzy, who famously became a part of the classic NXT feud between Bayley and Sasha Banks. Izzy was maybe 6 or 7 years old and was a huge Bayley fan, dressing up like her, getting a hug before every match, etc. In their classic Iron Woman match, Sasha infamously beat the hell out of Bayley, throwing her in the jumbotron, and then stole Izzy's bow right from her hair, making her burst into tears. And then Sasha mocked her in the ring! It was just so jaw-droppingly MEAN, the perfect heel move for The Boss.

Izzy has since become a podcaster and media presence as a teen, but she plans to go into wrestling, and she says she hasn't forgotten about Sasha. Long-term storytelling!

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