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The W - Pro Wrestling - Lou Thesz and Wahoo McDaniel passings ignored: what does this mean?
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Sean
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Since: 26.3.02
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#1 Posted on
I'm not one to harp on death, especially on internet message boards. When Rick Rude, Junkyard Dog, Brian Pillman, Owen Hart, Bobby Duncum Jr., Louie Spiccoli, and Gary Albright died, I didn't rush to my favorite message board and post about how these wrestlers impacted me on such a deep and oh so personal level.

Yet it was with a heavy heart that I watched RAW on Monday evening, after I realized that they had no intention of mentioning the passing of two of the greatest stars in the history of professional wrestling. Some may argue that Lou Thesz was the biggest star in the history of the business, but that point is debatable.

The fact that neither worked for neither Vince Sr. nor his son is irrelevant - once Vince purchased WCW and claimed the lineage of the NWA World Championship, he purchased the duty to preserve the history of the professional wrestling industry, an industry that was around long before Vince McMahon.

It's rather sad that in an article on WWF.com at the time of the purchase of WCW, the name Lou Thesz was tossed around in order to legitimize the rich history of the WCW brand - but the day after the man passes away, his name is forbidden from being spoken on the air save for a move named after him and performed by Steve Austin.

Shame on Steve Austin for not mentioning Lou Thesz on the microphone. Shame on Hulk Hogan for not acknowledging the passing of a fellow world champion. Shame on the Undertaker, an alleged locker room leader with experience and respect in the industry, for not standing up and doing the right thing. Shame on Ric Flair, the ultimate sellout piece of garbage, who has repeatedly used the names of former world champions to get himself over in the face of waning heat, for not making a brief mention of Thesz over the house microphone. Shame on Stephanie McMahon for not taking a stand against her nutty father and booking a 10-second microphone spot for Jim Ross. Shame on Jim Ross, especially, for not acknowledging the history of the business that created him, the history that he was so proud of during his days as a WCW commentator. Jim Ross, whose trademark line was "Here in the NWA, we WRESTLE!" has whored himself out to the point where he is afraid to mention the name of one of the longest NWA titleholders of all time.

I don't feel that I need to direct any shame towards Vince McMahon, because the man does not ever feel shame. I don't mean to turn this into a rant against Vince McMahon, because there just isn't a point to it anymore - Vince is going to do what Vince wants, everyone else be damned. What really bothered me, however, was that none of these supposed veterans of the wrestling industry did nothing to stand up to Vince and do the right thing. Rather than tip their cap to a man who paved the way for their existence in this business, they chose to dignify the petty and outright bizarre grudges of a man whose sanity is clearly escaping him.

I have great love for the sport of professional wrestling - all aspects of it, from its origins at the turn of the century to the different syles found around the world, to the current WWF product. For alleged leaders of this business to bow to the vindictive wishes of Vince McMahon and in doing so ignore the tremendous contributions of Lou Thesz and Wahoo McDaniel is a slap in the face to the fans of this industry.

(edited by Sean on 1.5.02 0448)
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Since: 7.1.02
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#2 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.00
It is a damn shame that they didn't say anything.

What really stuck in my mind from your post, Sean, was Ross old phrase "Here in the NWA, we wrestle". That kind of sums up the difference between now and Thesz' era, now we watch sports entertainment, true wrestling has been gone a long while. I've said this before, but using History and acknowledging the greats of the past would not only be classy at times like these, but would also offer an air of legitimacy to the WWF that they currently lack. The fact is the WWF is still just "the WWF" when they could be the true representation of the history of our sport, they could make that WORLD title belt be so much more by harping on about it's legacy back to guys like Lou Thesz. They are once again moving towards an isolationist viewpoint by the looks of things (would it have killed them to have Angle mention some of the WCW titles he won when listing his accomplishments on last weeks Smackdown?) where if it didn't happen in the WWF, then it didn't happen at all.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not disatisfied with the product, nor would I advocate the removal of all sports entertainment elements, but using/acknowledging the past and past greats would only be a good thing as far as I can see.



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#3 Posted on
I guess I'm just pragmatic. I don't think the purchase of the WCW meant a responsibility to carry on the lineage. The purchase was done in order to destroy WCW, to devour it.
That's why you're seeing them return to the "isolationist" viewpoint. The idea that WCW exists at all is really just a work, and I think eventually you will see the charade be put aside completely. I don't blame McMahon for this, it's really just good business. If there's anyone to blame or get mad it, it's the clowns who ran WCW into the ground--they violated the tradition a lot more than McMahon ever could.

