Dedicated to Gordon Solie
January 29, 1929 - July 27, 2000
All Pro Wrestling brought their fourth installment of the annual Halloween Hell spectacular to Galt, Ca. On a dark, rainy night, perfect for the haunts and howls of Halloween, APW put on a tremendous show for the fans that turned out. There looked to be somewhere near 300 fans in attendance, and that was good, considering the stormy weather outside. Would this show live up to Halloween Hell expectations? There was a lot of talk that it would be just another show, but after the night was done, longtime fans were calling it the best overall show of the year...
Interview with The Shoot Club...
As Comini and Dynasty left the ring, Senior Official Jimmy Ripp got the mic and stated that if they do leave the ring, they will be suspended by the Pro Wrestling Council. However, The Shoot Club didn't seem to mind another suspension being added to their already huge list, and left the ring.
Ed Moretti, who was going to team with The Ballard Brothers, told Ma'och that he knew how it felt to be 'screwed over' by The Shoot Club, and he would instead team with Ma'och, to face The Ballards in a tag match.
This time, they worked very slow and mythodical with their opponents, tagging in and out with good teamwork. Although half of the moves they used were illegal (Moretti's half), they would play it smart and break before Senior Official Jimmy Ripp reached the count of five. Ma'och was tagged in, and he broke Shane Ballard down for a minute, and then tossed him to the outside, where Moretti was waiting. Moondog slammed Ballards head into a chair, and yelled at ringside spectators. The dirty dog choked and stomped Ballard, while the referee was distracted in the ring by Ma'och. A few more chairshots, and finally the beaten Shane Ballard was allowed back into the ring. The fans were cheering hard for a comeback, but things were looking bleak at this time.
After a backdrop attempt, Ballard caught Ma'och off-guard and hit him with a swinging neckbreaker to put both men on the canvas. A hot tag was made to brother Shannon, and he came in to clean house. Moretti and Ma'och were both in a daze, when Cheerleader Melissa jumped into the ring, and nailed a big legdrop on Moretti. Ballard covered for the pin, but a save was made by Ma'och. All four men were in the ring going at it now, this match was getting wild. The heels took over and Moretti was back on the floor with Shane Ballard, running his head into the steel post and the guardrails. In the ring, at the same time, Shannon was tearing into Ma'och, he hit a stinger splash in the corner, and attempted a superplex. However, Ma'och shoved him off the second rope. Jimmy Ripp was being distracted by Moretti's outside action, when Melissa got back in the ring, and climbed up the ropes to where Shannon had been. However, she didn't go for a superplex, instead she hit an amazing picture perfect hurricarana off the top rope!!! The fans popped huge for this, even starting the first "APW" chant of the night...what an amazing move! Both Ballards got in the ring, and hit a double-team bodypress on the fallen Ma'och, and scored the victory in a very exciting match. Winners: The Ballard Brothers in 13:16 ( * * * )
Ramirez stated that since Morgan holds two titles, and he would be getting yet another shot at the belts tonight against the Westside Playaz 2000, Ramirez would be forced to strip Morgan of one of the titles. Ramirez said it was not fair to the boys in the back, and it was not fair to the fans, as there would be no way Morgan would be able to defend three titles in one night. Commissioner Ramirez felt it would be cheating the fans from seeing the best matches possible. Morgan got the mic, and told the Commissioner that he is a fighting champion, and even if he won a third title tonight, he would have no problem defending all three belts in one night. He also reminded fans that he remembers when Ramirez was just a 'mark', and he was going to the shows as a fan. Ramirez had already made his decision though, and he asked Morgan to turn over one of his belts. Donovan refused to do so, and instead walked out of the ring with both titles.
Ramirez said if Morgan didn't come back to the ring, and give up one of the belts, he would be fired! Morgan yelled back at Ramirez that it was not fair, and he won both of the titles fair, so he should not have to give it up. Cooler heads then prevailed, as Morgan's tag partner, Kid Chrome came out, and grabbed one of the belts and tossed it into the ring. Even with Morgan arguing with it, KC had randomly grabbed the Internet Title and given it up for Morgan. Donovan walked back to the dressing room in a rage, yelling "It's not over!" to Commissioner Ramirez.
