Dedicated to Gordon Solie
January 29, 1929 - July 27, 2000
Did you have a good Thanksgiving?
My family and I did. We drive to my wife's aunt's farm house every year. The farm is about 300 acres, with a main house that is over 200 years old. They have a main meal at 2 PM or so, then there is football throwing and watching until 7 or so, which is when the turkey comes back out for sandwiches and coffee.
Oh, and this year, we watched Smackdown after we got home. It was an OK show. Good Women's match between Molly Holly and Trish, fair ending, and the Rock did good mic work, as usual.
About halfway through, I heard my youngest child crying (she is 16 months old). After repeated tried to get her back to sleep, I relented and brought her round self downstairs. We sat together and watched the remainder of Smackdown . As she is want to do, my kid stood in the middle of the room and gazed hypnotically at the TV, while the show carried on.
You know, I started thinking that I didn't want her watching this show.
There was violence, cursing, and the like. Here was my year-and-a-half old girl, watching 250-pound men hurl themselves at each other, and I was there, letting her just stand there and absorb it.
Would I let her watch two strangers fight in any other situation? Or, would I pick her up and quickly spirit her away from the violent confrontation? Would I just rationalize it by telling my wife that my kid should see it, because it is reality, and she can't be sheltered her entire life? Does that sound familiar?
I think that my job as a parent is to protect my kids from questionable subjects until I can teach them about these things. Now, I could write a whole column about this subject, but this is a wrestling column, and I do have a point.
Simple: "Sports Entertainment" is mature subject matter, and should not be viewed by young children, unless closely supervised by their parents. I could tell my kids that Pro Wrestling is a sport, and explain what the competitors are doing, like I do during a football game. I can even tell them that the "men are playing a game, like pretend", and they are not really hurting each other. However, it gets hard to explain the blood (I try to tell them it is not real), the soap-opera backstage action and interviews, and the wild corollary incidents (sledgehammer attacks, cars being dropped from front-loaders, etc.) that often occur. Also, the language stinks, but I avoid that by the fact that my kids are in bed before the 9:00 pm curse-word cutoff.
Pro wrestling, even in the 80's, wasn't like this. There were good guys and bad guys, not the anti-hero, rough rider ego maniacs that inhabit the ever-widening moral purgatory that is sports entertainment today. There were matches and interviews then, not the soap-opera like, convoluted storylines that exist now. It was easier to define, describe, and determine. Now, you aren't sure who is what, and that is a bad thing for a parent to face.
Also, there is no way that I would let any minor watch a PPV show, from either federation, especially the WWF. Remember Mae Young? How about Sable and her 'painted-on' bikini? The cursing and behind-the scenes parts of the program are also magnified and de-limited during the premium shows, as is the violence.
See, the violence is the easiest part to explain to the kids. You simply tell them that it is two actors in the ring. They aren't really hurting each other (per se). They are putting on a show. The hard part is all the tertiary action. Men attacking women. All the sexual innuendo.
This is real adult entertainment, as adults can discern the hyperbole and the humor in these situations, as well as understand the show for what it truly is. Immature minds construe it differently, and even try to emulate what they see. Hence we have backyard wrestling, with all the myriad injuries and lawsuits that we all know to be idiotic. I can blame a kid for being stupid...I do it often, as I think many teen-age kids are stupid (and that is a FACT, not an opinion). However, without parental reinforcement of what is right and wrong, the urge to imitate those things desired and deemed to be positive (as wrestling is to the average 13-18 year old male) is very strong.
As I have said before, I abhor censorship in this situation. The full responsibility for what a kid sees on TV rests on the parent or local adult. It is simple....don't let Vince McMahon baby-sit your kids.
Brigid, go to bed.
OK, another one in the books. Come to www.bodyslam.cc for the latest updates and info from the universe that is pro wrestling. If you want an almost endless supply of wrestling history and trivia, stay right here at Solie's and dive right in. Thanks for reading, and click on my name above to e-mail me with comments, opinions, and questions, which I enjoy and respond to as quickly as time allows.