My only disappointment is that Flair made no mention of either Thesz or McDaniel, because he is the only person there who has any kind of real history with them, having tied Thesz' record for NWA title reigns and feuded numerous times with McDaniel. I saw an old circa 1986 interview with Flair where he takes time out from his promo to praise Dory Funk Jr., who apparently had appeared on the program earlier. Too bad he couldn't have done something similar last night, but then again, he would have been interrupted by "What"s, and maybe he figured that would be more disrespectful than not mentioning them at all.

Actually, I think Thesz' brand of wrestling was pretty much gone by the Seventies, much less the Eighties and Nineties.
Apparently the television documentary about wrestling that aired Sunday night featured him saying that on a wrestling scale from 1-100, Hogan was a 1. I don't blame the WWF for not wanting to mention someone who probably despised everything they stood for. Actually, it brings me back to what I said about Flair--the WWF acting like they were carrying on Thesz' legacy by acknowledging him might have been more disrespctful than making no mention of him at all.
That legacy and tradition isn't really theirs to carry on, and I think it would be ridiculous to pretend they were doing so.

So yeah, I don't have a real problem with it. Now if Bruno Sammartino passes away and no mention is made, that'll be something to get upset about.




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Since: 7.1.02
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#4 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.00
You're right WTF13. I think my problem is that I'm a mark for the "sports" aspect of the product, and I'd love to see more aspects of the past drawn in to make it seem more (I'm searching for the right word here) "Longstanding", and I don't think that this just relates to when former wrestlers pass away. I mean, if you watch, say, the NFL or whatever, you feel you're buying into a long tradition and you had that with the old NWA (and to a lesser extent WCW up until a couple of years before the end). With the WWF, maybe as a result of all the hotshotting and crash TV, you just have the sense that right now is all that matters. Drawing in things that happened a couple of months ago would be a nice addition for the sake of continuity, but using historical factors would just draw me in more, as it would raise the importance of major events. Take the unification tournament, for example, all of the history used in the press releases made the event seem really important, I haven't had the same buzz since about a WWF title match, and I think you should have an amount of anticipation about the matches that decide the Championship of the World. But then, it isn't the World title, it's the WWF title, right? It should be the World title, I don't understand why the WWF wouldn't want to say "our top guy is the best in the whole world, not just the WWF".

As far as I can see this isolationist point of view is kept on to distance "sports entertainment" from "wrasslin", which I can understand when you want to distance yourself from something that still exists, but now the WWF is the only fish in the pond (and that's true for most of the world too) so why they still insist in keeping up this attitude is beyond me. It wouldn't damage anyone to acknowledge something that happened in a company that doesn't exist anymore. Unless Macmahon fears Jarrett and doesn't want the NWA name getting exposure .

I'm rambling well away from my point now, but I just think that they should use the resources the have at their disposal to acknowledge history. Take the nWo (please) if they had showed the WWF fans what the nWo had done in the past rather than expect the fans to just rely on WWF antics they may be in a different place right now.



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Lance Storm, 21st January 2002.
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Since: 22.1.02

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#5 Posted on
I enjoy the "sports" aspect too, and wish they would make titles meaningful again. I think a lot of it is McMahon wanting to stick the knife into the WCW corpse. But from a storyline perspective I can also understand why he wouldn't want to dwell on it too much. The truth is, you have to go back pretty far to find much of use in WCW, and it's probably farther than the memories of the target audience can extend, especially if you've already got a WWF legacy that you have to at least pretend to care about.



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Since: 26.1.02
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#6 Posted on
"But there is a saying that a lifetime in wrestling has shown me is true. You will always be disappointed at the end, if you hang on to even a thread of belief that when the chips are down, Vince McMahon will show any class."
--Dave Meltzer, 4/30/02




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Sean
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Since: 26.3.02
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#7 Posted on

    Originally posted by WTF13
    I guess I'm just pragmatic. I don't think the purchase of the WCW meant a responsibility to carry on the lineage. The purchase was done in order to destroy WCW, to devour it.
    That's why you're seeing them return to the "isolationist" viewpoint. The idea that WCW exists at all is really just a work, and I think eventually you will see the charade be put aside completely. I don't blame McMahon for this, it's really just good business. If there's anyone to blame or get mad it, it's the clowns who ran WCW into the ground--they violated the tradition a lot more than McMahon ever could.