Even though Ramirez has only been APW Commissioner for less than a month now, he has really meant business everytime he has come to the ring, and he isn't afraid of any of the wrestlers. Once he makes a decision, it is final. That is what APW has needed for a long time now, and the straight-forward attitude of Gabe Ramirez is working great with the huge ego's and multi-talented superstars of the APW gang.
Ramirez then stated that tonight a four-man mini-tournament would be held to crown a new APW Worldwide Internet Champion. He had chosen the four men ahead of time, and called them out one by one. The men who would be involved in the tournament were "Fallen Angel" Christopher Daniels, "Innovator" Vinny Massaro and The Frantz Brothers (Jardi & Myaki). Ramirez stated why each one of the men were chosen for the spot in the tournament, and we would be seeing Daniels vs. Jardi and Massaro vs. Myaki, and then the final match would decide the new champion.
Daniels got the mic and yelled at Ramirez that it doesn't matter who he faced in the tournament, he would be leaving with the title he never lost, the Internet Championship. All the men left the ring to prepare for battle, but not before a quick nose to nose face off between Myaki Frantz & Vinny Massaro. What an exciting night this was shaping up to be.
A few headlocks and some chain wrestling exchanges started off the match, while SD2K took O'Doul down with a few hard shoulder tackles. It looked like SD2K wasn't going to take the rookie very serious in this match, since he did stand over him by a couple inches, and he did outweigh him by about 50 pounds. But O'Doul quickly gained respect, hitting some nice armdrags, followed by a dropkick that sent SD2K over the top rope and to the outside to recover. At this point, SD's mouth was bleeding from the dropkick, and he was furious. O'Doul had now made the 285 pound Destroyer upset, and that is not a good spot to be in.
Destoyer came back with some vicious chops, and a sick belly-to-back suplex that dumped O'Doul on his head. SD2K overpowered the rookie using powerslams and shoulder blocks to break him down. On the outside, Buddy Cotello even got involved, slapping the rookie, and distracting referee Tag McGurdy while SD2K ran his opponent into the steel guardrail. Once back in the ring, SD2K toyed with him some more, chopping and pounding away. O'Doul made one last attempt at a comeback, firing some punches to SD's stomach, but on a reversal into the buckle, SD2K caught O'Doul in the position of his finisher...The Heart Punch...and laid him out flat. SD2K got the victory with the dreaded Heart Punch, which was a top heel-move in the 70's, and he has brought it back to APW, to strike fear into the hearts of anyone in his way.
After the match, Cotello plugged his man some more, and really got the fans riled up, and in an outrage, yelling at Cotello to get out of the ring. As Destoyer left the ring, Cotello fired threats at the fans that he would sue them if they touched him. Winner: Super Destoyer 2000 in 5:21 ( * * 1/2 )
Dalip Singh (with Jason Deadrich & Terri Nicole Ash) vs. The Snott Brothers (with Betty Beefcake)
Singh tossed Seymour into the corner, and pounded away at him. His humongous fists pounded down onto Snott's back, sending him crashing to the mat. Singh was toying with both of the brothers for a few minutes, like he was playing with two new toys he had just gotten for Christmas. He amazed the crowd by press slamming George C. Snott and then hitting Seymour with a huge powerbomb. The Snotts were almost out of it, and the match hadn't even gone three minutes yet.
Singh then did the unthinkable, when he grabbed each man by the throat, and chokeslammed them both at the same time!!! One hand each!!! These guys are around 175 pounds each! That was easily enough to pin both men, and get yet another impressive victory, without even breaking a sweat! Betty Beefcake carried The Snotts back to the dressing room, as Dalip Singh, Jason Deadrich & Terri Nicole Ash stood in the ring in victory.
