AS I SEE IT 8/7: 30,000,000 hits, more RVD/Sabu thoughts
AS I SEE IT
Just a note for readers...
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets
After checking my monthly PWBTS.com statistics earlier last Tuesday morning, I realized that at some point during the last week of July, that my website PWBTS.com, the flagship website of AS I SEE IT hit 30,000,000 page views over its existence.
I want to thank you for your readership over the last nine years. That's not too bad for a labor of love by wrestling fans that started out as a newsletter back in 1996 which was read by at most, a couple hundred people... and then added a wrestling website in 1997 to promote the newsletter... finally going strictly online in late 1997.
According to our Add Free Stats IP logs, PWBTS has gotten readers from such unique locations as the US Pacific Fleet, the US Air Force, the US Coast Guard, a US military contractor in Japan; and other US Federal government agencies, major city governments, major universities, and a number of well-known worldwide corporations (no, I won't say which....I'd rather keep readers from getting nasty e-mails from their bosses).
Topping all the unique locations, however, was an IP logging that we've gotten on at least three occasions from whitehouse.gov. I'm not sure if I really want to know who is reading PWBTS from there... even if the current President Bush's parents WERE both known to be wrestling fans (and as is well known, legendary Houston promoter Paul Boesch was an early supporter of and contributor to George Bush, Sr. during his early Congressional campaigns).
As I said in a column written back in October 2001, the thought of people reading PWBTS with everything from their morning coffee, to their evening tapas or their beer and Buffalo wings watching a PPV... is pretty mind-blowing when I think about it for something that just started out as a labor of love that some of us thought might be read by a few hundred people at most.
It also reminds all of us that there are plenty of wrestling fans around; whether or not wrestling is the entertainment "flavor of the week", or is...as it usually is... the cult form of entertainment it's been over much of the last 40 years I've been a fan of it.
Whether in fashion or not, information like that above proves that wrestling fans are all over the place...including you and I. We're at places ranging from the Skydome...er, Rogers Centre... and the Egg Dome in Tokyo all the way to bars, flea markets, and bingo halls, and everywhere inbetween all over the world. Many of you have come to join us during a part of your day, night, or early morning. Whoever and wherever you are, hopefully PWBTS has given you some enjoyment during your busy days.
30,000,000 page views...here's hoping that there are at least 30,000,000 more.
To your letters...
From Johnny LaRue :
"Haven't been keeping up with your columns but the comments from readers fail to realize that the cop smelled weed in the car, so it seems RVD was driving under the influence. Why is DUW (driving under weed) more acceptable than a DUI? What if RVD had wrecked the car? What if he hurt another driver? What would the RVD supporters say then?
A 30 day suspension for RVD is fair provided it is without pay. Also he probably ruined the biggest push of his career which costs him big bucks as well. Personally I would have fired him since the company seems to be doing just fine without him. Make an example out of him to actually show that the new policy has teeth."
It isn't legally any different than DUI...if charged. In fairness, Van Dam was never charged with driving while impaired...but since there was apparently no testing done, Van Dam certainly couldn't be charged legally. They can't fire him under the present circumstances, given that they're probably afraid that TNA would sign him the minute they legally could do so.
"But reasons like the above is of the main reasons I sold all my shares of WWE stock years ago. I saw how the company was run and felt it was not a matter of 'if' but a matter of 'when' something huge would happen sending the stock crashing down. Incidents like these are going pile up until something huge happens. I ain't gambling with my money like that. I don't know if you own WWE stock or any of your readers do but honestly I would like to know why they are. "
The accident didn't do anything substantial to WWE stock value. and won't. McMahon moved rather quickly to take the belts off of Van Dam before anyone figured out what happened (it also probably helped that it was the July 4th weekend). There are a lot of investment websites that don't seem to agree with you in terms of viewing WWE as a good buy; although none of them have written articles since the RVD/Sabu incident.
From Joseph Shay :
"... I totally agree with your perspective on WWE/ECW and the Sabu RVD idiocy. With fame comes great responsibility. Even if it's obvious that the drug culture runs heavy, one needs to be responsible for one's actions when in public.
This reminds me of some other not so famous guys that were caught for very much the same thing; and because they were not main eventers they were booted out of WWE ever so quietly...Sean Waltman, Jake Roberts, and BG James, just to name a few. I would like to see some of your readers try to run a successful wrestling promotion with public stock and investors breathing down your neck about talent codes of conduct and see how they would feel about the situation then. WWE is in dire straits, I agree, but it doesn't help when talent can't be responsible. "
THAT is what it breaks down to...being responsible for your actions when in a public place. I'm not naive enough to think that a lot doesn't go on that we never see. It always will. But at the very least, wrestlers can use some common sense when out in public. Van Dam and Sabu didn't, and RVD paid the price. That's all there is to it.
