by: Bob Magee

If the fact that the WWF pulled the doublecross of the decade on Bret Hart at Survivor Series wasn’t bad enough... if the fiasco of “Why, Bret, Why”? on Monday Night RAW on November 17th wasn’t enough.... if the fact that the WWF spent more time trashing the career of Bret Hart in the last three weeks than getting over their December 6th Disintegration...er... Degeneration X PPV over wasn’t bad enough; here’s another one for you:

Georgianne Makropoulos is the editor of The Wrestling Chatterbox, as many readers know. She has been around the wrestling industry for over 35 years as a fan and writer/editor of this fan-based newsletter. She has been a loyal supporter of the World Wrestling Federation and Vince McMahon Sr.’s WWWF before it. Yet the very promotion that she supported for those 35 years stabbed her in the back when she defended a friend.

After the Bret Hart fiasco, Georgianne sent a private letter to Vince McMahon, and explained how, as a longtime supporter of Titan Sports, she felt betrayed when McMahon did what he did to her friend Bret. Note my words: A PRIVATE LETTER. All of a sudden, that private letter found its way into the hands of Vince Russo. The same Vince Russo whose career in the business began by helping himself to the mailing list of his then-partner John Arezzi, and walking into the office of Titan Sports. Russo was a glorified go-fer for some time, then began to work his way up the ladder by copious amounts of kissing...feet. Then recently Russo became the editor of the WWF in-house magazine, which included on-air bits on the WWF Livewire program.

Vince Russo thought it appropriate to criticize Georgianne publicly online in the WWF AOL site, calling her “an uneducated mark”. But that wasn’t all. Russo also went on the November 14th edition of the Kevin Kelly’s WWF online show “Byte This” and did it again, in words described by one website as unfit for print. All for a personal opinion in a private letter. I feel a particular sense of anger about this situation, because I know Georgie. She’s a decent woman who is a friend to many in and around the business and has supported it with her fan newsletter and her dollars, for decades.

But I also feel anger because I also know the feeling of being the recipient of such public abuse from a wrestling promotion. So does my younger brother. So do some dear friends of mine. Not from an employee of Titan Sports directly, but from ECW employees.

Beginning in the autumn of 1996, we were forced to put up with abuse from a certain group of “office staff” in ECW. The abuse included our being singled out on a ECW Arena house mike in a profanity-filled tirade by D-Von Dudley, along with numerous phone calls at home and at work. Kathy herself was singled out in a skit on ECW TV with her easily-identifiable nickname painted on a wall while "Taps" was played; as well as suffering character assassination on a Rob Feinstein shoot video with New Jack.

All this abuse occurred because we dared to defend our friend, Kathy Fitzpatrick, a long-time ECW employee who was forced out of her job in August 1996 by a clique of individuals through "unfounded allegations" (Dave Scherer/Wrestling Lariat) that Paul Heyman finally admitted that he had no proof of; an admission made in a personal locker room discussion in Plymouth Meeting, PA.

While we could have done without the abuse, I have never felt prouder than when my friends and I defended my friend Kathy. I would do it again in a minute if necessary. Georgianne Makropoulos should feel the same sense of pride. It should be made clear that many of us are proud of her. It takes guts to stand up for someone or something when it would be more “politically correct” to keep quiet. It’s much easier to just go along, and not have to deal with the desertion of those who you believed to be your friends. But sometimes you have to do what you believe to be right.

On the other hand, it takes a distinct lack of guts to trash someone’s reputation. Especially when you know better. It certainly takes NO guts, Vince Russo, to trash someone who was around this business when you were likely still in diapers. It takes no guts to make something that was a private communication that public. And it certainly takes no guts to be a corporate whore for Vince McMahon, or anyone else.

Another question comes to mind...WHO in the Titan office gave Vince Russo that letter? Vince McMahon? Or someone authorized by McMahon to do so? Can Vince McMahon be THAT paranoid that he has to stamp out any dissenting opinion? Sounds crazy, right? It would, except for McMahon’s continued obsession with Bret Hart, and anyone associated with Hart in the remotest way.

To conclude, I’m reminded of something said by Oscar Guiterrez, better known to most readers as Rey Misterio, Jr. We renewed acquaintances at the hotel bar after the November Monday Nitro in Philadelphia. I thanked him and many of the WCW workers for being a good friend to our mutual friend Kathy after the situation I outlined earlier. I told him that their friendship meant more to her than he knew. His response: “Business is business. But friendship is friendship”. Why is it that a young man, one of the greatest names in this business, can understand a simple truth that Vince McMahon evidently could not? A truth that Vince McMahon violated in the worst way possible.

Vince, it’s time to start running Titan Sports like a business again; instead of using it as a vehicle to vent your personal frustrations and raging paranoias. Oh, and Vince.... you damn sure owe Georgianne Makropoulos at least as public an apology as the humiliation you visited upon her. Let’s see if you remember how.

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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