AS I SEE IT
Assorted thoughts on two semi-related subjects this week...
The #WCW chat room and the connected room #WCWLIVE sometimes provides for some unintentional entertainment. One night this week, Tony Schiavone was the guest on the Real Audio show, which sometimes takes questions from the chat room.
Needless to say, one question posed was the nature of Schiavone's comments about Mick Foley on the NITRO the night when a taped RAW with Mick Foley's first title "win" (heavily promoted online from the actual taping date to the air date) aired. Schiavone made the sarcastic comment about Foley "...he'll really put some asses in seats". This remark drove thousands of viewers who weren't aware of the title switch to RAW almost immediately.
I was in the chatroom and made the statement that "Mick Foley has certainly put MY ass in a few seats for Joel Goodhart's TWA and the NWA in the early 1990s, as well as in WCW, ECW, and the WWF. How do you justify making such a comment when he's drawn more money than you and I ever will?" At first, the question got ignored. Then other people started posting it, then apparently people kept asking it on the 800 line call-in number for the show.
Schiavone finally answered, claiming first that Eric Bischoff had told him to say it...then he tried saying it was all a work and Schiavone couldn't believe that Foley took offense.
Nice try, Twinkiehuffer.
Some people might have accepted you having to do what your boss Eric Bischoff told you to do, Schiavone. But with your changing of your story at least twice in the chat, it became clear that wasn't even the case. If you're going to take shots at people, Schiavone, be enough of a man to stand up for what you say. Try taking responsibility once in a while. You might even enjoy it.
Speaking of the subjects of Eric Bischoff and of taking responsibility, we then go to a far more serious topic: one of the more disgusting firings in recent wrestling history...that of Davey Boy Smith.
At press time, Smith remains hospitalized with a spinal infection that is career-threatening, if not outright life-threatening. While in a bodycast in an Intensive Care Unit, Smith received a Fed Ex with a termination letter enclosed.
Considering that Davey Boy Smith's initial injury occurred when Smith took a bump on the trap door created so Jim Hellwig could do one of his "mysterious appearances", WCW is morally and legally responsible. It's been widely reported that Smith was kept on the payroll until it became known that Smith likely could be wheelchair-bound for life, and is almost certainly bed-ridden for up to six months. At that time, Smith was terminated under the 90 day termination clauses in WCW contracts.
Smith is said to have two crushed and four damaged vertebrae. This will apparently require a titanium plate. As said earlier, there are strong possibilities that this necessary operation might very leave him wheelchair bound for life.
If this wasn't bad enough, Georgianne Makropoulos of 1wrestling.com reported Eric Bischoff as being perfectly at peace with the move, stating: "We [WCW] then got a call from an attorney saying 'no he isn't ready to wrestle'... so we had to pull the trigger. I can look in the mirror and know I did the right thing..."
If you can look in the mirror and think you did the right thing here, Eric Bischoff, you are not just a corporate executive acting on personnel matters. You are a repulsive excuse for a human being.
Readers should remember that Bischoff is the very same person who did fired Ricky Steamboat after suffering what proved to be a career ending injury in a match with Steve Austin. He also did the same thing to Sean Waltman and Steve Austin for less serious injuries.
Let's also not forget that this is also the same Eric Bischoff who claimed (on a PRODIGY chat that took place just after the death of Louie Spicolli) that the use of somas couldn't be tested for with WCW performers and office staff.
Eric Bischoff didn't say this on the PRODIGY chat because no effective test exists. These tests do exist, and PWBTS reported on the tests that were available, including printing an e-mail from a drug testing laboratory that did business with the WWF.
Eric Bischoff didn't say this because the cost would be prohibitive. It isn't. In the PWBTS report, drug labs gave samples of prices for tests which were certainly affordable by the Time-Warner-Turner conglomerate, and most other promoters.
In reality, Eric Bischoff claimed that the use of somas couldn't be tested for with WCW performers and office staff, because it would require admitting that there is a problem with the prescription muscle relaxer in his promotion and all other major promotions. Eric Bischoff didn't have the moral courage to make that admission. Instead, he either tried to lie his way out of it, or (if one wants to be charitable) was so incredibly misinformed, that he put the life and safety of his employees at risk.
Eric Bischoff has shown a consistent disregard for the health and safety of his employees in all of these matters. Yet he and certain of his employees presume to make moral judgements about Titan Sports and the nature of the WWF's product.
The difference here is one is a set of fictional storylines and marketing strategies, the nature of which honest people can easily disagree about. The other subject is one that is all too literally real: the lives and the safety of the performers of World Championship Wrestling.
It's time for Eric Bischoff to be held responsible by his corporate superiors at Turner Sports NOW. Readers who would like to share their feelings regarding the Smith situation with Turner Sports (the parent entity of WCW) regarding this firing, you can do through the following e-mail address: email@example.com.
Let Dr. Schiller know that you don't appreciate employees injured on the job in a WCW ring being fired. Especially when the injury in question happened not because any of of the many reasonable risks a wrestler assumed when working; but because of a questionable "trap door" within the ring to allow for Jim Hellwig to do a TV "smokes and mirrors" act for their Nitro and Thunder programs.
Until next time....
If you have comments or questions, I can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org