Inspiration comes in many forms, and today, mine is brought to you by Edge and the meatball sandwich currently swimming through my tummy.
Tomorrow marks a milestone for WWE Friday Night Smackdown: Episode number 600.
Sure, it's an arbitrary number simply because it's round—as opposed to, say, 100 or 500. But it really makes you think about the passage of time when you consider that that Smackdown is now in its 12th calendar year. I was at WWE for about a third of that, roughly 230½ episodes (does it count as 231 considering my final day at WWE ended 3 hours before that week's show aired?), and that feels like ages ago.
Either way, I didn't really think about the "milestone" when I read the spoilers this week (and, yes, I read them—don't judge), even with all the "celebration ballyhoo" they had.
I did, however, think about it when I bought lunch today. At the deli, I saw a sign. You know the one: "Do not sell tobacco to people born before this date on … ," whose year now reads 1993.
The year Raw went on the air.
I still consider myself a young man, especially considering how many of my similarly aged colleagues here at PWI are married, have children, etc. Speaking of old, I guess I'm the modern-day Matt Brock in that sense.
But I digress. I was 12 when Raw went on the air in January 1993. Now, as an enterprise, that program is old enough to purchase a pack of Camel Lights, vote for President, and register for the military. It would likely be graduating from high school in June and is, for all intents and purposes, an adult.
On Friday, little sister Smackdown officially celebrates its latest arbitrary milestone, and in six months, it will be old enough to receive a Bar Mitzvah.
I remember watching the first episode of Smackdown. August 27, 1999, the day before I moved into the dorms for my junior year at Temple University. But instead of seeing any of my friends in the area, I was locked in my room at the DoubleTree glued to UPN 57.
599 weeks later, I'll be sitting on my couch Saturday morning, coffee in hand, watching a DVR’d "600."
For reference, I remember watching the first episode of Raw, too. Prime Time Wrestling was the only program my mother let me stay up later than 10 on a school night to watch as a pre-teen, and I was mad that just as I was entering adolescence, wrestling came on earlier.
But there I was on January 1, 1993, watching Yokozuna literally squash Koko B. Ware and his Benny the Cab pants, glued to the screen as Undertaker (still my favorite 20+ years later) send Damien Demento back to the outer reaches of my mind with a Tombstone.
And now that I think about it (and thanks to some quick math via IM from a friend still inside Titan Tower), I realize that next summer, I'll likely be sitting on my couch watching that franchise reach four digits.
I can only wonder how old I'll feel then.