2013: A Kick in the Head

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*Although I didn’t intend for this blog post to turn out the way that it did, this entry is kind of a personal one. I talk about wrestling, but this story is more about the journey I made last year and how wrestling fit into all that. For those not interested in reading about the personal parts of my personal life, click the x at the top of the this page and that solves the problem. Thanks.

So sorry to have been away from you for so long, blog. I wouldn’t leave without good reason, so allow me to explain myself.

You see, around the time I started Absolute Smark (June 2013?), I had nothing going on professionally. I was working a job I hated, surrounded by people I hated, and I chose to deal with my problems by focusing on a project that had nothing to do with my career, but one that make me happy. Happy for me is plunking down in front of the tube every Monday and watching Raw and expressing my thoughts on the show or reacting to wrestling news. Or, more accurately, I chose to ignore how I felt and gloss over my IRL career issues. That only worked for a little while.

Once I turned off the computer and all the wrestling talk stopped, I was still completely miserable. I had no idea what to do to make things better for myself. Jobs don’t grow on trees theses days, so I made a decision to stick things out at work and hope for the best. However, my job at that time allowed me to make detailed blog posts about wrestling, and for that reason, this blog was created and ran for as long as it did without interruption last year.

Then, unfortunately, I had a health scare. Nothing extremely serious and all my body parts are still intact, but it made me take some time to reevaluate what was truly important to me. What’s important is my family. Realizing this, I chose to step back from writing and watching wrestling and focus more on being a wife and taking care of my health. Which, again, worked only for a little while. Health wise, I’m doing much better than I was. I was tired, sick and full of stress and anxiety. 2013 was a year full of hurt for me, and things only got better at the tail end.

September of last year, I got promoted at work. This promotion meant moving to a different department from the one I currently worked for. I moved away from the people I hated to a department with bunch of people that I didn’t know. This promotion also meant more money, better and not so late hours, and a chance to start from scratch. Naturally, I dove in headfirst and focused only on making a good impression professionally, and that has paid off tremendously. I was able to attain another pay raise despite only being in the department for 3 months, and I can tell the people I work with respect me. That does wonders for your well-being. I went from being completely nerve wracked and totally unsure of myself and my abilities, to having no stress or worries at all. It was a welcome change. But, one good thing lead to something else.

At the time of my promotion, I grew more and more disappointed in how the Daniel Bryan “good for business” storyline was playing itself out. Daniel Bryan is a big reason why I got so heavily back into wrestling in the first place, and I thought him not holding a championship was unacceptable. (Yes, I am nearly 30 years old and throwing hissy fits about my favorite wrestler not being champion.That is extremely lame, and I apologize.)

Anyway, Daniel not being champion in the neat time period that I had set for him to hold the belt disappointed me in that funny way that only wrestling does, so I chose to step away from watching until he did something “meaningful.”

Deep down inside, I knew that I would never truly be able to quit wrestling. As you can see by this post, I’ve finally decided to come back. But my return will not be the way that you’ve grown accustomed to. I’m still trying to figure out how to juggle both my writing and keeping up with the endless hours of WWE programming that occur every week. Between figuring out how to juggle and my own personal aspirations for what I want my wrestling writing to me, I cannot say for certain that I will always have a Raw report or always be here at this site at all. My intentions are good, but I only have so many waking hours in a day that I can actually do the things I really enjoy. Believe me, if I were able to be paid to keep this blog up, my heart and soul would remain here always.

So. That brings me to 2014 is upon us. My 30th birthday is on Monday, and I have more confidence in my writing abilities than I have ever. Meaning, in my whole life, this is the year where I finally feel confident enough in my abilities to make some headway in the world. I think this year will be time for me to explore what impact I would like to make on the written (and verbal?) world of wrestling and how I would like to be remembered. Naturally, I want to do the very best that I can. My only fear is failure to do what I want to do.

I’ve decided to make some New Year’s Resolution’s for Absolute Smark and the overall goals of my “professional” wrestling writing.

I, Shanna Harris, resolve to do the following with Absolute Smark:

1. Write at least one entry on my general thoughts on wrestling once per month. If I can manage more than that, so be it.

I, Shanna Harris, have also set some goals for myself not involving this site:

1) To appear on one wrestling related podcast. Be it with Ring-Rap, or someplace else.

2) To attain more than 100 Twitter followers.

These rather small goals are what I hope to be jumping points to attaning a dream that I’ve long nursed: To write on a regular basis about wrestling (possibly making money while doing so?). It’s a little dream, but one that’s eluded me for a long time. Hopefully writing everything down will help me remember and realize what I can do and what I have left to do.

I apologize for being gone for so long, but I am not dead as some may have feared. I look forward to seeing where this New Year takes me.

If you’ve click this page looking for updates, wondering for news, or just plain curiosity, thank you. I appreciate that you care, and I hope that 2014 will be a year of growth, and not regression.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go and watch Daniel Bryan join the Wyatt Family.

–Shanna

My Mount Rushmore: Where I talk about my favorite wrestlers

The Wrestling Journal inspired this post. It’s a subject that’s near and dear to us all.  Your favorite wrestler. Or in the case of this post, my favorite wrestlers.  Who do I like, and why? You would think that this was an easy question to answer, but it really wasn’t.

