I'm back, well sort of kind of
It has been some time since I have actually taken the time to write anything remotely thoughtful on my site. My name is Matthew Hester, and I am one of the co-founders of Ring Rap. Given how often I have posted anything in the last year, you may not know that. So, I would like to take the time to reintroduce myself to the new writers and fans that we may have picked up recently.
First of let me publicly apologize to the older fans and the older writers of this site (Drew, Daniel and Bill) who have kept it afloat. Over the last year I have really let the ball drop, and they have done a great job picking up the slack. I honestly thought my days of writing for this site were over. If not for the few dedicated; Ring Rap probably would have died.
For those not familiar with me I would like to tell a bit about myself, and the reasoning for my return. Much like many other wrestling die-hards, I was hooked on “wrasslin” (as it was called in the south way back when) from an early age. It was around 1981 or ‘82 that I saw my first match with a much much younger Ric Flair. From that moment on I knew pro wrestling would always hold a place in my heart.
Much to my mother’s chagrin, this love for the fake sport would not be outgrown. In 1986 my family moved to Connecticut: Home of the WWF/E. I went from watching the likes of Flair, Rhodes, Dr. Death and the Road Warriors, to watching the Hulkster, Randy Savage, and many, many more. One of the coolest moments of my life was when my dad drove for the wrestlers. It was through that job I was able to always go to shows for free because the wrestlers were always nice and gave away tickets.
For a brief period during my high school and college years, I kind of outgrew wrestling. I was too busy drinking beer and striking out with the ladies most of the time. But in 1997, on a fateful night, I just happened to flip to an episode of Nitro. It was then I saw a young future Hall of Famer, Chris Jericho. I almost busted a gut watching him go through the list of one thousand and one holds.
From that moment on until about a year ago I was hooked again. I got the pleasure to watch the Monday Night Wars in full bloom, and it was 100 times more entertaining than ever explained. During this time period I also got to see wrestlers like Kurt Angle, The Rock, Kane, Jericho, Diamond Dallas Page, and a ton of others tear up the ring.
My full tilt into wrestling insanity wouldn’t come into effect until many moons later though. It was in the mid to late 2000s I started to write for the Bleacher Report. It was a whole new world for me to share my love for the male soap opera. My highlight with BR came when I stood number one among the wrestling writers for a good portion of a year. I was later banned from BR, but that is another long story.
It was while writing for BR that my idea for Ring Rap started to seed itself. I was sick of writing for hours upon hours for some other website to reap the benefits. However, not knowing diddly squat about making a website put a damper on any plans I had to make one - that is until Drew (the other co founder and owner) stepped into the picture.
We were just co-workers back then, but we spent hours of the day (when we should have been working) talking about what took place on Raw and Smackdown, along with many debates on who was better than who (Sorry Drew, Flair is still overrated in my book). The one thing we did agree on though was that we were both insane wrestling junkies. I am sure our co-workers thought we were the biggest dorks alive.
Then, one day out of the blue I told Drew my idea to start a website, and that was when Ring Rap was born. Drew being a website builder completed the piece of of the puzzle that was desperately needed to be filled. So, we got together and put our ideas together and launched Ring Rap.com. The site itself was decent looking at the time, but man were there a lot of learning curves.
I would post the news, write opinion articles, book interviews and look for talent to write for the site. Drew built the site, wrote once in awhile, hosted Ring Rap Audio (which hit the 100 episode mark, and we are hoping to bring it back). He also had the dubious task of maintaining the site; a job I never envied.
Ring Rap.com has seen a lot of highs and lows. I won’t get into them, but to say it has been a roller coaster ride would be an understatement. We had the pleasure of interviewing legends like Mick Foley and other greats during its high times. We also had the displeasure of interviewing one of heroes of the sport, but he was a tool to say the least, again another story for another time. The one thing that always kept me going through good and bad was my passion for wrestling though.
Along with Drew, Bill (you didn't think I would forget you), myself, and later Daniel, we had a nice formula going. Until around a year ago, for some reason I just got sick of wrestling. I couldn't stand to watch it; never mind covering it. I tried to get through the lull, I would post here and there but the truth is my love for pro wrestling was gone, and to a point it still is.
I came very close to just saying screw it and move on with my life (as far as the site went), until recently that is. While my love for the majors like the WWE, TNA, and ROH are no longer here. One bright coal kept my fire burning for this great American pastime, and that is the Indy scene. I was bored at work watching Youtube, and I happened to catch the hijinks of this silly Indy wrestler named Star Man (you will know about him very soon as well).
His silly matches not only put a smile on my face, but started a fire again that has long been out. After that I just started watching countless hours of Indy wrestling. I now feel rejuvenated to write again in some manner. Going forward I will be bringing back a small column I started a long time ago called Spotlighting the Indies.
It will feature stories and opinion reads on the talent that goes unheard from. The Indy scene is and will always be the backbone of pro wrestling. Without it there would be no CM Punk's, Daniel Bryan's, or Chris Jericho's of the world. That is not to say I will never watch Raw again or write about Styles and the others in the bigs again. Maybe one day my love for the big stage will return. Who knows?
For now though I am going to return back to my roots and write about what made me love pro wrestling. I do hope that you will join me on my journey, but I won’t hold it against you if you don’t. So that is my story folks, and it is the one I am sticking to. I will end this article by saying it is great to be back!
(co-founder and co-owner)
I would like to personally thank Drew, who without his help this would have never happened. My buddy JR, who was one of the originals who stopped working with me and Drew, but he always encouraged me to stick with it. Bill who has spent countless hours covering Raw, TNA (Sorry Bill), and PPV's. He also made more than a few guest spots on Ring Rap Audio (and Kane still rules). Last but not least I would like to thank Daniel; while we have not gotten to know each other too well, he writes week in and week out. I hope we get to become more acquainted in the future. I also look forward to meeting all the new writers.