After the match, Deadrich got the mic and called out anyone in the back to come and take on Singh. He even challenged the Universal Champion Donovan Morgan, who i don't think was in any kind of mood to be accepting challenges, after giving up his Internet title earlier. Nobody came to the ring, so Deadrich made a challenge for next weekend in San Leandro, for Dalip Singh to get into the ring and take on three opponents!!! I am not sure if anyone has ever taken on three wrestlers at the same time, and come out on top. This guy is huge, he is intimidating, and he is powerful. He tried high-fiving some of the fans at ringside as he walked away, but Jason Deadrich put a stop to it, yelling for him to stop smiling and stop waving to the fans. It seems Dalip may like being in APW, but for different reasons than Deadrich does. Winner: Dalip Singh in 2:59 ( * * )
"Innovator" Vinny Massaro (with Buddy Cotello) vs. Myaki Frantz
Vinny was in clear control for a few minutes, until Frantz suprised him with a slop drop that knocked both men down, and had referee Jimmy Ripp counting until they reached their feet. Myaki was up at the 7 count, and he went to work on Massaro. Frantz got him on the mat, and hit a standing moonsault for a two-count. Frantz then popped the crowd big time, with a headstand on the turnbuckle (ala Ultimo Dragon), into a hurricarana. He then hit a swinging DDT, that sent Vinny out of the ring to recoup. But while Vinny was on the floor, Myaki hit a sick flip over the top rope and down onto Massaro! The fans were going wild! Could Frantz upset Massaro and adavance to the final match of the tournament!?!?! Vinny slowly climbed into the ring, but when he got to the apron, Myaki hit an Asai-Moonsault, sending both men crashing to the ground. What a crazy match this was...Myaki was giving it everything he had.
Back in the ring, Frantz got a two count, and kept up the offense. He went up top, and hit an amazing 450-splash! This only got a 2 1/2 count! Massaro was still in it. Frantz then went for another headstand on the buckle into a rana, but Massaro caught him in one of his many "innovative" finishers, the B*tch Slap! Massaro knew it might not be enough to finish off this feisty young rookie, so he then hit the Standing Suplex into a Michinoku Driver (which i think is called "The Copyright"), but what a sick bump Myaki took, right on top of his head. Vinny made the pin and got the three count in a fantastic match, to advance to the final of the Internet Title Tournament, and face the winner of the Jardi Frantz/Chris Daniels match. Winner: Vinny Massaro in 10:08 to advance to the finals ( * * * )
"Fly Daddy" Jardi Frantz vs. "Fallen Angel" Christopher Daniels
Jardi's lightning quick moves made him hard for Daniels to catch up with, and he escaped every predicament Daniels had him in. Jardi knocked the Angel to the outside, and hit a top rope somersault splash to the floor that had the fans chanting "APW". Daniels was quick to retaliate however, as he slammed Jardi into the guardrail, and then the action spilled out into the crowd. Daniels tossed Frantz into a pile of chairs, while Jimmy Ripp followed the action outside, doing a fantastic job of officiating this important match. Daniels tossed Frantz into a wall, but Frantz did his amazing "wall-walk", and ran up the wall, flipping off it, and landing on his feet!!! He hit a spin-kick, and then tossed Daniels into the wall. Frantz was in control, and tossed Daniels into a bunch of empty chairs. The fans were following the action all over the arena.
Once they got back to the ring, Frantz went for a bodypress from the top, but missed, and Daniels was back in control. Daniels slowed the pace down, working on Frantz and breaking him down, all the while, he was jawing back and forth with the fans at ringside who were really getting on his case. Daniels locked on a chinlock for a few minutes, until Frantz mustered up enough strength to break out, and try some more offense. But he was caught with a Chris Daniels spinebuster, to put him back on the mat. Daniels kept up the offense with some kicks, punches and a big powerbomb that got a two-count. Frantz retaliated with what little energy he had left in him, with a swinging DDT, only to come 1/2 inch away from the three count. The Fly Daddy tried a number of roll-up's, only to fall short everytime. This match was taking it's toll on both men, as they were fighting with all they had to earn the match against Vinny Massaro for the Internet Title. Frantz then shocked everyone, when he went up top and hit a nice looking Phoenix Press (ala Hayabusa)...1...2...No! Daniels kicked out. Daniels was back in control after catching Frantz off-guard with a Rock-bottom, and following it up with a picture perfect double-jump moonsault. 1...2...No! Frantz now kicked out, as the fans were on their edges of their seats.