What made me want to write about my favorites is because there’s such a wide variety of opinions on the subject of a personal favorite. Your favorite wrestler has an impact on everything you do as a fan. From buying merchandise, to arguing your favorites to  friends, having a favorite wrestler means that much more investment in the wrestling company of your choice. If you hate everyone you see, what’s the point of continuous watching of WWE? (Or the wrestling promotion of your choice.)

Liking someone will get you deeply invested in the product, and thus make you a more attentive viewer.  Your attention (and money) is also something that the company looks for to gain an idea about a particular wrestler’s popularity. We as fans have a hand in keeping our favorites hired and working. (Most of the time). So, having a favorite has more of an impact than you think.

So. Let’s talk favorites. I’ll go first, and these picks are in no particular order.

AJ Lee is hands down my favorite wrestler. It’s not because she’s pretty, or because I think she’s a great wrestler. It’s more to do with her performances. In my opinion, she has delivered consistent, fantastic performances almost every time I’ve seen her on TV. And if she wasn’t successful or believeable, it usually has to do with the material given to her.

AJ can do more with one facial expression than any of the current divas can. She is someone who is strong enough (based on athletics and performance) to carry the entire divas division on her back. She does more to quiet the Smark and me, and make me lost myself in the moment of whatever story she’s involved with. If for some reason she were to leave WWE, it would take some time for me to get over her. To be totally honest, I haven’t obsessively liked a lady grappler this much since Trish Stratus.

Daniel Bryan

He’s turned Kane into something cuddly, storyline abused AJ for months, and yet I still can’t get enough of this guy. Daniel Bryan has had an incredible year. He’s transformed from a quiet guy who can wrestle his head off, to a guy so popular he helped get John Cena legitimate cheers. Or, if you were watching Raw last night, a simple kick of his got the crowd on their feet, responsive, and engaged. Not a small feat these days.

But really, Daniel Bryan had me at 18 seconds.

I know nothing of his Indy background, but if the WWE version of Bryan Danielson keeps up this insane momentum, he might just cause a riot one day. Or perhaps he’ll win another championship? The sky is truly the limit with talent of his magnitude.

Portugal’s perfect athlete: Shanna

The instant a wrestler debuts on TV, they’re a star. It’s a sad reality of the current state of women’s wrestling puts more stock in keeping quotas of blondes and twins than ladies with some wrestling ability. Which often leads me to get my women’s wrestling fix in YouTube Indy clips. Which is how I found Shanna.

Despite the fact that I knew virtually nothing about Shanna when I first saw her, I immediately knew that I liked her. I think she recognizes that wrestling should be fun more than anything and it shows in her work. Her as the bad girl is subtle, yet effective. Her as a good guy is a competent hand who can energize a crowd. Naturally, she’s pretty, and she seems to have a great personality outside of the ring.
Don ‘t believe me? Well, I’ll put a YouTube video on it. What she does in this match with Leah Von Dutch is what made me like her in the first place.

I’ve heard of the Sara Del Ray’s and the Mia Yim’s, but give me more of Shanna, and I’m a happy girl.

So, these 3 are my current favorite wrestlers. Quite astonishing considering how vast the wrestling world is, but these 3 manage to hold my attention and get me invested in their stories.

And now, to you. Who are your favorite wrestlers?

Until next time.

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How did Absolute Smark begin?

Hello Internet.

For my first column, I thought I’d reflect on the small kerfuffle that inspired me to create this page. Because like any blog or website, everything usually begins with an idea or some type of motivation. Here’s mine.

Remember that Austin Aries-Christy Hemme thing?

Yeah, that thing.

After I saw some footage of that incident, I had some particularly strong feelings about it. I felt that what Aries did was wrong, and his actions completely took me out of the “Yay, this is fun!” feeling I usually feel with wrestling. At first I wondered if what happened was part of the show, but when I realized it wasn’t, I got mad. As I continued to read comments online about it, I got more angry. The people who I found to be most offensive used the excuse that other women in wrestling did these things, so that made this part of the show okay. I disagreed. To the point where I got mad.  I sat on my feelings for a day or so, then I decided that I had to write something about it.

I e-mailed my friend, Matt, who writes at The Wrestling Journal, and wrote a guest post called No Excuses for Austin Aries. To say that it got some strong opinions in response is an understatement. Of course, the people  who know me personally thought the article and the personal story I told was great, but others thought I was going too over the top.  I also got called some choice names by some commenters,  and I also had my blog posted on a wrestling message board somewhere on the internet.

And you know what? I loved it. Not the name calling, but I enjoyed hearing other opinions besides my own. I finally found out that I needed to make my own web home away from home so I can make my voice heard too. So I sat down and started brainstorming. A few weeks later, and you’re reading the idea come to life.

And that is how Absolute Smark came to be. This is the place where I will express my thoughts on wrestling, my favorite wrestlers and other material about the industry.

Besides commentary of the popular news stories of wrestling and write ups of various wrestling shows, I’ll be doing some writing on wrestling related books, videos, and whatever thoughts strike me in the moment. I want this to be a place where other wrestling fans can interact with each other about what’s going on with the sport that we all love. Because if you’re like me, you can never talk too much about wrestling.

I am Shanna, and thank you for reading me.

Until next time.