AS I SEE IT 10/9: Your thoughts on Kurt Angle...and a certain Boogeyman
AS I SEE IT
I've received two well-thought responses to the AS I SEE IT column questioning TNA's signing of Kurt Angle. I'm adding my comments to those comments below.
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets
From Rob Nagel:
"I usually do not respond to any columns, but I do read them faithfully. Your last column expressed what seems to be the general consensus of the IWC in that the signing of Angle is dangerous at best. Now I understand that as a smark, one is to be able to and look to separate himself from the hype and take everything in this industry with a grain of salt.
The hype that was created when Cena jumped to Raw out of complete surprise in 2005 was topped easily by the signing of Angle by TNA. Yet, the whole deal was soiled by the constant worry Angle will end up as Eddie did. The way people are portraying Kurt resembles something of an adolescent who doesn't know any better. Kurt Angle is a man who is married and has a kid. I believe he can handle himself appropriately, especially since he was so affected by Eddie's death.
The portrayal of Kurt Angle by most who have concerns is not the portrayal of an adolescent. Rather, it's the portrayal of a Kurt Angle who admitted himself to a problem with painkillers; and who was addicted enough to performing in front of WWE crowds each night that he was willing to take these painkillers to perform, regardless of the risk to his body, his health, and his marriage.
"Regarding TNA and their wellness policy, they have no reason to open up 'business practices' to the public as a private company. As a business first, TNA cannot partially reveal its practices. In doing so, it will unintentionally be hiding others, for which the public and media will scrutinize them even more. WWE is the first successful publicly traded wrestling based company. When AOL/Time Warner took over and WCW became a business responsibility of the shareholders it fell apart quickly. So WWE is really in uncharted waters with the new Wellness Policy. As much as it is Vince's response to Eddie dying, it is moreso a response to the shareholders worrying about a trend.
Given the likelihood that SpikeTV, which is owned by a publicly held company (VIACOM), has spread Kurt Angle's face all over their TV in the days since his signing (including having Angle as a presenter on an award show tomorrow night on SpikeTV)...a publicly held company WILL bear a risk if Angle's demons affect him, namely VIACOM.
Since THEY have stated they have a testing program, THEY need to be the ones who make clear what it is.
"Being such a young company with so many hurdles already, TNA is not ready [to] go public and should not partially open up, for that will be like opening a can of worms. Yes TNA has a moral responsibility to its wrestlers, but it must be stressed that TNA's history has been quite incident free (Candido's death was a freak accident from surgery). This is a prime example of WWE overtaking the industry. Yes on their watch, quite alot negatively has happened, all in reference to drug use and overworking. Yet, TNA is tied into the resposibility as 'the industry in general and its practices.'"
Face it, TNA is an entertainment company that puts its performers before the public. When talent is appearing on outside entertainment programming representing the company, that company needs to be concerned about what negative effect that the serious illness or worse that a former Olympic champion might endure "on their watch", and take concrete steps to insure that such a tragedy doesn't occur.
"It is clear, and further enforced by the interview Dixie Carter held, that TNA does not stress the same factors as WWE. Muscle mass is the not the premier determinant in employment. The work schedule is ten times less stressful. TNA is not WWE and must be given a fair opportunity to prove itself as a business model in and of itself. Furthermore, it must be given the benefit of the doubt that when the President says they have a strict policy in place, that they actually do.
TNA's history has been pretty clean and should not automatically be blasted for signing a key player especially with the way he is being introduced. They are waiting on Angle's in-ring return and are at most going to have him 2 or 3 days a week, if that.
I believe the IWC has to give TNA a chance to prove it can provide entertainment in as safe of a working environment one can have in the wrestling industry."
Vince McMahon said an effective Wellness Policy was going to be in place in WWE...and it was, until Rob Van Dam, the WWE/ECW Champion, got caught with marijuana while traveling on an Ironton, OH road, with the arrest and subsequent suspension disrupting WWE's long-term booking. Then, there were the infamous "liver enzyme" problems of several Smackdown wrestlers, with many of these wrestlers suddenly re-instated shortly after the test results were made public.
I don't hold Dixie Carter to a tougher standard, but I don't hold her to a lesser standard, either. She runs a wrestling promotion. She, like any wrestling promoter, or any other corporate executive will spin things to their company's benefit.
If TNA has a drug policy, then let Dixie Carter tell the public what that policy is. Otherwise, wrestling fans and the outside public are being asked to take the word of a wrestling promoter at face value. Taking the word of a wrestling promoter without questioning IS the reason we're all called "marks", after all, isn't it?
From Johnny LaRue:
I could not disagree more with Mr. Kalashian.