Both men went to the ropes, and came back with a clothesline for each other...knocking them both to the mat. Almost all of their energy was drained, as Jimmy Ripp started his 10-count. At the count of 8, both men got to their feet, and continued the brawl. Frantz posted himself on the top rope, and was going for what looked like a swinging DDT, but instead Daniels tossed him off the top rope sending him crashing to the mat. This was about it for the Fly Daddy, as all that was left was for Daniels to finish him off. And that's what he did, when he picked up the limp body of Jardi, and hit the "Last Rights". 1...2...3! Christopher Daniels had defeated Jardi Frantz in a great back and forth contest that could have gone either way. The fans cheered the efforts of Frantz, but Daniels got no love as he was still yelling at the fans, all the way back to the locker room. He was going to have to get ready for one of the toughest matches of his life, against Vinny Massaro for the Internet Title...the belt he never lost. Winner: Christopher Daniels in 11:21 to advance to the finals ( * * * * )
Red came to the ring and let the fans know how much he appreciated the hard work and great wrestling he was seeing in the ring tonight. Bastein, was the innovator of the flying head-scissors, and he said even he didn't know the names of some of the moves he was seeing. He also talked about how we will be seeing some of the APW stars wrestling for WWF someday, because they are trained the right way, and they bust their ass everytime they step in the ring. Bastein talked a little about The Cauliflower Alley Club, and mentioned what it was all about. Talking about the annual reunions and how you could become a member. He left information about the club at the merchandise section, and left to a great response from the crowd.
Little Kato vs. "Beautiful" Bobby Dean
The two of them wrestled a very tough match, but it was kind of hard for a hardcore Gym Warz fan such as myself to get over the fact that it looked like Little JR Benson against Little Ron Hed :) But in the end it was Bobby Dean hitting a hurricarana followed by a top-rope splash to get the victory. Like i said, one of the best midget matches i have seen, and they will be back for the next couple of shows, so i suggest checking them out. After the match Kato was upset with Jimmy Ripp and he pulled his pants off. Winner: Bobby Dean in 12:54 to retain the mighty midgets title ( * * 1/2 )
"Innovator" Vinny Massaro (with Buddy Cotello) vs. "The Fallen Angel" Christopher Daniels
The match started with some great chain wrestling, Massaro working on the leg, and then Daniels taking control of the arm. They were trying to get a grip on each other, before the tide swung in the direction of either man. Massaro's big build was an advantage as a couple of shoulder tackles, followed by some stiff chops sent Daniels packing to the outside. Vinny followed him out there, and kept up the attack. Massaro was going to work on Daniels in and out of the ring. Once they were back in, Vinny hit a big backdrop and hooked on an armbar to wear Daniels down. Massaro did his famous rope-walking, and jumped off the middle of the top rope, down onto Daniels left arm with a legdrop! The move was definatley enough to break any normal man's arm...but Daniels kept the fight up, and was eventually back in the lead after a dropkick that took Massaro's knee out from under him.
Daniels was clearly going to work on the left leg of the "Innovator". The Angel stomped the leg into the ground, working over it as best he could...all the while, he was still jawing back and forth with the same fans who had been on him all night. Daniels would beg the fans to jump the rails and start something with him, and obviously his mind was not 100% on the match. But the assault on Massaro's left leg continued, and everytime Vinny would go for a move, Daniels would escape it and go right back to working on the leg. The fans were behind Vinny Massaro in this match, but Daniels was not letting up one bit, and kept various leg-locks on the Innovator, wearing his leg weaker and weaker.
About 9 minutes into the match, Daniels went for a big hurricarana, perhaps to wrap it up, but Massaro countered with a big powebomb knocking both men out! Vinny was amazingly the first to his feet, as the powebomb had taken a lot out of Daniels. Massaro came back with a clothesline and a big neckbreaker, and was still limping on his leg, which was in obvious pain. Massaro got a couple of two-counts, and the match continued. Vinny went for a Samoan Drop, but his leg was in too much pain, and he let Daniels down to grab his knee. Daniels went to the ropes, but Vinny caught him coming off with a tilt-a-whirl Face Eraser. The fans started a "Holy Sh*t" chant after this great move that had both men laying on the mat. Referee Jimmy Ripp counted to five before both men were up. Daniels went to the ropes, and as Massaro went for a backdrop, Daniels caught him in powebomb position, but couldn't pick Vinny up. Vinny reversed the move, and sat on Daniels but only got a two count. The tide went back and forth with lots of near falls and quick covers, but nobody could pick up that final three count.
