Like most Packers fans, I have a list of favorite Packers moments that will remain etched in the green and gold portion of my brain forever. The list includes the Packers Super Bowl titles in 1996 and 2020, my first game at Lambeau and watching the Packers win the NFC title live and in-person in Chicago.
The full bank of memories are too numerous to list here, but there is one particular memory that is probably unique to my brain and my brain only: I remember the first time I noticed Aaron Rodgers do the championship belt.
(Editor’s Note: Today begins a very different and interesting series by Adam Czech, a self-professed professional wrestling geek and Packers fanatic. For the next month of Sundays, we’ll be having a “Sunday Storytime” with new installments of this series. Even if you’re not that into wrestling, I think you’ll find plenty of interesting Packers stories that you will enjoy (I know I have). So, as the Monty Pythoners’ used to say, “And now for something completely different…)
It was 2008 and my wife and I were watching the Packers play the Titans on a snowy TV in a friend’s basement in Madison. Rodgers scrambled for a first down, dashed out of bounds, let the ball fall to the ground, then gave a quick title belt before jogging back to the huddle. I kept asking myself if I really saw what I thought I just saw. Did the quarterback of my favorite football team just pretend that he was the WWF world heavyweight champion?
Rodgers might have done the title belt before and I just didn’t notice it, but it doesn’t matter. I noticed it on this particular day, and I have noticed it ever since. It’s my favorite sports celebration ever and probably always will be.
Read on and maybe you will understand why (maybe).
Obsessed with wrestling
Some people take the NFL too seriously. Others let shopping, home projects or rebuilding cars take up too much of their lives. I’m obsessed with professional wrestling – specifically wrestling from the 1980s and early 90s. It’s embarrassing to admit, but I am a 29-year-old man that still watches old-school professional wrestling.
I not only watch it, but I also discuss it and analyze it with other wrestling nerds on various message boards and blogs. I probably own over 400 DVDs that are filled with classic wrestling footage. To me, 80s wrestling is the perfect blend of athleticism, violence, drama, marketing, politics, strategic development and show businesses. While others laugh at wrestling’s absurdity, I’m intrigued by the behind-the-scenes workings and what makes the men behind the wrestling characters tick.
I guarantee Aaron Rodgers does not approach my level of wrestling nerdiness. He is probably not even in the same ballpark. But when he busts out the title belt I feel like we’re connected somehow. You know that feeling you get when someone walks by wearing the T-shirt of an underground band that you thought nobody else on the planet listened to besides you? You don’t know the person wearing the T-shirt, but you still nod and say “nice shirt.” The other person acknowledges your compliment and even though the entire encounter lasts maybe two seconds, there’s a connection. The T-shirt of an obscure band somehow makes you feel like you’re linked with a person you’ve never met and probably will never see again the rest of your life.
That’s how I feel whenever Rodgers does the title belt.
What’s the point?
I have spent 512 words trying to describe why a silly football celebration makes me feel connected to a multi-millionaire, Super Bowl-winning quarterback that I will likely never meet in person. I have also exposed myself as a giant geek that still watches grown men in tights pretend to beat each other up. What am I trying to prove?
I think it’s long overdue that someone puts together the ultimate guide to professional wrestlers with ties to the Green Bay Packers. I am sick of the lockout and the offseason in general. In other words, now is the perfect time for a dork like me to compile The Complete History of Green Bay Packers in Professional Wrestling.
It’s also timely. Aided by an actual championship belt draped over his shoulder, Rodgers’ title belt celebration went national after the Super Bowl. Packers linebackers coach Kevin Greene also had a brief stint in wrestling in the mid-90s and several current Packers appeared on WWE Smackdown after the Super Bowl.
I envision this historical document becoming one of the most valued and revered pieces of work in the history of Packers literature. I know that one day it will end up on the book shelf (or hard drive) of every Packers fan in the world. It is only a matter of time before critics and readers put The Complete History of Green Bay Packers in Professional Wrestling on the same level as When Pride Still Mattered or Life After Favre.
Actually, nobody will probably read this besides me and Jersey Al. And Jersey Al will only read it because he ultimately has to decide if he wants to publish this thing and possibly tarnish the good name of his website forever. But I don’t care. Nobody wants to read about the lockout, so hopefully a few of you get a kick out of this project and my musings on the wrestling and football connection.
I originally planned for The Complete History of Green Bay Packers in Professional Wrestling to be a single post, but it has grown into a monster that requires multiple chapters. Each chapter will be posted in the coming weeks as long as the lockout drags on and the number of readers that threaten to boycott the site remain few.
Here is a brief preview of each chapter:
The Complete History of Green Bay Packers in Professional Wrestling
Chapter 1: The NFL and Wrestling Connection
An overview and brief history of NFL players that also wrestled.
Chapter 2: Kevin Greene, Steve “Mongo” McMichael and the 4 Horsemen
Insights and highlights of current Packers linebackers coach Kevin Greene in World Championship Wrestling.
Chapter 3: Dick the Bruiser
William Afflis was a lineman for the Packers in the early 1950s. After his football career ended, Afflis became a pro wrestler and earned national fame as Dick the Bruiser.
Chapter 4: Wrestlers/Packers Capsules
A reference guide of professional wrestlers with connections to the Green Bay Packers.
The title belt celebration is not loved by all, but it’s loved by this wrestling nerd. Both the Green Bay Packers and professional wrestling feature histories filled with colorful characters, entertaining stories and memorable moments. Over the next couple of weeks, this series will take a look at how those histories intersect.
I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed compiling it.