A friend and I are both similarly shameless man boys, and are equally shameless enough in our arrested emotional and intellectual development to get together once every week to watch old wrestling PPV events from the early 00s, 90s, 80s and – if we’re feeling especially fruity and devil may care in our appreciation of video quality – even the 1970s. After each event – some amazing; some unintentionally hilarious; many, many, many absolutely fucking awful – we look back at the evening’s entertainment, give each match a star rating, hand out our individual awards. And read out the Death List. The Death List is the number of wrestlers and personalities we’d witnessed perform that night at an event forty, thirty. twenty or even just ten years ago who were now no longer with us.
It’s unquestionably a morbid joke, one that never allows us to forget the insanely short expected lifespan of professional wrestlers, particularly those from the steroids n’ cocaine heydays of the so called Golden Era, from the 80s to early 90s. Despite our flippancy, it’s not a completely disrespectful exercise, it’s rarely less than depressing to note how many great talents were lost to us early by being sucked into such a thoughtless and treacherous business. It never allows us to forget that people are killing themselves and being killed just in order to provide us with our shits and giggles. Considering that I’ve only been writing these lists since 2007, and in an era when musicians’ and pop artists’ lifespan is considerably longer than your average professional wrestler, it’s not a trope I’d ever imagined repeating for my Necessary Evil end of year countdown.
With no thought of the massive psychological damage it would cause to middle aged children and the dread it would impose on their already suffocating sense of mortality, with no consideration given to the fact that it was Christmas 2021, like, yesterday, 2022 is soon coming to an end. In previous years I have trailed the year’s Necessary Evil’s list of the year’s best music by naming the year’s best in comparatively unimportant sectors such as films and video games. 2022, however, saw an event so momentous that it renders all other debate on art or even the wider human condition comparatively meaningless, and so I owe it to my legions of fans, I owe it to the internet, I owe it to the culture itself to mention it. Not only that, but I’ll have to try and explain its importance to non wrestling fans, which might actually beyond my ability.