    My only disappointment is that Flair made no mention of either Thesz or McDaniel, because he is the only person there who has any kind of real history with them, having tied Thesz' record for NWA title reigns and feuded numerous times with McDaniel. I saw an old circa 1986 interview with Flair where he takes time out from his promo to praise Dory Funk Jr., who apparently had appeared on the program earlier. Too bad he couldn't have done something similar last night, but then again, he would have been interrupted by "What"s, and maybe he figured that would be more disrespectful than not mentioning them at all.

    Actually, I think Thesz' brand of wrestling was pretty much gone by the Seventies, much less the Eighties and Nineties.
    Apparently the television documentary about wrestling that aired Sunday night featured him saying that on a wrestling scale from 1-100, Hogan was a 1. I don't blame the WWF for not wanting to mention someone who probably despised everything they stood for. Actually, it brings me back to what I said about Flair--the WWF acting like they were carrying on Thesz' legacy by acknowledging him might have been more disrespctful than making no mention of him at all.
    That legacy and tradition isn't really theirs to carry on, and I think it would be ridiculous to pretend they were doing so.

    So yeah, I don't have a real problem with it. Now if Bruno Sammartino passes away and no mention is made, that'll be something to get upset about.



I don't think you quite grasped what I was aiming for in my argument - Lou Thesz should not be remembered because of his contributions to NWA/WCW. I brought up the purchase of WCW to nullify the excuse that could be made regarding the fact that Lou Thesz never worked for the company.

Of course, had Vince McMahon never bought WCW, and if the company were still alive today, he still would be obligated to make a mention of the man's passing in some capacity.

The argument that people would have disrespected the mention of Lou's passing by chanting "What" is tedious. It should have been done anyway. Guys like Jim Ross and Ric Flair are veterans of this business. They should be able to control the crowd to some extent. Hell, Jim Ross could have made a brief mention on the air without the crowd even knowing that he did it.

Pro wrestling seems to be the only industry where past acts of greatness are completely ignored. It's pretty clear that Major League Baseball benefits from recognizing its former stars, because these old-time greats add an air of legitimacy to the current game. If we allow Vince McMahon to dictate how wrestling history is written, then the nonsensical legend about "smoke-filled arenas" will slowly creep into people's heads as fact.

It's pretty clear that Vince McMahon wants to kill wrestling history and re-write it as he wished it happened; guys like Jim Ross and Ric Flair, however, should have stood up for what is right instead of cowering before a psychotic egomaniac like Vince.



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Since: 1.3.02
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#8 Posted on
Anybody who thought they'd mention Thesz or Wahoo on Raw is incredibly naive. Except for occasional mentions or shots of Brisco or Patterson, the WWF doesn't acknowledge anything before 1984.





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Since: 26.3.02
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#9 Posted on

    Originally posted by Mild Mannered Madman
    Anybody who thought they'd mention Thesz or Wahoo on Raw is incredibly naive. Except for occasional mentions or shots of Brisco or Patterson, the WWF doesn't acknowledge anything before 1984.



So that desire video never happened, huh? What about the "WWF Attitude" videos that featured freddie blassie? Various appearances by Mad Dog Vachon? And if I really wanted to get technical, I could cite appearances by Sgt. Slaughter and Bob Backlund.

I guess you didn't think this through very well...



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Since: 19.1.02
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#10 Posted on
Why?

Why should they have even had a second thought about mentioning Thesz? He has no history with the company. Nor does McDaniel if I remember correctly. These people are just like any other people to the WWF, they have no reson to even think about mentioning them.

Yes, he was a great wrestler, a great champion, I'm sure he was a hell of a guy, but honestly, what does that all really mean for anybody but us, the internet wrestling fan, or fans of Thesz?

Saying that Vince should honor Thesz on RAW is like saying that they should do the same for a former CFL star in the NFL or a college player at a pro game. Or a CEO of one company at a rival. Nobody would expect that there, so why the hell would we expect it here?

Sure it would have been a nice gesture, but to go so far as to expect it and to get pissed when it doesn't happen is pretty unfair to Vince & Co.



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#11 Posted on
Actually, I may have my history wrong, but didn't a Thesz title win lead to the WWWF splitting from the NWA? I'm sure that wasn't the only reason (heck, it was most likely the kayfabe reason) but I remember hearding it somewhere.







