Okay, whether it's terrorism or the continued employment of Bob Holly, I always try to look for the silver lining when it comes to WWE's awe-inspiring levels of stupidity/insensitivity. I usually take the tack of people being oversensitive or looking to get offended. However, every once in a while they come along with something so inexcusable I just can't, in any form or fashion, figure a way to spin it that could possibly justify what they've done. Last night was the greatest example of that I have encountered in lifetime association with "the biz".
On Smackdown, I witnessed such a segment. For some reason, Heidenreich's new friend this week turned out to be Road Warrior Animal. Now, he looked okay, I'll admit. He had some juice on his moves and Nitro and Mercury sold quite well for him. Physically he looked awful, but he moved pretty good for an older guy. So an old man who doesn't look like he has exercised since Summerslam '91 runs off their current champs with ease. Fine, whatever. Then Animal picks up the mic and says that he heard there's a new tag-team in WWE who are claiming to be the greatest tag-team of all time. I thought, jeez, this is odd. MNM has never claimed this, but fine. Mockingly, they then say that they will prove it by facing the Road Warriors. But wait, says the other one, we can't do that, because your partner is DEAD. And they proceed to laugh.
Personally, and this may seem a tad hyperbolic, but I feel on a personal level that this is as low, or close to as low, as Vince McMahon has ever sunk. When HBO asked him if he feels any responsibility for those who have died living the life the business requires, Vince angrily responded he didn't. I believed him, and agreed with him. I knew he didn't feel any responsibility because Vince McMahon wouldn't take any responsibility for anything under any circumstances. Owen Hart died on his show and he still didn't take responsibility, he just said it was a sad situation and yelled at some more people who dared to ask the obvious questions. But I agreed with him for the simple reason that I believe people need to decide how to live their own lives. No one told Hawk to pump monkey hormones into his veins and wake up every morning wanting to kill somebody, or to do coke or booze or pain pills or whatever else he did that brought him down in the end. I don't blame Vince for that. Even Owen's death, while certainly something Vince should have taken full responsibility for, because it happened in his company and he should have had someone ensure the equipment was of the highest quality, wasn't something I would say was his fault specifically. But how much can he and his company wash their collective hands of? At what point do they begin to feel they have some slight measure of answering to do for what they put on their show?
Even if Hawk's death wasn't anyone's fault but Hawk's, and I contend that to be the case, using his death itself, regardless of the cause or circumstances, as a means of cheap heat or selling a pay-per-view or a DVD set displays a never-before-seen level of immorality in the wrestling business. There's no other word for it in my estimation. It was just plain wrong. Everyone in the company should be ashamed that they took part in it, especially Animal. Money can't be worth that. I hate to agree with the Ultimate Warrior, but Animal not only crawled back to Vince on his hands and knees, he stood by and allowed his dead friend's grave to be pissed on.
Look, I don't start many threads. I don't want anyone to get the idea that I'm being dramatic for the sake of being dramatic. I bring this topic here because this is where I have managed to find the wrestling fans, the rare fans, who truly love the business as much as I do. So I'm just being totally real here, and I hope that you can get that from my words. I've got no other motivation than to vent, and say, hey, this is about as offended as I've ever been by just about anything. I've never seen an LOD match I've liked, but will they be using Rude's name like this next? Hennig's? Davey Boy's?
I won't promise never to watch wrestling again. But for the first time I honestly see myself being ashamed of it. I'm done defending it and I'm done trying to change the way people see it. Because now, finally, I'm prepared to admit that they're officially right. It's garbage.
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I, myself, wasn't offended by that comment. MNM made that comment because they're heels, and far from standing there and allowing his best friend's grave to be pissed on, Animal was about to go after MNM until Heidenreich stopped him.
It was a comment made by two wrestlers who portray bad guys, in the name of building heat for the match and getting people interested in Road Warrior Animal getting sweet, sweet revenge on them at the Great American Bash. Was it a rude comment? Sure. Tasteless, yeah. But it was in-character for MNM. I don't think it has anything to do with Vince being insensitive at all-- though I won't deny that the WWF's drug culture during the '80s and '90s arguably contributed to the death of so many wrestlers who made their name during that time.
But I can understand why others may be offended by it.
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I just think you're reading too much into it. What MNM did there was something that I can see a lot of arrogant, self-absorbed cocky teenagers with no regard for anyone but themselves would do. You see it a lot on the less civilised messageboards on the internet, where people protected by anonymity will say horrible things in serious situations. They said it to further their characters as being asses who don't care about anyone but themselves. Did it work? I'd say it did. You're just reading too much into it, I think.
