It’s pretty much no secret that I am a pretty big sports fan and well I would imagine that most wrestling fans are. Baseball, Football, Boxing, Basketball and other sports have many of the same elements that we have in professional wrestling and well the big difference there is that those sports are legit and wrestling predetermined. I’ve seen many things in other sports, many things in wrestling that have touched a nerve morally for fans of that sport and I was wondering just what exactly the moral compass of a wrestling fan is? You’re reading “Wrestling Rumblings.”
I live in NYC and sadly am an avid New York Mets fan. As any baseball fan knows the past few years haven’t been too kind to the Mets but this year has seen some players get into legal scrapes. We had NY Mets Ace Pitcher Johan Santana have a rape accusation that is still pending civil litigation. I can’t say if Santana actually raped the woman but he did admit sleeping with her and it should be noted that Santana is a married father of 3 so at the very least he admitted adultery which while not criminal is a moral offense to most. Yet Santana spent most of the season being cheered by his home team fans while the Mets were still relevant for the simple reason that he was needed to win games.
Let’s stick with Baseball and my woeful Mets and their closer Francisco Rodriguez who is currently under criminal trial for beating up his girlfriend and mother of his children’s father on stadium premises. Let’s look at the timing of his situation, the Mets were already looking like they couldn’t contend for anything and instantly “K Rod” became a criminal in this town with the Mets looking to change the structure of his contract and possibly looking to move him in the off season.
Let’s move it into the NFL and then I promise I will link this into wrestling. Of course there is no bigger NFL story this season than Michael Vick. The same Michael Vick who was once the poster boy of the NFL until he was linked as being the financer of a dog fighting ring which involved him being sentenced to go to prison and resulted in his not being able to contribute to his then team the Atlanta Falcons and gave him instant heat throughout the NFL. Many fans and experts gave Vick no chance of resurrecting his career after the lengthy prison stint due to several factors and it is my opinion that as a result of this many fans just simply turned their backs on this man and focused on the fact that he was behind these criminal acts. He winds up returning to the NFL to the Philadelphia Eagles and many of those fans who were still convinced that he was washed up lambasted the move and focused on the criminal offenses and were morally against having him on their team. My, it’s amazing what a difference a year makes as Vick is the biggest comeback in the NFL thus far and those same fans who didn’t want him there have seemingly forgotten his past and are now adorned with Vick jerseys and accolades. Those fans will argue that Vick has paid his debt to society and deserves a second chance and they are right, however they also forget that when he showed up and seemed unable to be what he was they were amongst the first to bring up the past. Now that he is throwing and running for touchdowns he is a new man.
So you have seen the rules with the fans of major sports. You can rape, beat and even commit other acts for that matter have serious evidence against you that have committed illegal acts and you are still a star in the eyes of your home teams fans. Wrestling is not a team sport. There is no home team but some of the same rules that apply with regular sports fans apply with wrestling fans. That which being if someone is recognized as a star then his indiscretions shouldn’t interfere with his profession. Think I am wrong? What about Jeff Hardy and his latest situation? I don’t want to come across like I am saying Jeff Hardy is guilty of anything as that is for a court to decide but it should be stated that in most other sports someone with the accusations of Jeff Hardy and his past history would probably have been suspended. Jeff Hardy has been rewarded and given a main event push on the biggest show his company has to offer on their schedule. Mind you while the charge of “trafficking” is ridiculous to me it can’t be disputed that he did have large doses of prescription drugs in his possession and that there was traces of recreational drugs also. Yet Hardy is pushed and fans continue to clamor for him. If Jeff Hardy was Eric Young would his company feel differently about his continued employment? Would his fans? I think they would.
