My initial exposure to professional wrestling as a kid was actually via Saturday morning cartoons. Hulk Hogan's Rock and Wrestling debuted in the Saturday morning lineup, and (to a kid) was pretty good. I wanted to know what this was all about and where these characters came from.
The Rock and Wrestling cartoon led me to what was then WWF's one hour program late Saturday morning. Here I saw all the professional wrestlers upon whom the cartoon was based, such as Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, Rowdy Roddy Piper, among others. From there, I discovered other professional wrestling leagues with TV shows, namely AWA and the lesser known UWF. I eventually discovered NWA, where I witnessed Ric Flair and the Four Horsemen for the first time.
My mom used to watch the shows with me. I later found out that her grandma used to watch professional wrestling too, so apparently it's in the blood. For the record, my mom's grandma's favorite wrestler was a guy by the name of Wild Red Raspberry. Go figure. Anyways, we had a good time watching the shows, especially WWF Primetime (which eventually became Monday Night Raw), and it was always interesting to see where story lines were going to go or what would happen next. It was also a rare time for me to occasionally stay up late to watch WWF's Saturday Night Main Event, which routinely showed bigger matches than what was on during the day, especially title bouts, steel cage matches, etc.
I stopped watching wrestling for a long time after I graduated high school. So, I missed the whole "Attitude Era", the Monday Night wars between WWF and WCW, and all that. But, I did catch the tail end of ECW, and have been watching WWE and Impact Wrestling (formerly TNA).
One of my favorite things about the advent of social media has been the connection into professional wrestling. Via twitter, you can see more of the person behind the character, and sometimes can interact with them. To me it makes me respect more what these wrestlers do as a profession, and just how hard they work in striving for the goal to put on shows and entertain fans.
My fiancee and I went to our first house show last year (Impact Wrestling in San Francisco), which was fabulous, with tons of interaction with the wrestlers, and we would totally go again if they come back to the bay area. A WWE house show or PPV would be a nice bucket list item, but we already know that the seats would probably suck and the chances of interaction are a lot less (or at least a lot more pricey).
Yes, I know the action is scripted, but that's not the point. As was painfully obvious watching the Tough Enough reality show, professional wrestling takes a LOT of physical and mental skill and agility to be able to do the needful. It's something I'm not able to do, and as such, I respect all practitioners of the craft.
Oh yeah, my favorite wrestlers as of today? For WWE I like CM Punk, Sheamus and Beth Phoenix. For Impact Wrestling I like Jeff Hardy, Velvet Sky, Angelina Love and Winter. I also wish I had found Impact Wrestling earlier, because I didn't see much of Daffney before her time was cut short with injuries.