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WRESTLING COLUMNS

What Happened to my Heros"
June 9, 2005 by Dave Eacrett


First of all, this is my first contribution to OWW and my topic isn't an easy one to swallow for many, but some of the wrestlers that were once my heroes, the men that I gave my respect, hope & tears to, don't really deserve it.

Before you chastise me for slamming some of the greatest wrestlers ever to compete in the wonderful world of wrestling, please read on.

I have been watching this great sport of wrestling for many years, and some of my fondest memories involved watching wrestling, and remembering some of the great moments from it's archives.

For example, Hulk vs. Andre at WrestleMania 3, Ricky the Dragon Steamboat vs. Macho Man from the same night, any Sting vs. Ric Flair match, when Virgil FINALLY stood up to Ted DiBiase and smacked him silly with the "Million Dollar Belt", "King" JYD, every single time Jake The Snake would signal for the deadly DDT, Bobby Heenan on the camel at WrestleMania 9, Chris Benoit after his match with Kurt Angle at the Royal Rumble '03 and The Four Horsemen, fill me with melancholic memories of my so called heroes.

So, why are my "heroes" displaying the lowest form of human dignity, pride, self respect, when they know that millions of people, many of them children, look up to them""" Why did Stone Cold Steve Austin, one of the most popular wrestlers ever decide to beat up his wife" Why did 3 of 5 Von Erich Brothers commit suicide""" Why is Lex Luger still wrestling after he was charged with fourteen different drug charges, the body of Miss Elizabeth found at his home"""

Matt Hardy got fired from the WWE because Edge stole his real life girlfriend, and Matt decided to do something about it. Why is Edge still wrestling there" What kind of examples for fans are pro wrestlers trying to set""" Why did Mr. Perfect die of a drug overdose" Why did Crash Holly, Anthony Durante, Brian Pillman, Buzz Sawyer and the aforementioned Elizabeth choose the same fate""" Why did Vince McMahon decide to screw Bret Hart in Montreal, revealing his questionable integrity or that the show must go on after his younger brother Owen died on national T.V."

Why did these people, and the list goes on and on and on, choose the obvious horrible immoral choices they did and let down many fans that look up to them, myself included""" They don't deserve to be where they are today, in the huge arenas, backyards, and in our homes on televisions week in and week out. So, I stopped watching, refusing to support a bunch of ignorant, out of control loose cannons that want to carry on how ever they want to outside of the ring. Not with my hard earned dollar.

Jake the Snake Roberts is a drug addict, he's not a hero. Hacksaw Jim Duggan was arrested with The Iron Sheik for drug possession and drinking and driving. Yeah, Mr. USA himself. These people were all heroes to me and to millions of other people too. Out there are lots of young kids that dream of one day, or maybe are on the verge of becoming a professional wrestler.

I don't think that a future of wrestling is a safe assumption when more and more wrestlers are making very poor choices, often life or career ending. I also don't think it benefits a sport that is already taking heavy fire by many groups that already see it as senseless violence and T&A to have its heroes hand over more ammunition.

I don't know if all the young dreamers will all make it as wrestlers, but I hope if they do, that they will think about their fans and families before tarnishing the great sport that they have been truly blessed to be a part of. They need to be men before they can be allowed to be our heroes.

Mick Foley, The Rock, DDP, Ted DiBiase, Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker and Sting are just a few (and many more I have not mentioned) of the true heroes of wrestling. The type of men that lead positively by example in their real lives, which have given back to their fans, and to the world that has embraced them. They are the type of men that should get the "push", that deserve our respect, that will turn what we see today back into the glory of yesterday, for they are the true heroes.

by Dave Eacrett ..


Andrew Taylor wrote:
Hey, I agree with some of the things you said in your article, but there is one thing I really disagree with. The reason MacMahon (I can't really spell his name) said 'the show must go on' after Owen's death was for the fans. I wasn't there at the time, but I think he just wanted the show to be remembered for other reasons than the death of Owen. However, I've been watching wrestling for only four years, and I agree. Why would I fire Matt Hardy for trying to do something about Edge nicking his girl. Why would I let Lex Luger wrestle with 14 drug allegations" I definately agree that the 'Old Guard', as I call them, are starting to fall apart.
ShaunCl wrote:
I agree. Many wrestlers have made big mistakes and make poor role models. But not all are lost. Eddie Gurrero redeemed himself after his drug addiction as did Jimmy Snuka. I dream of wrestling but with the buisness the way its going it puts me off. Oh and you forgot to mention that Chris Benoit is a good rolemodel.
Scott Kuczkowski wrote:
While you make a few good points, I think you are, for the most part, painting the majority of wrestlers with very broad strokes. That is to say, you are focusing on a few wrestlers' indiscretions rather than accomplishments.