Daniels got Vinny set up for the "Angel Wings" (sit-down pedigree), but couldn't lift him up, after a few headbutts to Vinny's back, Daniels hit the move, seemingly knocking Vinny out...but a 2 1/2 count was all Daniels was able to get, as the resiliant Vinny Massaro kicked out again! Daniels went into the ropes, and went for anoter leglock, but while Daniels legs were wrapped around Massaro's waist, the Innovator simply sat down on Daniels, hooked his legs...and got 1...2...3!!! Massaro had done it, he had won his first ever APW Worldwide Internet Championship with two grueling wins over Myaki Frantz & Christopher Daniels. The fans were pleased, and although they didn't care for Massaro, Daniels constant bickering with them made them hate him, and they would wish anyone would beat him. Winner: Vinny Massaro in 12:01 to become the NEW APW Worldwide Internet Champion ( * * * * 1/2 )
Westside Playaz 2000 (with ICEBOX) vs. "Funboy" Donovan Morgan & Kid Chrome
Morgan and KC had earned this title shot by winning the tag team battle royal in Vallejo back on October 14th...and they were going to try to make the most of it. Thompson & Morgan started off against each other, feeling each other out, slowly and mythodically working armdrags into staredowns. Robert Thompson, backed Morgan into a corner, and delivered what is still in my opinion, the best hip-toss in wrestling. Nobody does it like Bomber. KC was tagged in, and he locked on a headlock, and took Bomber down with it. KC held onto the head for a good minute, and then things shifted back and forth between the two teams. Lots of quick tags in and out, and lots of great wrestling by all four men.
Donovan and KC lit the crowd on fire when they hit back to back flips from the top turnbuckle to the floor (KC on Bomber & Donovan hit one on Boyce). Back in the ring, KC & Donovan were in control, and not letting up on the champs one bit, with suplexes galore. Lots of pin-attempts, but Boyce would always be able to kick out at two. They kept up the attack for another 5 minutes or so, with lots of double team moves. They were suprising everyone by actually showing better teamwork than the tag team champs.
About 7 minutes in, Morgan tried to lock on the Boston Crab, the hold that won him the Universal Championship from Ed Moretti back in San Francisco, but Boyce fought it with all he had. Morgan hit a chicken-wing powerbomb, and got a two-count. KC was tagged in, and he hit a flying hurricarana, but only got another two-count. Boyce was fighting with all he had to make the tag, and finally he nailed a belly-to-back suplex on KC, and knocked him down long enough to climb to his corner and make the tag to the "Brown Bomber" Robert Thompson. Bomber came in and cleaned house, with a number of powerslams, armdrags, dropkicks etc. on KC & Donovan.
Bomber went to the top rope, but KC hit the ropes, and crotched Thompson on the top buckle. Morgan climbed up there with him, and hit a huge superplex off the top rope, but only got a two-count. The fans were now really getting into this title match, as they could see WSP2K's 15-match winning streak come to an end at any moment. Bomber came back with a suplex on Morgan, and then one on KC. He then bodyslammed Donovan in the WSP2K corner. Boyce LeGrande was tagged in, and The Bad Boy hit a beautiful Swanton Bomb off the top rope! Boyce went for the pin, but at the count of two, KC pulled Boyce off Donovan. This was another great match! Who was going to win? It's anyone's guess!
