AS I SEE IT
This column comes as a continuation of last week's discussion about the problems of Tammy Sytch...and as the result of a discussion that WCW/1wrestling.com's Bob Ryder and I had during the week.
Bob pointed out in his most recent "Notes for Bob" column that in February, the wrestling business has many sad anniversaries that result directly or indirectly from drug use. Within an eight day period, we've had the anniversaries of the deaths of:
David (Von Erich) Adkisson, who died on February 10, 1984 from an accidental Placidyl overdose while touring Japan.
Kerry (Von Erich) Adkisson, who committed suicide near the Adkisson family home on February 18, 1993 while awaiting jail for forging prescriptions.
Eddie Gilbert, who died of a heart attack on February 18, 1995 in Puerto Rico. Eddie was also known to have a problem with using prescription painkillers.
Louie Spicolli, who died on February 15, 1998 from an overdose of somas (muscle relaxers).
So it's the worst irony of all to read in last week's Pro Wrestling Torch that drug use in ECW is at an all-time high. Further, there are people designated to clean up needles and other drug paraphernalia from the locker room after ECW house shows, IN ORDER NOT TO LOSE THE VENUE.
Think about that. The concern of Paul Heyman and ECW officials is not to lose the venue.
Forget the fact that a number of Paul Heyman's workers frequently use prescription drugs, pot, and growth-enhancing drugs. Forget the fact that they don't even bother to hide that fact, something I reported on in a previous AS I SEE IT regarding an ECW worker who was handing out percosets at the door of the Stadium Holiday Inn hotel bar. If that's not enough for you, what about the fact that an article featuring Rob Van Dam in High Times magazine is treated like some sort of professional triumph by ECW.
I remember reading about Kerry Adkisson's suicide in February 1993, and reading that people weren't really surprised.
I remember hearing over the phone from ECW referee Jim Molineaux about Eddie Gilbert's death in February 1995; as I prepared to go down to Baltimore for SuperBrawl. Then I remember saying to someone that I was "shocked but not surprised".
I remember being online early in the morning a year ago, and finding out that Louie Spicolli had died...and remembering the times he'd come back into the TraveLodge after an ECW Arena show... barely able to walk. Given what I'd seen, I guess I wasn't surprised about Louie's death, either.
Sadly, I'm sure I won't be the least bit surprised when someone dies again.
Because promoters like Paul Heyman continue to operate with a "business as usual" mindset. They find it very easy to do damage control. They find it easier and easier to wash the blood from their hands.
Vince McMahon and Eric Bischoff aren't much better in this regard, though. Hell, Eric Bischoff STILL hasn't ever admitted that somas can be tested for; an issue that PWBTS brought up after Louie Spicolli's death. It's funny how PWBTS was able to get that information through a little online research; while a major corporation wasn't willing to do so.
So this February, another series of sad anniversaries passes. Unless the major wrestling promoters in this country enact REAL drug testing and drug rehabilitation programs for their workers, it may well not be long before another is added to the list.
Until next time....
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