True, many wrestlers have made poor decision in both their personnel and professional lives. But I have to ask you, who hasn't made a mistake or two" Everyone in the IWC reports when someone is disliked backstage or unreliable. Who reports about the workers who are always on time or early" We all know about wrestlers who are careless in the ring, but who are the people who never hurt their opponents" What wrestlers have never used drugs" Face it, bad news sells while good news is only as news-worthy as the wrestler to whom it pertains.

Edge cheated on his wife with his friend's girlfriend. If he wasn't a wrestler, would anyone care" Plus, we only know Matt Hardy's side of the story. I'm not questioning Matt's integrity, but I also know there are two sides to every story and we have only heard one. Maybe Edge and Lita will never go public with what happened (which would be their right), or maybe we will learn someday that Lita cheated on Matt because she was just plain unhappy. What if we found out Matt was fired because he often flew off the handle backstage in jealous rages when other wrestlers talked to Lita, making him impossible to work with" Would that make a difference"

Stone Cold Steve Austin was arrested for hitting his wife. While I don't condone violence against women, does this one act negate everything he gave to the wrestling world"

If we concentrated on any wrestler we could probably easily find some reason to declare they have "fallen from grace." Everyone has had a bad day, took a wrong turn, or wronged someone. These mistakes make them human. These make them people. It shouldn't stop us from idolizing them.
USC0Dave wrote:
I don't usually post feedback to columns where I disagree with the author's point--I figure everybody's got their opinion, and it's only pro wrestling, so I leave it alone. But I felt compelled to say something about this article because I am a very strong believer that you should not judge anybody's job performance by their behavior outside of work. I'm a Los Angeles Lakers fan, and I really don't care what the hell Kobe Bryant does when he's off the court, I just turn on the TV to see him play basketball and root for my team. In respect to pro wrestling, I am a big defender of Randy Orton, mainly because I refuse to read up on all the internet dirt sheets, and I really have no interest in gossip and rumors about what the wrestlers are like backstage. If you watch pro wrestling because you want role models, or people to pattern your own life's conduct after, then you are seriously misguided. You might as well have written a column about how you felt when you found out Santa Claus wasn't real. You even show your misplaced notions of what pro wrestling should be when you refer to it as a sport several times in your column. I've been a pro wrestling fan for the majority of my 25 years on this planet, and I respect and admire what these guys can do in the ring, but I do not think of it as a sport and I have never thought of any professional wrestler as a role model, and continue to be befuddled as to why so many people think that it's the responsibility of everyone in all entertainment mediums (including sports) to be prime examples of virtuous human behavior simply because they are in the public eye. Basically it's the same thing as saying, "people at large are dumb enough to want to do everything that you do just because you're famous for being able to put a ball through a basket, so it's up to you to take responsibility for the sheeplike nature of the human race and be a good Christian lad." Sure, I was mad about the whole "Montreal Screwjob" thing, but Bret and Shawn are still two of my favorite wrestlers, and I still see Vince McMahon as a genius as relates to this industry, without whom we would not have had the years and years of entertainment brought to us in the form of professional wrestling--despite what the real nature of any of those three people might be. I have no business finding out about all of these people's personal lives, and it is irritating to me that there are wrestling fans out there who will boo or cheer a wrestler just because she dumped so-and-so to go and date whomever. I was under the impression that people went to events to watch wrestling, and cheer/boo people based on their in-ring character or their wrestling skill. I don't care about the personal lives of wrestlers, movie stars, musicians, or actors. I am still a fan of Edge and Lita, and the "You screwed Matt" chants only make me want to root for them even more, just to spite these people who are way too interested in the off-screen personas of wrestlers. I only use this as one example that people need to separate what they see on television from real life. When Christopher Reeve had his riding accident, were people disappointed to find out he wasn't really Superman" When Ice T joined the cast of Law & Order in the role of a cop, was everyone disappointed to find he's not really a "cop-killer"" I apologize for the length of this feedback, but it's something I feel strongly about. The real heroes in this world are the people you don't often hear about in movies or television, or even books. If you've limited your search for heroes to the world of pro wrestling, or the entertainment industry in general, then I truly feel sorry for you.
Michael Petrillo wrote:
Dave, I have to admit your article was well written and seemed to be influenced by a very reliable moral compass, but I can't understand for the life of me why you would choose any kind of entertainer as a hero, role model, etc.

