“Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome…the host of Wrestlemania 27…” -Justin Roberts
As I sit up in bed, I’m hanging on to each and every word that spews from the mouth of Justin Roberts. My TV is at full volume so I can feel the echoes of the arena, even if the crowd is silenced with anticipation. The fans in Anaheim are on the edge of their seats and I’m on the edge of my bed. My girlfriend (yes, I have a girlfriend, wrestling fans) lays sleeping not even two feet to my left. My dog, faithful for the time being, lays at the foot of the bed. The sound and indescribable feel of electricity fills the air of the Anaheim Convention Center. As the lights are flashing and the attention turns to the top of the ramp, the fans all get on their feet. I decide not to, because I’m at home and it would be a little weird.
Then, the house lights suddenly shut off with a sound similar to a deep gunshot. After a few seconds, and in the same fashion, the lighting of the Wrestlemania 27 sign also shuts down. Then, the Titantron follows suit, followed by the entire arena in complete darkness. Only the Undertaker demands this type of attention. It is at this point that I realize, along with the entire WWE Universe, that this was no reveal of Freddy Prinze Jr., or at least we really hoped not.
As if the wait for the reveal had not been long enough, the Titantron lights up with, what looks like, a blue sky with the sun shining through a cloud and bolts of electricity scanning vertically through the image. The sound in the background was…well…if a robot or electric being had a melodic heartbeat what I would assume it sounded like. I still don’t know what this was or the point of it, however, the events that followed made me look back and not give 3 squirts of rat piss.
After a quick camera zoom into the cloudy sky electric image, followed by the sound of a flashback from ABC's "Lost", it was “FINALLY” time. (Get it?)
At this point, I still have no idea who it is, but my eyes are glued to the TV. My arms and legs are glued to whatever position they were in so they don't make a sound. Even my dog knew to keep himself glued in his position and not make a peep or custody would have been switched over to Michael Vick. (Too soon? Fuck it.)
After the longest eight seconds I’ve ever lived through (until I ride a bull) of complete darkness and anticipation, three small words had me exploding with joy: “If you smell…”
You could tell me right now that the WWE audio engineers altered the clip to say ,“If you smell what Emeril Lagasse is cooking,” and I would have no proof in my memory to combat it. Once I heard, “If you smell,” I JUMPED out of my bed and shouted a whisper scream. (That’s when you do the same facial movements and physical motions as if you are really screaming, but make sure that no vocal chords are used so that your girlfriend, sleeping within feet of your excitement, is not disturbed in her dream of, what was probably, John Cena in a pink shirt.)
This was the moment that I decided to write about. This was my first ever…MARK OUT.
Everyone vividly remembers their first crush, first day of driving, first day of work and, of course, their first kiss. However, how many can remember the first time they marked out? How many WANT to remember? To this day, I still have not seen my dog give me a look they way he looked at me when I JUMPED out of bed that night. I know he’s just a dog, but the way he looked at me…it was as if to say, “You do realize this is wrestling? You do realize you are now on the level of the ‘it’s still real to me, dammit’ guy, right?”
In my life, I've had many sleepless nights do to partying, all nighters, video games and even movies or TV shows that I just couldn’t stop watching. However, in complete darkness, with TVs off and nothing going on, I’ve never had trouble falling asleep…until now. I felt like a child on the eve of their first trip to Disneyworld. I mean, the Rock is back….THE FUCKING ROCK IS BACK!!! I’m not the biggest wrestling fan ever, nor do I have many years of experience watching it. Hell, my first encounter with the WWE wasn’t until the 2000s: The Rock, Kurt Angle, Jericho, Rikishi…I even remember people I shouldn’t be remembering…Al Snow, Shane McMahon, Test and Too Cool. But being from Miami, I was immediately drawn to the Rock….fuck being from Miami…just being a human being with a pulse, I was drawn to the Rock.
So as I laid in bed, tossing and turning, trying to get some sleep for a long work day ahead of me, I couldn’t help but to be excited for what was to come. I want to remind everyone that WWE Raw ends at around 11:05pm ET on Monday nights. Fine, this night went a little longer, maybe it ended at like 11:20pm ET. THAT’S STILL NO EXCUSE FOR ME TO FALL ASLEEP AT 5:00AM. (I’m not even putting “ET” because that’s ridiculous in any time zone)
My joy of The Rock returning was abruptly shortened by my realization that I just did the unthinkable. I just marked out. My life will never be the same again. Those people that I made fun of, those people who hung on to every word, every action and every match that these “stunt actors” portrayed…I was now one of them. It was an induction into a club I never wanted to be a part of. It’s a slippery slope, my friends. To those who read this and have marked out before: welcome me into your club with open arms. Be gentle, I didn’t really see myself being here, ever. For those who have not experienced their first mark out yet…fucking beware.
My name is Augie Artiles…and I am a mark.