AS I SEE IT - 11/18/2002: 
Pennsylvania Tax Dollars "At Work" Telling Fans What They Can See

by: Bob Magee

In yet another example of your tax dollars being used in attempts to tell you what you can and can't see, in some of the most selective and bizarre ways you can imagine...

At a meeting in Philadelphia on November 16th, Greg Sirb of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission indicated that existing regulations were to be more strictly enforced in so-called "death matches".

Sirb told those promoters present that barbed wire and light tubes are now banned from use after January 1. The already existing rules on fighting in the crowd are to be enforced. Sirb claimed that any promoter that allowed this to happen would have their license pulled, and "city health board would be notified and wrestlers would have to be tested for HIV, hepatitis, and other diseases".

As much as I think this comment was directed primarily at XPW (and regular readers are well aware there is no love lost between me and this promotion), there is a fairness issue here....namely, the obvious question as to whether or not the State Athletic Commission has such a legal right to make such an order until or unless the State Legislature passes a law allowing them to order such testing.

Sirb mentioned that he wanted to see a cutback in excessive blood as well, a curious request given that blading is already technically illegal in Pennsylvania, referred to as "self-mutilation". You have to wonder if this is somehow a unofficial codification of the informal "one match" rule for blood.

The issue with "excessive" blood and brawling in the crowd stems from the August 31 XPW Philadelphia debut show at the ECW Arena, when a bleeding "Hardcore @#$# Angel" went into the women's bathroom and got blood all over the dress of the daughter of a judge who was in attendance (a friend of Pennsylvania State Athletic Commissioner Ron Greeley).

There were other complaints after that August 31 show regarding "excessive nudity" from a post-main event angle with Lizzy Borden, when Borden's top and bottom were successively pulled off by Terry Funk. Such nudity previously got Women's Extreme Wrestling thrown out of Pennsylvania.

As reported on PWBTS back in September, Greenley had scheduled a meeting designed to pull XPW's license due to the above incidents, cancelled when Greg Sirb himself neglected to show up for the meeting at the last minute.

Reliable sources within the State Commission state that XPW's Kevin Kleinrock threatened to sue Sirb if he enforced the regulations. It's been suggested that this may have had more than a little bit to do with Sirb's last minute "engagement", keeping Greeley from holding this meeting.

Concerns were also expressed in the meeting about the weedwhacker and the "overuse" of the light tubes during the CZW Zandig-Wifebeater match on November 9. Interestingly, the Commission's own Frank Talent took part in an angle involving that weedwhacker in that very match, which was edited out of the TV featuring the Wifebeater match, but presumably still exists on the commercial tape.

CZW's Cage of Death match will go on as scheduled on December 14th, without barbed wire or light tubes. Other elements will be added to insure that the match is innovative enough that fans will leave more than happy.

In the continuing Philadelphia inter-promotional wars, November 16th's XPW show featured an attempt to blame CZW for the "new" restrictions, despite the fact that this re-enforcement of these regulations likely took place due to the August 31st incident.

XPW conveniently neglected to mention on this very night, that they falsely advertised the November 16th show, entitled "Exit Sandman" as a "retirement match", despite the fact that at least two other companies are advertising Sandman for upcoming shows:

If you agree with me, and have concerns about the selective enforcement of laws and regulations within Pennsylvania, feel free to contact State Commissioner Greg Serb at (215) 560-2407 or via e-mail at or by fax to Commissioner Ron Greenley at (215) 245-6061.

Along with those calls or e-mails, perhaps contacting the new Governor would be in order, and suggesting the total deregulation of wrestling. Go to this URL and click "Contact us".

Suggest to the new Governor of Pennsylvania that maybe it's time to put government busybodies like this out of work.

Until next time...


(If you have comments or questions, I can be reached by e-mail at