It's not Vince taking a potshot at Hawk or other dead superstars. It's not Animal allowing his tag partner's memory to be disrespected. It's MNM taking a cheap shot to get heel heat, and saying something that should make everyone watching want to see Animal beat them down. And that's what a heel is supposed to do.
I understand what you guys are saying, and I probably am reading too much into it, but my problem is that it's not like they're talking about Al Wilson. This person is actually dead. It's not even Big Show dad, who did die of cancer and then they brought it up in a storyline. This was an active member of their roster. I'm just not comfortable with this being a heat-garnering device. And it does set some kind of precedent, if I'm not mistaken. If Hawk is not off-limits, who is?
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I agree that mocking Hawk's death was uncalled for (although, a bit hypocritical coming from me considering what I did to the poor guy last year.)
But, honestly, did doing that benefit anyone involved? Will it help MNM get over as heels? Will it make Heidenreich a more credible partner? Will it make anyone want to watch the GAB match more? I doubt it.
So while I don't think it was overly offensive, I don't see what benefit it could have possibly had. And I agree that Vinnie Mac is treading is on very thin ice mocking a death like that in an era when so many wrestlers have been dying early (not his fault, but its still a fact).
Who cares what character said it, or why that character said it in a storyline sense, the fact is that MNM could have "chosen" to make fun of Animal's age, his pot belly, his hair, his outfit, damn near anything, but they "chose" to enrage him by talking about his dead partner. It was a deliberate choice by creative to enrage not just Animal, but also us, the wrestling fans. That's not cheap heat, that's a cheap shot.
I mean, when Muhammad Hassan brings out an Islam death squad, how many people say "oh, it's ok, it's just in his character" (I admit I still haven't watched that segment from last week. I slack on Smackdown sometimes. It's still on TiVo). How about when HHH screws a mannequin representing a dead girl?
I'm not as offended as you are HMD, but I agree that it was quite unnecessary and I don't like them going in that direction.
I **personally** wouldn't be comfortable exploiting my best friend's untimely death for a wrestling angle... but if Animal is, that's his call to make. (I assume he approved that line ahead of time.)
However... HMD mentioned that he doesn't hold Vince accountable for these wrestlers who routinely fail to live to be 45. I do. I don't blame Vince entirely, but he's part of the problem. So many of these wrestlers get hooked on pain killers (or take other drugs) because of the pressure to perform no matter what -- and thus fail to give their bodies adequate time to heal. I don't think I'm being unfair when I deduce that there's at least a **partial** link to this problem -- and the WWE performers being unable to unionize, get company coverage, benefits, time off, etc.
Vince clearly views his wrestlers as being expendable... and if you work long enough in that kind of environment, I suspect that you'll begin to think of yourself as being expendable, too. All together, it does create a climate that's uniquely prone to early death... and the proof, unfortunately, is in the pudding.
Now that Vince has a near-monopoly on major North American wrestling, I hope he budges from his see-no-evil, hear-no-evil stance... it sucks to flip through a PWI from '89 or '91, and HALF the folks in the top-tens are dead already.
I can see such a comment being offensive is they impugned Hawk, but I'm not seeing that. They didn't say "Hawk is dead because he was dumb and addicted and he punted babies and never used turn signals."
They said they can't fight the Road Warriors because one of them is dead. Which is true, even if they paint up Heidenreich and give him some shoulder pads and call him Hawkenreich.
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I was not overly offended by this bit. Poor taste, yes. Worst angle ever - hardly.
Hawk has been gone for a while. As long as Animal was comfortable with it, if it adds ANY interest to the comatose tag scene it has to be a positive. I was more disappointed in that Animal and Heidenreich obviously have NO shot at victory here, so the prospects of an entertaining match are that much more limited.
Perhaps this will help give some credibility to MNM, but to steal a line from the Undertaker "I'm not feelin it"
I'd have more of a problem if they mocked one of the more senior roster members like Slaughter, Hogan, or Taker and ran down a list of all the opponents they ever faced who are now dead.
Animal and Hawk knew each other better than we do, and if Animal thought Hawk would've had a problem being disrespected this way, he could've avoided the program altogether. For all we know, Hawk might've been thrilled to see Animal get another PPV payday.
And face it, the LOD weren't exactly choirboys themselves their entire careers.
Originally posted by Matt TrackerWhich is true, even if they paint up Heidenreich and give him some shoulder pads and call him Hawkenreich.
Dude, don't give them any ideas. Poor Mike Hegrstand's memory has already been through enough in this angle. Can you imagine theme music that starts "HAWK - EN - REICH, HAWK - EN - REICH...."?
Huh? I just assumed that's where they were going. In fact, if Heidenrich DOESN'T show up in hawk makeup I'll be sorta dissapointed.