The match went on, with Boyce and Donovan battling back and forth, and then KC was tagged in to go against the Bad Boy. Boyce took the advantage for his team, and tagged in Thompson. Bomber hit an airplane spin suplex, that almost knocked KC unconcious...but amazingly Kid Chrome kicked out at the count of two. Remember, KC is a rookie, and he is hanging with the big boys in this match. A powerbomb by Thompson only got a two-count, and then a save was made by Morgan. Boyce went for a dropkick off the top, but Morgan side-stepped it, and locked on the Boston Crab. Boyce was screaming in agony, until Bomber made the save, knocking Donovan off his partner. KC was tossed out of the ring, and then WSP2K hit 3-D (ala Dudley Boyz), and got a huge pop for it! Morgan was just about out of it. The match had been too grueling to keep up much longer. Bomber brought KC back in the ring, as Donovan was now knocked out, and set him up for the Double Badboy Blockbuster! WSP2K delivered one of their favorite finishing moves, and made the cover...1...2...3!!! Boyce and Bomer had won the match with a vicious Double Badboy Blockbuster on Kid Chrome. The winning streak extends to 16 in a row! What a great match up between two of the top teams in APW today. Winners: Westside Playaz 2000 in 13:30 to retain the APW Tag Team Titles ( * * * * )
Bomber, Boyce & BOX didn't take too kindly to this, and they surrounded the ring as Daniels yapped away, taunting the champs. Daniels then said he would introduce them to thier partner, the man who would be taking the place of Michael Modest in San Leandro next weekend. Just then, out of the dressing room came Vinny Massaro! Massaro attacked from behind, knocking ICEBOX out with his newly won Internet Title, and Daniels & Massaro started beating on The Playaz. Vinny hit a B*tch Slap on Boyce, and then Daniels hit the Last Rights on Bomber. The Playaz had been laid out, and they were getting beaten with the title belts right in the middle of the ring. Buddy Cotello was even out there with Massaro, choking ICEBOX with a necktie.
This was a sick act, as Daniels & Massaro jumped WSP2K right after their hard fought match, and beat them with their own title belts. Vinny and Daniels vowed to win the belts in San Leandro, and left the ring to the boo's of the Galt crowd. Boyce & Bomber limped after them, but it was too late, as they had already made their getaway. The show came to a close with ICEBOX being helped back to the dressing room by APW Officials.
We will get to John's latest column in a moment, but first, here is a kind of oddball article from the Boston Daily Globe in 1945, chronicallying the decidedly short lived career as a wrestling personality of the immortal baseball great, Babe Ruth. Enjoy...
By Jerry Nason
Among others who've worked for the "Yankee" dollar, as the current rum rhythm rage has it, is Babe Ruth. He collected many a buck from the Yankees. The immortal slugger probably earned close to two millions out of baseball, directly or indirectly.
So now, at 51, he pops out of semi-obscurity not as a baseball celebrity, but, of all things, a character associated with pro wrestling. He hires himself out to Papa Paul Bowser as a grappling arbiter, so naturally he must be broke, eh? Where has all that important dough gone, do you suppose?
Babe put everybody straight on that point, pronto. "The time I'll ahve trouble," he grinned, "is when, in this country, there are no such things as trust funds and life insurance pays no dividends."
I dunno how much Bowser is paying him to shed his cloak of retirement and come back into the sports pages as a grapple pace-maker. Somebody told me $1,200. Somebody else insisted it was $1,500, and expenses. Regardless, the Babe can make a small fortune this year out of the role -- if he stays with it. The Portland show last night, for instance, had been sold out for a week just because of his name. Tomorrow night's Garden crowd is expected to reach the roof.
He doesn't need the dough, really. But he does need the excitement, the crowds, the interviews, the feeling of belonging to the public again. He needs those things . . . because he is those things. The Babe isn't the kind of a guy who can retire behind the evening paper. And he feels strongly that baseball, his game, brushed him off. Even without this new venture, he was never hard up for "pin" money. He picked up $50,000 more or less last year from radio, and so on. The big fellow is not ready to buy out the Rockefeller interests, but there are no patches in his pants, either.
Nearly a year ago he had his right knee operated on. Floating cartilage. "Had it," he says, "when I was playing ball, as far back as my Red Sox days. If everything goes okay, and my knee holds up, I may stay with this wrestling thing."
He's in good shape -- 246 pounds. He's down from 20 cigars a day to four. He golfs, and bowls five afternoons a week . . . averages 175 in hurling the big ball at the pins.
The Babe got a kick out of a reporter's remark yesterday. Reporter: "Hey, Babe. You are signed up to visit an antique show today." Babe beamed. "That so," said he. "Why? Am I entered?"