The WWE policy is still a sham and now with the 'let's not hurt any storylines we have so allow the drug user to work anyways' policy is a joke. So if a wrestler was on painkillers... by still working how does that help? Seems like once again the bottom line... ummm.... make that 'storyline' is what's good for the company first, the wrestlers wellbeing second. With the previous suspension at least the wrestler could get help with the time off."
It means that Vince McMahon may have underestimated the number of workers using detectable substances, and when the tests came back dirty, he had to backpedal on his previous commitment, so as to allow his storylines to continue without major disruption.
"Also, if the WWE was concerned about Angle's behavior why not intervene earlier? Angle was nowhere near the train wreck Spicoli was. I also can not see how the firing of Angle would have forced him to become clean.
Firing him? Perhaps not, although it did work in Eddie Guerrero's case.
There are times that confrontation is the only solution. If someone gets cold water thrown in their face, it may wake them up to the extent of their problem and motivate them to take action.
As far as what kind of "train wreck" Angle was, Dave Meltzer's Observer reports suggest otherwise, at least in terms of the emotiomal wreck that Angle apparently was. There's no way of knowing the extent of the actual painkiller dependence.
"Let's be honest here, Angle would have gotten work elsewhere whether it's in MMA or in Japan. Let's not wag the finger of shame at TNA here. Besides TNA has a lighter work schedule and I doubt they would allow Angle to go down the same road again for reasons you mentioned in your last column. They also have a drug policy in place (which could be stricter than the WWE's policy) so I don't see the problem."
There's no question that Angle's schedule will be lighter. TNA seems to be telling independents that they won't offer Angle for indy booking at this time...so it'll no doubt be lighter. But if the reports regarding Angle still considering MMA are correct, it might be just as difficult a road for him to travel.
As for the TNA drug policy, until TNA is willing to talle the public what that drug policy is, and show that they'll stick to it...there's little reason to believe it.
If the WWE can rehire Jeff Hardy, take a chance on Eddie Guerrero, resign Jake Roberts and give other wrestlers second and third chances for any reason then why can't TNA hire Angle? In pro sports players get second chances all the time. Maurice Clarett comes to mind. Ricky Williams is another example. Koren Robinson is another recent example. Daryl Strawberry is another example. Why the double standard for wrestling?
What about the Hollywood stars that get a free pass depsite getting arrested on drug charges. Nolte, Downey Jr, Ryder...etc. Where is the outrage there? What about rock stars? Their labels still keep them and there is no outrage.
My point here is if the WWE felt Angle was too much of a risk, and fired him, they have that right. TNA also has the right to hire Angle. Let's not condemn Angle or TNA, and see how this plays out before passing judgement. Perhaps TNA is what Angle needs to get better? "
One form of entertainment caused its performers to suffer a major physical tool. The other doesn't, at least for those who are't performing their own stunts. As for TNA being what Angle needs to get better, some would argue that TNA is serving to enable Angle by putting him within the environment that drove him to drug use in the first place...namely, wrestling.
Then, there's the man whose WWE career seemingly won't die...the Boogeyman.
After being fired by WWE, he was then re-hired only a week later.
With the Boogeyman, comes one of his more obsessive fans, Ali Sal...and his rants. I'll print it unedited.
"'Mr. Magee, don't make me angry, you wouldn't like me when I'm angry'-David Bruce Banner to Inspector Jack Magee on 'The Incredible Hulk'.
HA! THAT'S karma, ya big fat slob!! That's what u get for taking such glory in another man's misfortune. You taking such pleasure in another man's injury which led to him being released was a disgrace. That even more than your lying on your website about my letter regarding Rob Van Dam, and being too chicken$#!t to print my rebuttal to your misquoting of my letter.
You are nothing more than a yellow 'journalist' (i use that term loosely, actually incorrectly, because you investigate nothing), and a big fat coward. I hope in the future they give Boogeyman more airtime than DX, so you could cry and whine while eating your potato chips! I could only pray to Jesus H. Christ (who i heard uses ephedra to keep those great abs), that you get a heartattack because your are so out of shape. See, I'm not below your level of wishing ill on another man, oh wait, i'm wishing ill on you, not a man!"
Um..."Jack Magee" of the TV version of The Incredible Hulk is a fictional character. He's not me.
I took no pleasure in Marty Wright's injury. I don't take any plesaure in his misfortune. Hell, I don't even KNOW the man. I do hate the character. I think it's disgusting and right out of the McMahon cartoon era of wrestling.
As far as badmouthing Jesus Christ, I'll leave that to others to offer comments about. I could have posted your e-mail address to allow them to discuss it directly, but I won't.
Thanks for wishing me a heart attack. I'm sure that will make many people take your points far more seriously...and that you'll be disappointed to know that my last doctor's visit was just fine.
Until next time...
If you have comments/questions, or if you'd like to add the AS I SEE IT
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