Again think I am wrong? Let’s talk about Taryn Terrell who is better known as WWE Diva Tiffany. Taryn was involved in a domestic dispute with her husband Drew McIntyre recently while on a WWE Tour and was arrested and charged with domestic abuse. Even though she was free on bail WWE pulled her off of all TV and house shows and even though those charges that were filed against her wound up being dismissed over 2 weeks ago she has yet to make her return to TV. Think about it Taryn wound up being arrested for domestic violence in a incident that involved her and her husband in a dispute that her husband says was blown out of proportion and was cleared and yet no fan is clamoring for her to return to the job that she unjustly was sent home from but Jeff Hardy a repeat drug offender gets a serious charge that could result in him spending the rest of his life behind bars and has several instances of serious evidence that should result in him getting sent home until things clear up and he gets the biggest push in the company and fans love him. I guarantee you that this is not a case of gender discrimination as I am sure some fans will write and tell me this is but this is someone who is over getting a break and someone who you can live without just not. If this was Trish Stratus she would be on TV right now and no one would be batting an eyelash.
Let’s keep going in 1983 Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka was a suspect in a homicide that to this day is still left open in the death of his then girlfriend Nancy Argentino. He was the only possible suspect based on accounts in the story and this case has still been left open which means that even though he was never charged the state prosecutors never felt this was an accident they just didn’t have the evidence to seek a conviction. It should also be stated that just months before this Snuka did plead guilty to a felony assault against this same woman in a plea deal that resulted in him getting a conditional discharge and he was never punished for any of this. On the contrary during this time he was considered by some to be the top babyface in the company and would be involved in several high profile memorable feuds during this time with Don Muraco, Roddy Piper and others. He even was involved in the first Wrestlemania main event seconding Hulk Hogan and Mr. T. which took place in 1985 the same year that he actually lost a civil suit against Argentino’s parents for wrongful death. Yet to this day he is celebrated even though he quite honestly could potentially be a murderer.
The most polarizing case of recent memory of course is the Benoit murders as to this day despite the enormous amount of evidence that suggests otherwise there is still a big fanbase out there that believes Chris Benoit to be innocent of these acts. I even had a conversation with someone about this not too long ago whose actual reason for stating this was “he was a good wrestler”. So I guess good workers are beyond murder and suicide and bad workers have nothing better to do with their time. Even those fans who have accepted that he has committed these acts have campaigned for his inclusion into the WWE Hall of Fame. I’ve never really agreed with his matches being cut out of shows that he partook in but often wonder if I would feel differently if this was someone who wasn’t a flashy name like Barry Horrowitz being cut out of my show. Even though I can honestly say ever since the Benoit tragedy I have never watched a single Chris Benoit match. It’s not so much that I have made a calculated effort to not watch his matches as I just haven’t had the impulse to watch his work as if seeing him would somehow remind me of what happened that June weekend in 2007. In the past 3 years though I have seen video tributes and have come across fans who understand exactly what was done and just don’t care because he was a great worker.
Where are the morals in not just wrestling fans but people in general that we bat a blind eye to some of the most heinous things a person can do because we find them entertaining or because they make something better? Mind you I have probably been guilty of it myself at times so I am not trying to sit on top of this fictional pedestal and look down on people but it just really amazes me how we as a society can be so forgiving of acts based on the value we perceive the person who committed it could possess to us or something we enjoy. Do you think that Nancy Benoit’s family goes “Well we lost our daughter and grandson but that damn Chris was a great wrestler and we really enjoy watching his matches let’s put him in the Hall of Fame”? How do you think Nancy Argentino’s family feels when they encounter wrestling fans that refer to Jimmy Snuka as a legend?
I guess that wraps up this edition, of course I have to give you guys something to do. TNA has Bound for Glory this weekend and there are several questions that I hope TNA will answer this weekend. The Impact show has been pretty decent the past few weeks and as I am writing this the live show has not aired so I am hoping that they have really gave fans a reason to buy this show and it does well, so check it out. I of course am going to try to do another “Outside Interference” blog up for those of you who are VIP subscribers so check that out as well and if you are not a VIP subscriber well sign up. Those who want to send feedback; I answer pretty much any email as long as it is sent in a respectful manner at firstname.lastname@example.org. That’s it for this week, next week I will try to do better and until then I am out.