AS I SEE IT 10/16: More thoughts on Kurt Angle...and Francine

Bob Magee
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets

Here are responses to last week's letters...first, from George Monteiro of Toronto, Canada:

"I read your column and that Jack Magee (actually, his e-mail name was Sal Ali) is a total psychopath to wish you a heart attack. That was low and uncalled for deserving of an apology, bar none. He is not a man, but a total nimrod who loves to terrorize you for no logical reason. I wish he learned remorse for he certainly doesn't have any to you or his fans whom he hurt like me. All we the fans care about is your reporting. [Sal Ali] can burn in hell while we all enjoy your posts.

As far as Boogeyman is concerned, this goes to prove the amount of bad decisions the company has made. IMO, Boogeyman should NOT have been released for chances are his pops are the best for a rookie and newcomer to the WWE. He in a way is like the Undertaker when he was in his career back in his earlier years: loud pops and respect across the board. Also he is a "recycled" Papa Shango. I personally enjoy his charcter for it is a unique spin in this industry. I am impressed that a guy his age (he is 42) to be that fit! If I were WWE, I would allow him to continue the angle with King Booker and take his title to make people look at him and say "People of my age and physical condition can make a difference". I look forward to seeing the Boogeyman in action (and maybe get his ass whipped by The Undertaker in the process. :) "

From Bobby Jackson:

"First off I just want to say that the Ali Sal guy is a complete nut case.

Second, I agree with just about everything you say about Angle. He will probably end up dying in the ring of TNA. I just want to know what would Angle do without wrestling. Would his 'competitive drive' cause him to do something stupid?

Maybe Angle does need TNA. Angle needs some sort of competition. Unless he learns how to take a break he will continue to wrestle. At least TNA wont be as stressful on Angle and maybe he hasn't had a match yet for a reason. It seems the only thing he will be doing for a while is be a special enforcer. Hopefully his first match won't be with someone like Samoa Joe and just a squash match, which it seems like TNA is doing. Maybe TNA is doing more for him then it seems. I guess we will just have to sit back and see how he does."

From Ryan Kalashian:

"My first point is that I was not extolling the virtues of the WWE's Wellness Program, but simply asking why everyone feels the need to run them down for trying to establish one, when no one ever mentions the lack of a program that TNA possess. It might be true that TNA does have one, but without them ever stating that in the open, it can also be assumed that they do not. Plus, when WWE publicly laid out its program, it gave people the right to hold them to task if they felt they were not living up to its standards. TNA might have a program, but when no one knows about the program, it has a greater chance to be bent or not applied to specific cases when that suits TNA.

I'd also like to discuss the comments that the WWE's entire program is a sham because they changed it to make their talent work even if they have violated the program. As far as I have been
able to figure out, the people rumored to have had serious problems (i.e. painkiller addiction..etc) have not been allowed to continue working. Some examples of this would be Eugene, Joey Mathews, Chris Masters, and Kurt Angle. All were rumored to have serious drug issues and the WWE took them off the road and made them enter rehab, or in Kurt's case, they tried to get him off the road and into rehab.

As far as allowing 'other' wrestlers to still have to work to maintain storylines, How does that make it less tolerant? Before when people were caught using illegal muscle enhancers, they were suspended without pay and sent home for 30 days. Now when they are caught, their pay is still suspended for 30 days, but they have to continue working. That actually seems like a harsher penalty to me.

Problem is also allows WWE to use the talent and not interrupt their storylines.

There would also be an interesting legal issue as to whether or not an employer can use an independent contractor, not pay him, yet insist that he cannot work somewhere else during that period. Remember, WWE, as all wrestling, uses independent contractors, not employees.

As far as the Angle/TNA situation goes, I have a few tings to say. It has been reported over numerous sites, that Kurt was not going to enter rehab, but instead work with a pain-management coach. If this is really the truth, then I guess this is the much referred to TNA drug policy in action.

To me, this is the equivalent of an alcoholic telling the court system that he would not like to go to court mandated AA meeting, but instead visit a psychologist. Sure it is good that they are dealing with an aspect of the problem, but at some point someone needs to make them face their dependency issues.

