Ode to Andy Kaufman, the First of the Wrestler Theologians
Andy Kaufman began practicing wrestling
As a path to spiritual growth in 20th century America.
He soon realized that only a perfectly executed full nelson
Would allow him to reach satori, or Buddhist enlightenment.
A full nelson is done by performing half nelsons with both arms,
Holding the neck with a palm-to-palm grip or with interlaced fingers,
The former technique known as “handshake nelson,”
The latter as “prayer nelson” or also as “the theologian’s special.”
Andy Kaufman only wrestled with women
And severe injury resulted from his only encounter with a man
(Fellow wrestler Jerry Lawler)
Although the injury was later revealed to have been faked.
The full nelson’s use in combat sports is limited:
While it is a secure hold, it does not allow for finishing action,
Such as pinning the opponent under one’s body
Or executing a reliable submission hold
Or allowing for effective striking.
As an embrace it allows for extended contact
Close, in this, to the body slam.
Andy Kaufman was a sophisticated intellectual
Influenced by Bourdieu, and Debord,
First to fully appreciate
The spectacular nature of the American imaginary.