Same old Babe. He'd been away from the sports page for ten solid months. He'd been out of baseball for 11 years, and baseball had given him no sign to come back. Somebody whispered that the Babe would be managing an American League club in the post-war period. Whisperings: "A big shot, manufacturing war planes, is after the Cleveland Indians. He wants the Babe to manage."
Babe would love that. No front office for him. Give him the bench, the coaching lines, a chance to sweat out the umpires. That's his meat. The roar of the crowd up at Portland last night was a jigtime tune to the Babe. True, it was the roar of a wrestling crowd . . . but it was a crowd. And that's where Babe belongs . . . in front of the crowd . . . among athletes . . . young fellows coming up the trail.
They expect a girder-rocking crowd in the Garden tomorrow night. The mighty Casey will attempt to toss swifty Szabo, as an Irishman hurls the stone. But the crowd, mostly, will be a tribute to the Babe . . . greatest "gate" man of them all.
Welcome again to the Crossface Connection. I received some good feedback from last week's column...so much so that I decided to write one this week! As always, thanks to Solie's for making this possible, and the standard plug for www.bodyslam.cc, the Crossface Homepage, where you can find all the latest results, rumors, and news from the world of pro wrestling.
I was contemplating the subject material for my other column (The Crossface Corner, on the www.bodyslam.cc website), when I was called on the phone by a pollster. I wasn't raking leaves at the time (8:00 pm...yes, it was dark, but with 2 kids under the age of 3, when else do I have time?), and was in no mood to trade syllables with some tele-pollster. However, my momma raised me right, and I was reluctant to blow this lady off of the line, so I politely answered her questions. As I did so, I got the idea for this opinion piece.
There has been pressure lately, from a number of private and public groups, for the creators of Sports Entertainment to "tone it down." Obviously the most publicized of these has been the PTC, which is a television watch group that rates TV programs for content, and advises advertisers and sponsors which shows are "good", and which shows are "bad". The PTC also garners "responsible" corporations into its circle, and makes referals to these companies (many of whom spend a great deal of money advertising on TV). If a show is deemed as good, the PTC lavishes praise onto them, and if not, the PTC brings pressure on their allied companies to pull their advertising. The WWF, and to a lesser extent, the WCW, have fallen on the bad side of the PTC, and have been under siege for quite a while. In fact, the PTC was able to put a bit of a dent in the advertising list the WWF had. Several companies pulled their ads from WWF programming. Sure, the withdrawl has slowed to a trickle, but you can bet it put a bit of a pucker in Vincent K. McMahon's hiney.
Now, I have no problem with the PTC. At all. As a matter of fact, I applaud the efforts of organizations to clean up the broadcasting arena. There is too much smut, nudity, and violence on television, and it should be curtailed. The best way to do this is to force companies to tone it down by threatening their back pockets. If a group of advertisers pulls its commercials from a program, that program can either end, or change....pretty simple, huh? I think that the WWF was overboard on several of its angles and characters...Solie's was right on when he stopped reporting on the WWF info having to do with that obscene angle involving the Big Show's "Dad". and his death. I would have done the same thing.
However, it is my RIGHT to think that way.
It is my right to watch only those shows that I choose. It is the right of the PTC to organize and build a consensus about morality. It is Solie's right to write about Paul Wight. It is the right of all people to think what they want, and act as they choose, so long as the identical rights of those around them are not infringed.
I personally think it is nuts that I can't read a Bible aloud in a school, but I can urinate in a jar, put a statue of Jesus inside, close it, and display it as art (and get federal dollars to do it). That is absolutely insane.
However, it is a right. A right the government cannot take away. Or, rather, should not.
For the government to take that right away, would cripple the Constitution (bye-bye, Bill of Rights), and ruin what this country has allowed over all else...the right of the individual to believe as they wish, and to live without impediment from the state.
All of you are probably ten seconds from going to another website, but I am about to tie it all in, and make sense (and that is a FACT, not an opinion).