See you next week for another Connection
APW returned to the Antioch Fairgrounds for another night of solid wrestling action. This was the same building The Honky Tonk Man had won the Universal Championship from Frank Murdoch just 3 months earlier, and APW fans were on hand to see if another title change was going to happen tonight. Vinny Massaro defending the Internet title against Boyce LeGrande, and Donovan Morgan defending his Universal Title against Robert Thompson. Plus a Battle Royal, a Lumberjack match and more!!!
14-Man Battle Royal - Winner: Dalip Singh in 7:43 ( * * 1/2)
Interview with The Westside Playaz 2000 - WSP2K made their way to the ring for an interview. They are currently in the middle of an 18-match winning streak, and they are fighting solo tonight. Boyce talked about how he will be trying to take the Internet title from Massaro tonight, while Thompson will be going against Morgan for the Universal belt. Thompson reminded fans of Gym Warz back in 1997 which was the last time the two of them met each other one on one. That match resulted in Morgan being carried away on a stretcher after busting his head open on the concrete floor. WSP2K then said that the outcome of their matches tonight will be the same as all WSP2K matches..."Playaz by three...1...2...3!!!"
Boom Boom Comini & Ma'och vs. THE SNOTT BROTHERS - George & Seymour (with Betty Beefcake) - Winners: Boom Boom Comini & Ma'och in 3:49 ( * * )
Kid Chrome vs. "Fighting Irish" Patrick O'Doul - Winner: Kid Chrome in 5:55 ( * * 1/2)
LUMBERJACK MATCH - Super Destroyer 2000 (with Buddy Cotello Esq.) vs. "The Next Big Thing" Dalip Singh - Winner: Super Destroyer 2000 in 6:53 ( * * * )
Lumberjack Match Aftermath...
Singh finally got back into the ring with his managers Jason Deadrich & Terri Nicole Ash. Deadrich called for Commissioner Gabe Ramirez, to let him know that they were ready for Donovan Morgan and they want the Universal Title. Ramirez came to the ring, and let Deadrich know his man would not be getting a title shot, and the wrestlers do not run the promotion, the commissioner does. Terri Nicole didn't take this too kindly, and slapped Ramirez across the face. Deadrich then told Singh: "Get the table!!!" Terri Nicole held Gabe in the corner, while Jason & Dalip set up a table in the middle of the ring. For the second time in a row, they were going to try to put the Commissioner through a table!!! However, Gabe escaped just in time, as he was too quick for Dalip. Gabe ran back to the dressing room, luck to have escaped the clutches of the huge Dalip Singh.
THE BALLARD BROTHERS - Shane & Shannon (with Cheerleader Melissa) vs. THE KAMIKAZE KIDS - Jardi & Myaki Frantz - Winners: The Kamikaze Kids in 14:46 ( * * * )
APW Worldwide Internet Championship - "Innovator" Vinny Massaro (with Buddy Cotello Esq.) vs. "Bad Boy" Boyce LeGrande - Winner: Vinny Massaro in 14:15 to retain the Internet Title ( * * * * )
APW Universal Heavyweight Championship* - "Funboy" Donovan Morgan vs. "Brown Bomber" Robert Thompson - Winner: Donovan Morgan in 10:16 to retain the Universal Title ( * * * * )
Main Event Aftermath...
After the match, Morgan & Thompson hugged and showed respect to each other for wrestling a very tough match. While they weren't paying attention, Dalip Singh made his way to the ring, and chokeslammed both Morgan and Thompson!!! This man was unstoppable and uncontrollable!!! Deadrich got the mic and let Morgan know that they would keep sending him messages like that, until they finally got the title shot they deserved. Singh & Deadrich left the ring together, but Morgan struggled to get to his feet, and got the mic. Donovan stated that if Dalip and Jason really wanted a title shot so bad, he would give them one right then and there! The Antioch fans loved it! They wanted to see Morgan/Singh for the gold.
However, Commissioner Ramirez had other plans, and stepped in the ring. He let Morgan know that the wrestlers don't run the show, he does. Gabe said there will be no title match tonight, and the show was over. Donovan questioned Gabe, and wanted to know why Gabe keeps screwing him. Ramirez got a little power-happy, and told Morgan "Because you work for me!" Morgan didn't take this comment to kindly, and he kicked Commissioner Ramirez in the stomach, and gave him a stunner!!! Morgan then called Dalip into the ring, but as the giant tried to get into the ring, APW security held him back. They were following the orders of Commissioner Ramirez, and were holding Dalip back, not letting him and Morgan get a hold of each other.