From David Clacher:
"The RVD thing will not go away, and nor it should, he deserves to be punished. However WWE is to blame here as well. how mant times have there been references to how "laid back" and "cool" RVD is, we all know what this is implying, its just taken time for him to get caught.
As for the wellness program, well,are we finally seeing it being taken seriously? Orton has admitted in WWE magazine that he was among other things caught smoking a joint. Lashley's liver, Khali's liver. Hardy's.... well we don't know, Kash and Tatanka for 'personal issues' and the unusual nature of Angle's time off (he strikes me as someone who would not be on drugs but the rumors say differently), it seems as if one good thing has come from RVD's arrest that they can't hide stuff any more.
As for ECW, I'm really not liking this Heyman angle. Joey Styles is right, God and religion in wrestling doesn't work."
It's been suggested that the reason that Angle's suspension was never publicly acknowledged was that WWE is afraid of the bad mainstream publicity that would occur if a former Olympic Champion had been publicly outed as abusing painkillers or steroids.
But if Angle had been arrested in an incident similar to the July 2 incident, then McMahon would have had no choice, because the mainstream media would have outed Angle before McMahon could go into spin control mode.
From the UK's Shirleigh Kaur:
"RVD should be punished the same way as everyone else in sports entertainment is when it comes to drug abuse. I was absolutely appalled at the punishment RVD and Sabu received after they were caught with drugs. If it were to happen to someone else, like Johnny Nitro or Carlito, they would be fired on the spot.
Guess why? Because Vince McMahon wants to show the world that he doesn't have a vendetta against ECW. That's just my opinion, and if people wanna criticize it, I don't care. I think Vince is a complete asshole! I've lost respect for RVD. I never really seen Sabu at his prime, but RVD was awesome in his prime. He just HAD to take a step back into what should be dead."
McMahon did it because of dollars and cents.
I'll disagree with you and suggest that he DOES have a vendetta, given the way WWECW has been presented. What we've been getting is a souped-up Velocity, although this past week's show was certainly a step above anything that had been aired previously...that is, until we got The Big Show vs. Batista as an "ECW main event".
From the UK's Nik Louch:
"I have just started reading your column and it's actually a great place to see the opposing views on a number of wrestling issues.
I want to address a personal concern I have regarding the RVD/marijuana issue. His on-screen persona plays upon the fact that he's a bit of a pot-head. Now this never came out hugely during his WWE times, although it had been acknowledged during his ECW days. However, Vince keeps creative control over the new ECW it seems, and as such - that fact RVD is seen using phrases like 'I've got to get rollin'' is massively hypocritical. You can't build a character up to have his gimmick be a pot head, then drop him so harshly when he actually lives up to his gimmick.
I am not saying that it's cool to smoke pot... my views on that are live and let live, but it's not cool to do it when driving at all. However, what's even worse is to take this as a gimmick and put it on TV. And then be surprised when it actually happens. Sorry, I just felt compelled to criticise VKM in this instance for being a hypocrite. The fact he has put a pot-head character on screen makes a mockery of any 'wellness policy'".
You can if you're Vince McMahon. But in McMahon's reality...and in the reality of wrestling...smoking marijuana is one thing. Getting arrested while having it is another.
To be fair, the marijuana references by Van Dam have been a lot more subtle on WWE TV than they were on ECW TV. It's a pretty safe guess that Vince McMahon would have strongly discouraged Van Dam from doing an interview with High Times like Heyman did.
From Melissa Vitti:
"I agree with you that if a wrestler is caught using drugs or any illegal stuff that it can not be ignored. RVD wasn’t just breaking the rules of WWE, but he was also breaking the law. RVD is old enough to know better and if he really couldn’t control himself then maybe he shouldn’t have been using them in the first place. I understand that some are saying that we do not know the whole story and do not know 100% that he was using them but that does not mean that Vince should ignore it either.
RVD and all the wrestlers know what the policy is all about. From my understanding each one of them were given the new policy to read over. Correct? If not they knew about it and RVD chose to ignore that policy and got caught by an officer. All the fans that disagree with the suspension put yourself in Vince’s shoes. If you were running a million dollar company, and a co-worker was representing your company and was caught using drugs, would you want that person to still represent your company? I know I wouldn’t. RVD was representing the company by being champion. Fans look up to these wrestlers and to be quite honest, I think the use of certain drugs if a wrestler is caught should be stricter.
This policy of drugs should have been in WWE a long time ago. RVD is a idiot for what he did and because of this situation he probably lost a lot of fans respect."
Van Dam will be as over as ever before among most WWECW fans...and truth be told, probably most WWE fans, too.
Wrestlers knew what the policy was about...but they also knew how they'd find ways around it...especially with growth-enhancing substances.
Until next time...
If you have comments/questions, or if you'd like to add the AS I SEE IT
column to your website, I can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org)