The PTC can do everything they want, within the law, to stop the WWF from producing their brand of wrestling. However, they are unsucessful because the MARKET supports the WWF, and the PTC cannot bring enough financial pressure to bear. In short, people chose to watch the WWF anyways, no matter what the PTC does.
But what if a law came out that wrestling could not be shown in prime time?
What if Congress signed a bill saying that wrestling was now defined as a "high-risk occupation, with violent and unacceptable behavior", and that kind of show was unable to be televised, unless on Pay-per-Views?
What if the government, on any level, started dictating to you and me what we could watch on TV? Or, what we could listen to on the radio? How about the Internet? My good compadre Earl may be told to shut it down, or face a fine and jail term? What if, to enforce these laws throughout the land, police agents would infiltrate wrestling schools, indy promotions, and arrest the wrestlers and promoters?
Yeah, I am getting carried away....but the same thing happened with Prohibition in the 20's, when the federal government decided to do something for our own good.
The first step in such a process is very simple. Censorship.
The government first decides to label something as offensive. They do this because of public sentiment, or because there is a percieved threat to the public good. To that end, the federal government "suggests" that certain things, actions, and behaviors be limited or stopped. Or, warnings are sent out with the product to the public, warning them of the risks involved with using the product, or listening, or watching the product.
This happens now, of course. Records with suggestive lyrics are tagged with labels warning God and everybody that offensive language resides within. Good idea, but is it the government's job to do that, or even suggest it?
Or, is it my responsibility to choose the right thing? If I don't like a product, I stop using it. If I don't like watching a type of program, I turn it off. If I don't want my kids watching it, I DON'T LET THEM. They are my responsibility as well. If millions of people think the same, the market forces the producers of that product or show to change their way of thinking, producing, and/or doing.
That is far better than the government making an arbitrary decision, isn't it?
Wrestling is violent. It is racy (these days). It is provocative (the Rikishi/Austin angle, for example). It may even be too much so. But the idea of the central government allowing me to see what they want, and only that, is scarier still.
In the Third Presidential Debate, one of the candidates, when faced with the question about protecting children from the violence from the media, said, "I don't believe in censorship. I believe the best way to deal with that is to talk to your kids." The other candidate's wife was instrumental in making the government force record companies to label their records, with his support from the Congress.
For the Pro-Wrestling industry, who would be better? How about for your rights?
You all are smart enough to make important decisions. Right? Right. Vote.
Again, thanks for reading, and thanks for reading the Tuesday Morning Report. You only find it, as well as this column, as Solie's Vintage Wrestling. In addition, Solie's has the most complete resources for wrestling history, Title reigns, and just about anything else the fan can desire. After getting your fill, come and see us at www.bodyslam.cc. See you next week for another Connection.
I'm reporting tonight from Miami, Florida where I am in the Sheraton Biscayne Bay, just a stones throw from the American Airlines Arena, where many a RAW ands Nitro have originated. Unfortunately I have not seen any wrestling at all since the Monday night shows last week, so I just have a few general comments.
My sources are now telling me that, although WCW is almost certain to be sold sometime in the near future - it probably won't be the WWF doing the buying. Makes you wonder about those stories that said McMahon was just trying to drive up the price for another buyer.
Reports of the Halloween Havoc card were variously tepid to flat out bad. I didn't see it, but I noticed that while the Calgary Sun really blasted it, Rick Scaia over at WrestleManiacs - not exactly a great WCW fan - didn't find that much wrong with it.
Congratulations go out to General Rection (Hugh Morrus) who brought the United States Title back where it belongs by defeating both Lance Storm and the traitor, Jim Duggan.
And finally...so Bret Hart is retired... At a time like this, the first instinct is to say, "Oh really..? But isn't it true that nobody stays retired in Pro-Wrestling?" Well, yes...there's that. For now, I will hold off on the "Good luck, Bret" editorial, but I have the feeling that this is for real folks. I mean, ask yourself, where would Bret go if he doesn't retire? Back to the WWF? Right...that's an option. You try going back to an old job after punching out your boss. To ECW? Paul Heyman is having trouble paying the performers he still has - where would he get the money to pay a multi-million dollar contract for the Hitman. Nope - it ain't going to happen, folks.
At least that's the way I see it...
Editor, Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
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