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#12 Posted on
If you weren't in the WWF long enough to have a video package put together to a piano tune, you're not going to get honored. Simple as that. There isn't enough WWF footage of Thesz or McDaniel, if there's any at all. And most fans don't know who either one of them is anyway, especiallt Wahoo. For all they know, that move Austin does is a "Luthez" press.



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Sean
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#13 Posted on
Ugh, my point is being missed over and over again. The WWF used Lou Thesz in an article on WWF.com as well as WWF Magazine in order to legitimize the history of the WCW Title. If they are brazen enough to do so, would a simple mention of the man's passing be so out of line?

Nowhere in either of my posts did I suggest a "tribute" to Thesz - frankly, any tribute would have come across very tacky. But would it have hurt to show his picture and ring the bell 3 times before the show went on the air, or to have Jim Ross briefly mention his death?

By the way Enojado Viento, you are correct when you say this - the NWA recognized Thesz while the WWWF chose Buddy Rogers as its first champion.



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#14 Posted on

    Originally posted by Sean
    Nowhere in either of my posts did I suggest a "tribute" to Thesz - frankly, any tribute would have come across very tacky. But would it have hurt to show his picture and ring the bell 3 times before the show went on the air, or to have Jim Ross briefly mention his death?


No, it would not have hurt, but they were by no means responsible to. They could have, they chose not to. That's it.



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#15 Posted on

    Originally posted by Excalibur05

      Originally posted by Sean
      Nowhere in either of my posts did I suggest a "tribute" to Thesz - frankly, any tribute would have come across very tacky. But would it have hurt to show his picture and ring the bell 3 times before the show went on the air, or to have Jim Ross briefly mention his death?


    No, it would not have hurt, but they were by no means responsible to. They could have, they chose not to. That's it.



But that's the bloody point- it would have required minimal effort and shown a load of class. Nobody is demanding a two hour tribute special, but to utter a damned sentence about the guy is NOTHING to ask in light of EVERYTHING he gave to wrestling. Along with Karl Gotch and Stan Zybyszko, Lou Thesz was one of the people who paved the way for the "sport" as we know it. Vince is a sleaze for not even acknowledging the man, except for when it's convenient to put himself over as some kind of torchbearer of the "tradition of wrestling", when in reality he pisses on it with stupid shit like this.



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#16 Posted on
When you monopolize something, you can do whatever you want. Are you upset? Stop watching wrestling. I don't think they care.

(edited by Dormouse on 1.5.02 1722)
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#17 Posted on
All they needed to do was show a picture of Lou with (year born - 2002) underneath w/ accompanying silence before the opening video. 5 - 10 seconds was all it would take. Simple, classy, minimal effort.



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#18 Posted on
Yes, but that would be 5-10 seconds of the average fan not knowing who Thesz is. For it to be effective, fans would need to know Thesz. All they might recognize is Stone Cold's move.



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#19 Posted on | Instant Rating: 2.10

    Originally posted by Excalibur05
    Why?

    Why should they have even had a second thought about mentioning Thesz? He has no history with the company. Nor does McDaniel if I remember correctly. These people are just like any other people to the WWF, they have no reson to even think about mentioning them.

    Yes, he was a great wrestler, a great champion, I'm sure he was a hell of a guy, but honestly, what does that all really mean for anybody but us, the internet wrestling fan, or fans of Thesz?

    Saying that Vince should honor Thesz on RAW is like saying that they should do the same for a former CFL star in the NFL or a college player at a pro game. Or a CEO of one company at a rival. Nobody would expect that there, so why the hell would we expect it here?

    Sure it would have been a nice gesture, but to go so far as to expect it and to get pissed when it doesn't happen is pretty unfair to Vince & Co.




The WWF is wrestling now just as the NBA is basketball and the NFL is football. They became that way the same way Vince did. By swallowing up the competition. Yet they still allow those players in their Halls of Fame. You don't see them ignoring the death of players from the ABA or AFL.



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#20 Posted on
They could have done it even without a picture. At the end just fade out and put in memory to...like WCW did with Pillman.


    So that desire video never happened, huh? What about the "WWF Attitude" videos that featured freddie blassie? Various appearances by Mad Dog Vachon? And if I really wanted to get technical, I could cite appearances by Sgt. Slaughter and Bob Backlund.

    I guess you didn't think this through very well...


They might happen, but often they mean very little. How many people would have known who Jimmy Snuka or Don Murraco were if Mankind never talked about them? The *company* could care less about ANY history that doesn't involve current storylines.



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