The show ends with Dalip being held back, while Morgan calls him into the ring. Something has got to be settled here soon. Otherwise, innocent people such as Ramirez, Robert Thompson, Super Destroyer etc. will keep getting hurt, if they stand in the way of Dalip's title run. All this giant wants is the gold...or at least that is all Jason Deadrich wants.
APW President Roland Alexander announced earlier today that APW will be hosting the greatest Independant Wrestling Tournament in the sport today. This show will rival the annual ECWA Super 8 Tournament, which has featured such superstars as Ace Darling, Vic Capri, Shark Boy and more!
APW is working hard putting together a great night of wrestling action for not just West Coast wrestling fans...but wrestling fans around the world! So far, 6 names have been announced for this tournament...they are...
1/2 APW Tag Team Champions "Brown Bomber" Robert Thompson
1/2 APW Tag Team Champions "Bad Boy" Boyce LeGrande
APW Worldwide Internet Champion "Innovator" Vinny Massaro
"Fallen Angel" Christopher Daniels
"Black Nature Boy" Scoot Andrews
More information will be posted on this show as it becomes available.
Before I get started this week, just allow me to take a moment to congratulate Billy Gunn on winning the WWF Intercontinental Title last week on SmackDown in Ft. Lauderdale. Also Kevin Nash and Diamond Dallas Page won the WCW Tag Titles, Gen Rection regained the US Title and Scott Steiner is the new WCW World Champion. This all happened at the Mayhem PPV.
Because of business travel, I didn't get to see much wrestling this week. But I have been watching for the last several weeks and I am starting to detect a possible trend. Is it just me, or is the WWF product slipping a bit recently? It seems like the last several weeks of shows have been decidedly lackluster - including the PPV last weekend (one of the few times I have really felt I wasted my money on a WWF PPV).
That isn't to say that they have been bad shows (except for Survivor Series...) Certainly the Austin/Benoit main event from last Monday night's RAW was a real barn burner. In fact, I would say that the one really solid feature of the last few weeks has been the return of Steve Austin. But think about this...the ratings for RAW have been hovering in the 5.0 range since they moved to TNN. Before that they ranged up to the 7 percent mark pretty regularly. Now you can say that the move from one network to another is a factor, and no doubt it is - but a 28% drop in the ratings? That doesn't seem likely.
And here is something else to ponder. What might the ratings be like if Austin hadn't returned just when he did? There seems to be two schools of thought about Austin's drawing power. Some are saying that his popularity is down and that is why the ratings are down - because all of the current major storylines revolve, one way or another, around Austin. But what if the truth is that Austin is what is keeping the ratings higher than they would be otherwise? Have any of you been paying attention to the pops this guy has been getting?
Dave Scherer commented on this same phenomenon in one of his commentaries last week. He attributed it to complacency. I would tend to agree with that. One only has to look back at the WWF TV product in the mid-eighties, when, as now, Vince McMahon dominated the wrestling business.
Of course the current state of WWF TV is a far cry from what was happening then, there really isn't any comparison and I don't expect things to ever sink that low again (or at least I hope and pray that is the case). But then, on the other hand, the average wrestling fan in the '80s is not really like much like his/her modern counterpart. In those days, wrestling fans were a breed apart and tended to voraciously consume whatever they could find on the airwaves. Today's average fan doesn't really care about wrestling. He/she watches the show for the spectacle - in fact he may watch it just for the T&A...
McMahon's current domination isn't anywhere near the level it was in those days in any case.
But something is happening.
It was noted last week that WWFE stock is hardly moving lately and that some of the original big investors, like CBS and NBC, are now looking to unload the stock they bought during the initial offering. Meanwhile, McMahon seems to be drawing away from his core product, creating new football leagues and the like.
With WCW seemingly on the ropes, ECW off National TV, and no other viable competition on the horizon, the situation is ripe for McMahon to start resting on his laurels. If that is what is happening, it would not surprise me to watch the quality of the TV product to continue to slide.
At least that's the way I see it...
Editor, Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
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