by: Bob Magee

More this week on inappropriate fan behavior, occurring in more than one promotion...

I spoke last time about the last ECW Arena show, and the behavior of some “fans”. This behavior has been a continuing problem for the promotion in recent weeks...with an locker room-emptying incident at the ECW Arena when a fan in the crowd attacked Mikey Whipwreck... another incident in Downingtown, PA where a female fan grabbed Shane Douglas’s hair, Douglas spat in the fan’s face, followed by a fight between the fan and Francine. The following weekend there was a fan in Massachusetts who started a fight with Bill Alfonso.

Now again this weekend, there has been the well-documented incident in Plymouth Meeting, with a fan wearing a “Fite Me” t-shirt and others involved in a fight with John Richter (aka Balls Mahoney). Other ECW workers came out to defend their co-worker, turning the situation into a full-scale riot, with (according to Internet and local Philadelphia-area press accounts) as many as 30 police officers becoming involved.

The promotion has been concerned enough about fan behavior in what had been its flagship venue that security does “patdowns” on fans entering the building. Why? In the past, weapons had been confiscated from “fans”...I don’t mean the old ECW favorite, frying pans...but rather knives and guns. Paul Heyman and the workers of ECW ought to thank God that such weapons weren’t involved in this mini-riot.

As I’ve said previously, ECW should be more concerned about the open consumption of alcohol outside their venues before their shows. I’ll say it again: this behavior is a clear violation of the law of any city that it runs shows in. Without question, it certainly contributes to this worsening problem of fan violence at its shows. The continued ignorance of this problem is a discredit to the workers who take the physical risks that are a hallmark of the promotion’s style.

Dave Scherer, editor of the Wrestling Lariat, offered an opinion on this in his 10/27/97 issue. He said that he and Lariat writer Ron Lemieux noticed that there was 10-20% of the fan base that couldn’t care less about pro wrestling; but who come to yell at workers in the most profane language possible, and to only get out their aggressions. It’s clear that Scherer and Lemieux are correct, if perhaps conservative, in their estimates.

The net result of these recurring incidents leads one to the conclusion that there may be a very real physical risk attached to attending an ECW house show, unless some significant changes are made in the security precautions taken at these shows. I’d like readers of this site to share their experiences with me regarding this kind of behavior. This is a discussion that needs to continue, and another serious problem that needs to be confronted.

Until next time....

Bob Magee is a columnist for Pro Wrestling's Between The Sheets - for comments or opposing viewpoints please e-mail to magee@uscom.com

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