I went to school with a lad who spent his evenings writing wrestling (WWF, WWE? whatever) fan fiction. No one else had the remotest interest in wrestling because we were a: 16 years old and b: country bumpkins living in the depths of Dorset. So he was pretty isolated in his passion. This was the mid-90's but he was driven by an early online community of like-minded people. Bulletin boards? It was before I realised the internet could be used to communicate with others anyway.
Nevertheless it bled over into his schoolwork, and any English project he could twist into his fanfiction he would do so. As he progressed, the fanfiction essentially turned into homoerotic soft porn, and I think it culminated in his parents being called in and a ban on any wrestling-themed creative writing.
I know he then turned into a massive goth and vanished... I like to think he's still writing it 25 years later. That the Undertaker is still grinding his hips against Randy Savage in the corner of the ring.
Fantastic. Or nightmarish, I dunno. I think I mentioned before that WWF essentially ruined my adolescence as I was the only person in my tiny village within about five years of my age who wasn't completely obsessed with it. All the people I had to pretend to like and associate with used to talk about nothing else, I mean NOTHING else. I honestly believe that there was a period of about five years during which they never willingly discussed any other topic. I remember saying to my friend Mark once "I do like Gavin and Duncan but all they ever talk about is wrestling" and Mark replied "Yeah, they always talk about wrestling, in fact they always talk about the evil wrestlers, but I like the good ones such as...." and then he proceeded to expand on his feelings about the so-called good guys of wrestling in extreme and excruciating detail. This wasn't a joke on his part or some sort of conversational device, he simply thought that that was a reasonable response to what I had said and that - as wrestling was the only possible thing that anyone could talk about - the thing I was taking issue with about the others' conversation could not be wrestling in general, but must be the aspect of wrestling they discussed.
After this I realised it was hopeless, but as an experiment I repeated what had happened to Gavin and his reply was exactly as I knew it would be "Typical Mark, steering the direction of conversation towards good wrestlers like that... bad wrestlers are much more interesting of course....".
It wasn't just the constant talking about it, they had millions of videos and the figures - despite being 17 or 18 or whatever - which they used to play with and, arguably worst of all, they used to constantly practise their moves on you all the time, so you would just be walking along minding your own business and suddenly find yourself grabbed and thrown in the air and then down onto your head as someone shouted "suplex!" or "piledriver!" or whatever.
Mark in particular was devoted to it, when Wrestlemania was in London he skived off school and claimed that he had gone to the event, regaling everyone over the next few days with the details of each fight - who had won, how they had entered and what bizarre events had occurred to create new beefs or whatever - everyone knew he was totally lying but most of them let it entertain them for a few days until the event was actually on telly... except Gavin who countered with the claim that he had randomly rang US numbers saying "Who won Wrestlemania?" getting a few "fuck offs" and "Eh, what?" before being answered by a fellow enthusiast who had given him the full score, proving Mark a total liar beyond doubt.
Of course this was also utter bollocks but slightly more plausible simply cost Mark was famed. as a compulsive - not to say ridiculous - liar (one of his best moments - actually a fairly typical one really - was when he claimed to have got some girl pregnant and then, at a party, in front of a group of speechless schoolmates he enacted a number of horrifically tense phone calls to the doctor as she was in labour, pretending over the course of two or three hours to go through the highs and lows of the whole event as it was ok, then it wasn't and so on, finally ending in hysterical floods of tears as both girl and child died, conveniently tying up all the lose ends and concluding that particular saga of shite.... but I digress).
A few years ago I discovered that Duncan took it one stage further by bulking up from his puny self and actually having a number of "fights" on the UK wrestling circuit (which until then I never knew existed) under the name Gallows Man. He actually went on to become a primary school teacher and did write some children's books but I don't know if he ever wrote any wrestling fan fiction, if he did he didn't share it with me thank fuck. I'm pretty sure that neither Gavin or Mark did cos by that age neither of them could write.
On facebook I still see them discussing wrestling every now and again - well, not Mark, he drank himself to death last year - and it all comes flooding back. The other day my girlfriend and I were flicking through the TV - we have got a load of extra channels as part of the package we bought to get all the football matches for the Euros - and we found a channel with WWE or whatever it is called now, and, out of curiosity, having heard the horror stories from my youth she insisted we watched it for a few minutes, her growing amazement and disbelief as the insane and camp spectacle (compounded by an audience made up of faces on tv screens) unfolded in front of her eyes, was matched by my growing panic which I tried to mask with laughter, but I have to admit that by the time the insane novelty had worn off and she was bored enough to turn over, I was sweating and shivering and shrinking back to the bullied loner I had been back in the 90s.