Yes, TNA has a 'lighter' schedule, but compare the work rate within the schedule. I mean, going 60 minutes with Samoa Joe or AJ Styles and trying to meet that style is going to be a lot harder on Kurt's body than doing that same 60 minutes with Matt Hardy or King Booker. Plus if Kurt is still pursuing MMA, which it seems he is, then that down time between tapings which he should be
using to heal will be filled with him busting his ass in training or in ring competition.

It IS going to be a harder style to work, and I can't see Angle going halfway on anything. His pride won't let him. So while he won't be working nearly as often, he'll be working a harder style each match.

Lastly, I'd like to address the idea of Kurt deserving a second chance. I totally agree that he should get a second chance, but in order for someone to get a second chance, they have to first except the mistakes they made in the first place and take steps to correct them. A majority of the people that Mr. LaRue mentioned have made public acknowledgments of their problems and went on to seek professional help in rehabbing from their problems. If Kurt had actually stopped wrestling for a bit to get help with his problems, then I would totally agree that he deserves a second chance.

The problem is after Kurt acknowledged his problems, he then has done everything to make it seem as though they never existed in the first place and that the only reason he moved on from
WWE was because of how he was being used. And to say that TNA might be what Kurt needs shows a real lack of understanding of the problem. Placing a person with any kind of dependency issues inside a situation which is similar to the one that caused them to have problems in the first place is never better. If a person is an alcoholic, is moving them to a bar that has an earlier closing time a better situation for him? The root of the problem is TNA's lack of concern for Kurt's problem and how they enable Kurt to continue on as though he actually doesn't have one, and for that, I will not wait to see how it all ends to show my condemnation for the situation."

Angle clearly acknowledged an addiction to extra-strength Vicodin on the TNA Impact interview that aired last week. His claim was that the doctor (implied, but not stated, as being a WWE related doctor) wanted to "wean him off" Vicodin, but he said he needed to get off immediately.

He claims he's clean. While it's in keeping with what he's said publicly, there is little or no way of evaluating whether or not it's the truth.

TNA has GOT to be sure that Kurt Angle doesn't fall back into the same trap of addiction he was in within WWE. Their refusal to outline what their stated drug policy is, means most people are doubtful that one even exists. If they have a drug policy, state what that drug policy is. THEY brought up the fact that they have a drug policy, not "the Internet".

I agree that if Angle has gone through therapy for his addiction, that he deserves a second chance...but at a certain point. Not immediately. Without proof to the contrary, all too many people beleive that Angle's being brought back quickly because of his market value...not because he's ready (in terms of his addiction).

Then, from CJ Marsciano, on the release of ECW original Francine:

"What the $#@k? Just, what the &%$k?!?

Yes, as her former webmaster, I have had my differences (long since apologized for and delegated to water under the bridge) with Francine Fournier, but as a fan I was more than happy to see her with the WWE as part of the ECW brand, after years of seeing WWE Divas work matches more suited to 'gentleman's clubs' than wrestling rings, or just not work in the ring at all.

Then I get the news today that Francine Fournier was released by the WWE. I'd love to know the fucked-up logic behind this one. Of course, this is the same crew that, just when I think they did the smart thing by dropping the Boogyman once and for all, turns around and rehires the lame mother@#$#er a week afterwards!

Great going, WWE! Go ahead and keep glorified strippers like the useless Kelly Kelly and that ugly Evanescence wannabe Ariel on the roster rather than someone actually knows the wrestling ring from one corner to the other. And then feel free to wonder why, as much as I am happy to see ECW exist again, I don't make too big of a deal of it if I miss an episode of the show.

No wonder I retired my old wrestling column and stopped watching the sport/art form for so many years...

I can say I never understood why she wasn't given any sort of real shot in WWECW. I do know that Francine was never rude to a fan during her time in the real ECW...and with over-hormoned fans acting like assholes sometimes, it had to be hard. I was always impressed by that.

So it seem that Vince just wants fresh meat with silicone sacks hanging off their chests for his "divas". Anyone wanna bet even Sherri Martel would have never gotten a chance in this environment?

Until next time...

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