I'm not saying every celebrity (i.e. a celebrated person in any capacity and/or profession) isn't fit for the adoration of young people, but let's all get real here. Celebrities are widely adored because more people than not find their lives to be more interesting than their own, that their "hero's" lives are somewhat God-like, as in closer to perfection than any lay man.

It's one thing to support a superstar, for years I've been a Rock mark, but it's completely illogical to think a person ultimately prescribes to a new moral facelift upon receiving this surge of success. More importantly, it is foolish to hold celebrities on such esteemed pedestals that when you catch word of their fallible nature (which is what essentially makes us HUMAN) you ultimately judge and sooner or later, discard your once "idol". Loyalty for a hero should definitely go beyond the rumor mill and police beat.

You write: "Why did these people, and the list goes on and on and on, choose the obvious horrible immoral choices they did and let down many fans that look up to them, myself included""" They don't deserve to be where they are today, in the huge arenas, backyards, and in our homes on televisions week in and week out. So, I stopped watching, refusing to support a bunch of ignorant, out of control loose cannons that want to carry on how ever they want to outside of the ring. Not with my hard earned dollar." What gives you the right to decide what is immoral" I don't mean to come off as rude, but you have even gone the length to say that these entertainers have no right to wrestle" That's the whole point they're famous, because they can wrestle, or put on a good show. I suppose Kobe Bryant does not deserve to play in the NBA, nearly all of rock n' rolls legends should be stripped of their musical accolades and Robert Downey, Jr., should never be given another script. If you honestly and full-heartedly believe that moments of weakness in humans lives is a testament to what type of person they truly are, then you might as well turn off your television and your stereo, because believe it or not - nobody's perfect.

You write: "Mick Foley, The Rock, DDP, Ted DiBiase, Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker and Sting are just a few (and many more I have not mentioned) of the true heroes of wrestling. The type of men that lead positively by example in their real lives, which have given back to their fans, and to the world that has embraced them. They are the type of men that should get the "push", that deserve our respect, that will turn what we see today back into the glory of yesterday, for they are the true heroes." I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there are some names in there who have done some things not considered "for the children." Shawn Michaels, while one of the most entertaining superstars in the history of this industry, has had more personal problems with the WWE during his formulative years than most of the names up there. Yes he is a born-again Christian and seems to have made some huge changes in his life, but do you honestly think he's always been that way" Mick Foley has brought more violence to the WWE than anyone I can remember. Is he a wrestling legend" Of course. But he's had demons of his own, I'm sure, just not as well documented as some people. Even The Rock, who seems to be a nice guy in real life, surely didn't act like a complete saint during his tenure with the WWE. (Anybody remember his sexually harrassing comments to Chyna back when he was part of the Nation")

Dave, my point is this: heroes aren't necessarily larger-than-life celebrities. They are lay men like teachers, social workers, police officers, school counselors, coaches, paramedics and more. When you start putting all of your faith into hoping a celebrity will become a martyr of some moral trend, you're only setting yourself up for disappointment. So love wrestling again, watch it with unabashed fervor and put away the part of you that wants to judge. Human error is in our chemistry, it pulses through our DNA like an invisible condition.

Have your heroes, but understand they are essentially just as fallible as the rest of us.
brian weiss wrote:
Ok theres one man who I think we all have forgotten about when the word hero is said when discrbing the wrestling world and that man is "No Gimmick Needed" Chris Candido (rip). Him Eddie G. and Jimmy snuka are all real heros. Kurt Angle is also a hero of mine as he wrestles day in and day out with neck injurys. Sabu- The first time I saw his match (with mick foley at there 2nd meeting) when He landed on his ribs for that Asai Moonsault and got up and keept going. That right there is insprational. Chris Benoit as menchoned as well as Jeff Hardy (not now tho) really prove that Hard work will always pay off if you really set your mind to it. Jeff Has wondered off and many wrestlers will pull a "sean Waltmen"when having an injury. I will agree with you by saying what happend to our hero's.

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