Friday, June 29, 2007

Chris Benoit Media Coverage and More

It's been pretty pathetic how the media has covered the Benoit murder-suicide this week. I know that people snicker whenever pro wrestling is mentioned, however, if you are going to report a story: get your facts straight! Also, the W.W.E. is watched by 20 million people each week and is worth $750 billion. Not much to snicker at in my opinion.

First off, pro wrestling is not only the W.W.E. Professional wrestling is worldwide and consists of many different organizations. When Greta Van Sustern on Fox News said another "W.W.E. wrestler was found dead," she was completely wrong. The person she was talking about, Sherri Martel, had not worked for the W.W.E. in years. I saw Nancy Grace do her usual hysterical broadcasting, but the worst was Geraldo Rivera.

Mr. Rivera was a guest on The O'Reilly Factor and stated that Sherri Martel and Nancy Benoit had been found dead the same day and that since both ladies are the ex-wives of former wrestler Kevin Sullivan there may be a link. Rivera even went so far as to suggest that this could be a triple-murder and that "heads would roll at the very highest level." I sent an email this morning to Bill O'Reilly and Geraldo Rivera, let's see what becomes of it.

Rivera clearly was trying to take an already tragic story and make it into something so sensational - pardon the pun - that only the National Enquirer would buy it. Like I said, it's bad enough what happened, making false insinuations adds nothing. For the record, Sherri Martel died June 15 and was buried today. The cause of death was not released, except that she was drinking a cup of coffee on her porch with her mother when she collapsed.

Then of course there's the New York Post's Phil Mushnick. Mr. Sloppy stops just short of blaming Vince McMahon for what happened. Hey, wrestlers are big guys, I don't think Mr. McMahon is holding them down and forcing them to take drugs or use steroids. Mushnick says that wrestlers have been dying off since McMahon took over the W.W.E. in the early 1980s implying a cause and effect. Again, it's as if he's trying to convict McMahon of murder.

I will admit that there is a problem, but it is not confined to the W.W.E. Since 1997, 60 wrestlers have died that were 45 years old or younger. Out of those 60, only five were under contract to the W.W.E. Some on the list I previously posted were going to die young because of their extreme height such as Andre The Giant and Japan's "Giant" Baba.

The W.W.E. has been doing strict testing since 2005. Even Bret Hart - no friend of Vince McMahon, just Google "Montreal screw job" for more - said that from all he is hearing, the testing in the W.W.E. is very tough. When I go down the list of dead wrestlers that I previously posted, weight definitely was an issue for many. Some died tragically such as Owen Hart (ring accident) and referee Joey Marella (auto accident). Those deaths were obviously very tragic. The Owen Hart death was because of a defective pulley which snapped when Hart was entering the ring from high above the crowd during a pay-per-view event.

But what my main concern is the guys who died in their 40s of drugs. Again, a lot of these guys died while working for smaller promotions, so pretty much they are not required to undergo any testing. Small promotions hold cards in high school gyms and armories, so I doubt they can afford to test.

What we have is a big problem. What we also have is people looking to blame Vince McMahon but they don't put any responsibility on the wrestlers themselves.

Let's take Road Warrior Hawk. He was part of one of the best tag teams of all-time. But the Road Warriors wrestled for other promotions other than the W.W.E. in their career. In fact, they really were only in the W.W.E. for a couple of years. The rest of the time was in the A.W.A., N.W.A., and Japan. So is McMahon to blame? Is McMahon to be blamed for the death of someone years after they die because of drug abuse? Did we blame the record companies when Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Jim Morrison died as the result of drug abuse? No, of course not.

Look, I'm no libertarian or an objectivist, but I do believe in personal responsibility.

Meanwhile, McMahon aired the tribute to Benoit not knowing that it was a murder-suicide. Maybe he should have waited. But then there would be those same people screaming that McMahon can't even honor his own had he not run a Benoit tribute.

What I'm saying is that yes wrestling has a problem. If the W.W.E.'s tests are as legit as everyone says then I'm not sure what else they can do. The whole story is very sad. The way it has been covered is also sad. I just wonder if reporters are getting so many facts wrong in this case, are they equally as sloppy with everything else?

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