AS I SEE IT 7/31: Birth announcements live on Monday Night RAW...
AS I SEE IT
First off, and most importantly, congratulations to Stephanie McMahon-Levesque and Paul Levesque on the birth of their first daughter, Aurora Rose, weighing 8 pounds 7 ounces, on Monday, July 24.
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets
Congratulations to the Levesques from everyone at PWBTS.com, and from all the sites that run AS I SEE IT.
As if inevitable with a family that has wrestling so wrapped around everything in their lives, McMahon went into labor sometime during the afternoon...the afternoon before RAW. This sent Vince, Shane and HHH flying back to Connecticut Monday afternoon. It's a little unclear where Stephanie was before she went into labor...some stories first had her in Cleveland, OH, which seems hard to believe. More likely one would assume that she was home and preparing for labor.
Needless to say this required a major re-write of RAW, since Vince McMahon, Shane McMahon, and HHH were unavailable for the show.
RAW began with Shawn Michaels coming out, and acknowledging what anyone online knew (although most who were in the building probably didn't)...that all concerned were not in the building and were back in Connecticut because "life had imitated art"... referring to the angle where, only weeks before, DX made a storyline false call to the building claiming Stephanie was in labor. Michaels even admitted who the father was in a semi-kayfabed way during, as Michaels and HHH pretty much have during some other recent DX promos.
Then, we got a press release announcing the happy birth:
"STAMFORD, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--July 25, 2006--Weighing in at 8 lbs. and 7 oz., baby Aurora Rose Levesque was welcomed into the ring on Monday evening July 24, 2006 in Greenwich, Ct. by proud parents WWE Superstars Triple H® and Stephanie McMahon.
On screen, this couple, a force to be reckoned with, called it quits with a bitter divorce after two years of marriage. Off screen, they couldn't be happier and more excited to be the new parents to the future heir to the throne."
I think we'd better not ever hear again that HHH is worried about WWE.com keeping kayfabe about his marriage...unless he wants to look like a total asshole.
Now...for Sabu and RVD's not-so-excellent adventures earlier this month in Ironton, OH ...
Court documents and a State Police video from their July 2 arrests have now become public.
The video features some classic lines, such as:
Trooper: "Do you have any marijuana?"
Trooper: "Then why does your car smell like dope?"
Trooper: "Do you always drive without your shirt on?
RVD: "No, it was REALLY hot!"
Trooper: "You on TV or something?"
RVD: "Yeah, I'm world champion."
The court documents are available at this link.
The police video is available via YouTube.com at this link. The version available directly on TMZ.com may require use of the Active X plug-in, which many readers may have blocked on their computers, so you may wish to use the You Tube version instead.
Now, to your thoughts...
From US Marine Sgt. Denis A. Waibel:
"...Vince pays these guys big bucks to entertain the fans. Now as a fan I was kind of disappointed that RVD and Sabu got arrested for drugs, but it didn't surprise me at all. Whatever they do outside the ring is not my business. Now if you have a multi-billion dollar company like WWE that entertains the fans and makes plenty of money then you have to keep a drug testing policy that actually works and is enforced like the NFL. "
Agreed...that's precisely my point.
From Melisa Vitti...who takes issue with those last week who seemed to suggest that Van Dam and Sabu should get a free pass:
".....I have to totally disagree with this person. RVD broke the [same] rules that WWE has for these wrestlers. Why shouldn’t he get the same treatment that everyone else got when they used drugs when this policy started? Why should RVD get special treatment? Is it because he is involved with ECW? So is this person saying that any wrestler that is caught with drugs or using drugs shouldn’t be suspended?...
....These rules are not just protecting other lives but they are protecting the lives of the wrestlers that are using the drugs. Drugs aren’t some game, it’s serious stuff. You can not compare drug use to the dress code. Drugs can kill you and others, dress codes can’t...For this poster to say that it is alright for RVD to do drugs and break the law is disgusting. Why would any fan applaud this type of behavior is beyond me. I am glad that WWE took action and dealt with this matter...."
Part of the issue is what's been perceived as a long-term hypocritical attitude regarding growth-enhancing substances, whereas other drug use (when caught, when arrested, or when problematic behavior cannot be ignored) is treated with an entirely different attitude. I think marijuana ought to be legal...but as of this moment it isn't. McMahon's allowed his wrestlers some degree of discretion given the practical reality that marijuana can be a safer alternative to somas, painkillers, and other muscle relaxers. But he can't ignore a public arrest of one of his biggest names...namely, the guy holding the belt of two of his brands.
I will say that it seems awfully coincidental that the "elevated liver enzymes" medical suspensions (or whatever they're technically called in lieu of suspensions) are happening right after criticism about other drug issues not being acknowledged.
From Ashley Istria of Australia:
"First off, I must say that I really enjoyed your most recent column. Unfortunately, there are many people who claim to be ECW fans and talk about their 'glory days'; but to be truthful only saw the highlight videos and ECW One Night Stand. My family and I were a part of the fanbase in Australia that actually got DVDs sent out to us whenever we had the money to purchase them. It honestly frustrates me to see fan's comment on what was ECW and what wasn't.