I do have to say that the old timers who can still perform are a joy to see in the ring (on a limited basis!), they remind me of my youth. Watching Animal clean house last night, I'm reminded "oh yeah, that's the way it used to be. It was pretty good, why don't they do it that way anymore?"
I got the same feeling a couple months ago when we had a Flair vs Lawler match on RAW for no apparent reason. It was the highlight of the show even though both are way past their prime. The rockers reunion was pretty cool as well.
I'm not saying I'm gonna buy the GAB, but I think that if Animal can teach Heidenrich a few old school Tag Team tricks in a week, then that match might be some quality entertainment.
Forget being offended, I'm just worried that after a comment like that they're likely to give Animal and Heidenreich the titles as a feel good shill for the Road Warriors DVD. Usually I wouldn't care but MNM are the only real tag team to come around in years and they should be protected as much as is humanly possible until they find another real team to challenge them.
Hell, Russo replaced Hawk with Puke - and HE damn sure wore the spikes and facepaint. I can't remember if anyone was offended back then...I seem to recall they were more offended by the "falling off the Titantron" bit, actually.
nothing in wrestling has ever offended me..ever. I mean, its wrestling damnit. Its supposed to be over the top, violent, offensive, etc. I havent seen Smackdown (show isnt on til saturday in phily due to a baseball game last night), but I will prolly laugh when he says that.
If there is anything to be offended about, its that WWE fires/breaks up all the good tag teams they had left, and gives us ANIMAL/Heidenrich? That pissses me off more than any terrorism angle or "dead" remark. Besides, WWE has always kinda crapped on the Road Warriors. I mean, the made Hawk a drunk who committed "suicide" by jumping off the titan tron once. Not to mention they had the NAO shave off Hawk's hair once as well. So, this doesnt surprise me. I am sure Animal is just happy to get a paycheck out of this.
Going by the comments made by Ross and Animal on the Road Warrior DVD about Hawk's lifestyle, they almost make it sound as if there would be no world hunger if Hawk had lived a better life. Thus, cheap shots on Hawk would seem to be fair game. Having a heel tag team take a shot that Hawk is dead is nowhere near as bad as drugged/drunk Hawk was. As for Vince being responsible for wrestlers not living to 45: Look at the roster for World Class from '83-'86, which coincided with their peak period. Of guys pushed as top of the card performers, at least 50% are dead by some form of unnatural cause (drugs: Gino Hernandez/every Von Erich not named Kevin, murder: Chris Adams/Bruiser Brody, residue of drug use: Gordy/Rude). Who ever thought Michael Hayes would outlive so many guys? Is Vince a Saint? No, far from it. However, when this sort of death rate occurs for guys in other wrestling companies, he can't be held as a reason for the death rate in wrestling.
I wasn't offended (a bit taken aback by the comment)....maybe WWE has me so desensitized to stuff like that, that it doesn't bother me anymore. Like Kane Is Ugly, I've never been really offended by anything WWE has done. Not because I'm cold or anything, but I guess I just have a higher tolerance for that kind of stuff. I would totally understand if someone was offended, though.
(edited by geemoney on 15.7.05 1744) College, Sports and More!: Experience It
Originally posted by redsoxnationAs for Vince being responsible for wrestlers not living to 45: Look at the roster for World Class from '83-'86, which coincided with their peak period. Of guys pushed as top of the card performers, at least 50% are dead by some form of unnatural cause (drugs: Gino Hernandez/every Von Erich not named Kevin, murder: Chris Adams/Bruiser Brody, residue of drug use: Gordy/Rude). Who ever thought Michael Hayes would outlive so many guys? Is Vince a Saint? No, far from it. However, when this sort of death rate occurs for guys in other wrestling companies, he can't be held as a reason for the death rate in wrestling.
(edited by redsoxnation on 15.7.05 1547)
(edited by redsoxnation on 15.7.05 1548)
I disagree -- the deaths of other wrestlers in other organizations doesn't exonerate McMahon at all; if anything, it renders him MORE culpable, as he's STILL emulating & perpetuating the very same business practices -- i.e. no time off; no unions; no benefits; no vacations; treating everyone as if they're expendable; etc. -- that carry a clear link to these young athletes dying prematurely.
The industry norm in wrestling is a key catalyst to these wrestlers dying so young... and therefore, those who enable & perpetuate this industry norm are at least partially culpable for graveyards being filled with dead wrestlers.
Vince gave Warrior what he wanted to get him to work Summerslam the following month. As soon as the PPV was over Vince suspended Warrior for threatening to no-show. He had no intentions of honouring the agreement long-term.