Before I begin today, I’m going to briefly focus on the results on the autopsy done to Elizabeth Hulette. The final results came in this past week, with a toxicologists report filling in the details of the report prepared by a Georgian coroner. At the time of death, her blood alcohol level was .29, an parlously high level of intoxication. Her death was caused by the deadly mix of painkillers and alcohol (she also had nausea medication and downers in her system), which is something wrestlers in the WWE do an a nightly basis. In fact, it’s something most of them do and avert death on far to many times. The same goes for highway accidents, which should, statistically, kill far more wrestlers.
The media is surprised by the death rate in wrestling, but believe me they haven’t scratched the surface. There’s a lot more than stats to this story. The industry may have changed a great deal in the last ten, twenty years, but besides the sweeping hierarchal changes (totally and uniquely Vince McMahon’s, probably taking a page from Time Warner’s book), they are cosmetic. Did Ms. Hulette take the pills and the alcohol? Yes, Larry Pfohl didn’t force her. But to say that it’s her fault and lets move on is the same ignorance encountered after the Armen Keteyian-produced pieces for HBO. That’s pretty small minded.
When I did an obituary for Ms. Hulette a few weeks ago, recapping her career took a backseat. The key to her success was just being there every week and being Miss Elizabeth and even though the first person I heard call her death ironic on TV was a dumbfounded Vince McMahon, her death was far more ironic than I’m sure he can comprehend, especially several weeks later when he penned a letter to Mr. Keteyian saying that “we don’t see vials lying around.” That’s cold hearted.
But again I sit here at the computer, for another time this year, with a void, an emptiness within me, that I can’t put into befitting or poignant words. The same feeling I felt as I sat down to right about the career of Curt Hennig.
But how is it possible to put that feeling, that anger, that disgust, that abyss, that sadness into words? How do you expound on emptiness? How can you describe lament when it transcends every-day lament? Can you opine when you can’t grab a hold of your thoughts? This is real life. These are real people’s lives. These are real deaths.
And while it disturbs me that people are just using this as the next gimmick for a column to forget about the next day and it disturbs that not many could care, what disturbs me the most is that no one who matters cares enough to affect change.
Before I go, I need to address something that I came across reading a recent column from Rajah WWF’s Oratory, a section where they feature columns. You can read the column I’m discussing here – http://www.rajahwwf.com/~oratory/index.php?page=showcomments&id=717 the column discusses any number of different types of wrestling organizations, starting with the famed backyard organizations and the part that disturbed me, extreme women’s federations. The writer, Xavier Von Erck, describes them as “ECW meets WOW.” To start, these organizations feature women given names as insulting as “GI Ho,” who actually works for Major League Wrestling (Sunshine Network), and names of companies like “P*ssy World Order.” I remember when getting into writing this column that there was a thing where people would take erotic photos of naked women wrestling each other. But this situation is out of control, with men wrestling women who fight for their right not to sleep with the person. That is just beyond wrong in so many ways. Some women are also forced into this style of crap because there is no other way to get bookings. I’ve been around wrestling for awhile and just when you’ve seen something and figured it was as low as you can get, there’s worse. Jim Cornette wrote a seething letter to the Louisville Eccentric Observer where he spelled out his problems with a CZW/XPW-esque competitor of his, his conflict of interest spelled out in the first two paragraphs. Bob Magee in response wrote a column where he debated Cornette’s point about whether it’s wrestling or not. On the record, I’m going to publicly state that I agree with Cornette. Garbage wrestling is indeed insane junk and I don’t think there’s any defense for the kind of matches Zandig has in that promotion with the light tubes and weapons. The line has to be drawn somewhere.
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