Being an avid fan yourself and also live in attendance (oh the jealousy) it must frustrate you as much as me to see people comment on ECW. Also I'm gobsmacked by the majority of 'smarks' unintelligent comments.
The most recent ECW angle involving Heyman and Dreamer and the kiss surprisingly garnered many stupid comments like, "Vince is doing a gay angle" etc. etc. I was just wondering your feelings on the actual angle itself. To me this wreaks of Paul Heyman's influence. Not that Vince can't book a good angle because he can but what took place in that ring really to me represented a storyline that I can be proud of and analyze. The depth that the 'kiss' represents is remarkable especially with Test coming out and proceeding to lay into Dreamer. My stance on the whole 'Kiss of Death' is that so many bible parallels can be created but as long as they aren't mentioned directly can make for compelling television."
People are more than entitled to comment on ECW, or the man in the moon. But when what they're saying about a specific instance bares no resemblance to what an ECW Arena full of people saw, then they need to quiet down.
The homophobia behind those comments that seems concerned that Heyman was taking things anywhere beyond a cross between Michael Corleone and the Sci-Fi fashioned cult leader (complete with the Bashams as "security detail") is so hilarious that it's not even worth discussing.
From Nathan Wyatt :
"Ok, All I need to say RVD getting punished... he deserved it. Everyone needs to quit writing in bitching about RVD shouldn't have gotten in trouble. Who cares? Pot should be illegal... oh wait IT IS!
And everyone's using steroids in the WWE.... no crap... WWE needs to actually test for 'roids, but they won't, because its what makes their talent as big and strong as they are as they can't do it naturally or even with safer products in that short of time. It's Ok, though, it'll come back to haunt on Vince when his wrestlers start dropping out with problems...now with Lashley...all the way to Eddie Guerrero (RIP).
These idiots don't understand that it's not just a "rasslin" fed, it's a BUSINESS. Imagine that. Vince wants to keep a good public image and make money."
Again...exactly. WWE is a publicly held company, and McMahon is subject to the public scrutiny of television networks, advertisers, and the media...not to mention, his fanbase.
From Malaen Boer:
"Just to clarify, I don't think Rob Van Dam actually was smoking marijuana in the car, because he wasn't cited for that. So, I think he really was waiting till he got to the hotel, though I may be mistaken...."
The arresting officers claimed to have smelled marijuana. Check out the State Police video linked above and the excerpt above.
"...About the Angle crucifixion angle, I'm not exactly sure if that reader was attempting to say Angle was not offended, but simply that it didn't add up that he went to WWE, which I personally see as false."
Like I said before, paychecks will color your willingness to express your opinions sometimes.
"...Now, I noticed a lot of bashing the fans thoughts, which, quite honestly, I felt was justified given what they had to say overall. However, in your previous column, I noticed that a lot of the opinions expressed against RVD were somewhat unjustified.
Sabu was willing to take the hit for his friend, but that was backstage, but we don't know exactly what happened backstage... We simply cannot say how much or little RVD apologized, because he may not have felt it necessary to post an apology on his website (though he did apologize to Battle Creek)..."
Van Dam also made gestures toward the live crowd in Philadelphia on July 4 showing himself toking a joint that were out of place, given the situation that had happened only 48 hours before (that never made television). After that, there were the flip comments on his website about spending the time cleaning out his garage. Given that all Vince McMahon did was to suspend him (when policy said he could have been fired), I think Van Dam's attitude stunk, and I still do.
Look, he's not going to apologize for smoking marijuana, and no one's asking him to. All he had to do is to publicly apologize to the people in WWE that he let down with his public behavior...without further comment.
"There was also a comment in that column about how RVD and Sabu should have been fired, and while you didn't directly agree with that, you agreed with the entire comment as a whole (there was a lot more in it, which, I agree, was mostly true). While it is true that Vince should perhaps tone down his schedule and actually implement the Wellness Policy (obviously for the well-being of the wrestlers), I think firing them is out of the question, as you'd have to fire too many people for that."
I said that I thought the suspension was appropriate. Under the rules of the Wellness Policy, McMahon was within his rights to have fired them. If the talent rosters were not so thin right now, I'd be surprised if at least Sabu wasn't fired.
"Now, what really bugged me is the way people remember Eddie Guerrero's death in this context. If someone had just read this, they would think Eddie was addicted, when he had been sober for four years. While drugs may have (and likely did) play a part in his death, even the autopsy said that is was more due to natural causes, and probably the schedule. I know that they did take a toll on him, but please (to everyone) don't be vague when referring to that...."
Eddie's death was due, directly or indirectly, to his use of steroids; and indirectly to his long use of painkilling drugs and alcohol. He got himself clean, at the very least, of the recreational drugs. But the effects of such drug use upon a body can go on for years after someone gets clean. Sadly, it appears that they had that effect on Guerrero.
To ignore that fact, is to be in denial. If Guerrero's death makes Vince McMahon actually enforce his Wellness Policy, as it appears he might have with a number on the Smackdown roster...then maybe Guerrero's death wasn't in vain. But I'll feel better when I see the size of certain wrestlers getting smaller.
Until next time...
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