BATTLE-DRINK, Week 12: Rock Bottom, Jaguars vs Texans
Back in my younger years, I was quite the pro wrestling aficionado (as opposed to now, when I am...well, still quite the pro wrestling aficionado), and while my favorite wrestling organization was the WWF (and still is WWE), I would watch the weekly shows on cable for a handful of other companies -- NWA, UWF, World Class, to name a few.
Click for larger image.
Back in the mid-'80s, one of my favorite non-WWF guys to watch was a wrestler named Terry Taylor, who was a mainstay at one time or another in all of those other territories. A highly skilled worker (wrestling speak for "performer who put on great matches"), Taylor was touted by many to be the next Ric Flair, which was (and still is) about as high a compliment as you could give a pro wrestler.
Fast-forward from my formative years to 1989, or Sean Pendergast: The College Years if that helps you. Terry Taylor by that time was starting his first stint in the WWF. Even though it was a time when the WWF was known mostly for steroid-jacked, 350-pound freaks, I was excited to see how Taylor would do. So around that time, I went to a WWF house show in South Bend (my collegiate home at the time), in part because Taylor was on the card.
I was quickly depressed and horrified by what I saw.
The first match of the night at any wrestling house show is usually a couple of preliminary guys who barely anybody recognizes. Working the opening bout (or "jerking the curtain," in wrestle-speak) is often a rite of passage for a guy working his way up the ladder, or it can be the nadir of the tumble down the ladder for older guys.
On this particular night, the first match involved some nondescript jabroni (probably Jose Luis Rivera, or Mac Rivera, or any one of the Riveras) with no theme music as the first wrestler. Your typical hump who got no reaction as he plodded to the ring in his generic windbreaker and blue tights.
Terry Taylor! Sweet! But wait, there was one problem....Terry Taylor wasn't Terry Taylor anymore. He was repackaged with a red mohawk and a manufactured strut and called the "Red Rooster."
I was horrified.
The next Ric Flair had been relegated to being an opening-match joke of a cartoon character. I would have been angry if I wasn't so depressed. Taylor...oh, sorry...Rooster would go on to win that match against Blah Blah Rivera, but would pretty much lose every other match in his WWF career.
I bring this up because that's what this weekend's Texans-Jags game at Reliant essentially is. It's the NFL weekend's equivalent of an '80s WWF prelim match, the Jags are Blah Blah Rivera and the Texans are Terry Taylor, a once proud up-and-coming title contender turned punch line.
A year ago at this time, the Texans were 9-1, a championship contender, the next big thing.
And now? They're 2-8, their coach is on career death watch and the players are sniping with the fans because they're booing too loudly.
Yes, the Texans are now the Red Rooster. The Battle Red Rooster....
Let's get to BATTLE-DRINK. I'm sufficiently bummed out now: