AS I SEE IT – by Bob Magee

Bob Magee
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets

Some thoughts on the passing of Eddie Fatu to open this week’s column.

As I’ve said before, it seems all too often that I fire up my computer and find out about yet another wrestler dying as the result of the “occupational hazards” of wrestling, namely the use of steroids and painkillers. It’s getting really old to see.

When you watch a wrestling ring get put up before a show, and note how little padding the average wrestling has; you have to assume that nearly every wrestler around is taking SOMETHING to deal with the pain. It’s not shocking at all that so many are becoming addicted…maybe shocking that more aren’t.

I work my full-time counseling job for a major trade school chain, as sedentary as you can get by comparison to wrestlers who are taking bumps every night…or even two or three times a week. But getting older and the stress of trying to find jobs for people in the worst economy of a generation, give even me my share of morning aches and pains. Mine usually go away after a hot shower; or at the very most, some aspirin or Tylenol.

Needless to say, it isn’t that simple for the Eddie Fatus of the world.

WWE refuses to deal with the fact that schedules have GOT to be changed to lessen the physical demands. If schedules don’t change, the list of wrestlers dying will get longer and longer and longer. Before WWE supermarks start screaming, I mentioned WWE only because they are realistically the only full-time touring company in the United States…and yes, I DO know they have a treatment program for alumni and wrestlers.

While WWE has instituted that drug treatment program, and drug testing of talent; all too many wrestlers are convinced that they get a black mark on their name in Stamford if they admit to addiction. A case in point is Rey Misterio, Jr. who discussed in his own recent book a painkiller problem that he beat with WWE’s treatment program.

But for all too many wrestlers they are convinced (with some justification) that they can’t work the schedule demanded by a full-time touring company without some help. Then, there are the others who won’t admit to addiction and think they are immortal. The names of Eddie Fatu, Andrew Martin, and a host of others should have been enough proof that they aren’t.

But I have a feeling I’ll be writing about this again…and again…and again.

Now…for much, much better news.

A ton of thanks to all of you who donated toys last Saturday night at Cage of Death XI. As I pretty much hoped they would, CZW fans responded, donating large boxes upon boxes of toys for the children of the Philadelphia area. Despite the reputation among some of the smarkier wrestling fans and wrestling media who have called CZW and its fans “garbage” and worse, the fans and staff of CZW proved that they are anything but. All of those who donated proved they have big hearts, particularly at a time when many are living on tight budgets, and some without jobs of their own.

Thanks to Roger Artigiani of The (ECW) Arena, CZW owner David Markland, CZW promoter Maven Bentley, and the rest of the CZW staff for doing far more than their share to publicize the Toys for Tots effort.

CZW fans gave a standing ovation to the US Marines who worked the Toys for Tots collection inbetween the pre-show and the start of Cage of Death XI. Those who attended need to know how much those Marines appreciated it, as well as the kind words from so many fans while coming back in the building from intermission. It is very likely that all of the men they met Saturday night will be getting their orders to go to Afghanistan very shortly (one of them already has done three tours of Iraq/Afghanistan. They can take that good feeling with them while they go overseas soon in service to their country.

Here’s more news on Holiday related charity events for the remainder of the season.

All-Star Wrestling Alliance presents “A Night for the Kids 2” to benefit to benefit “Fox8 Gifts for Kids” on Tuesday, December 15 at the National Guard Armory in Lexington, NC with a 7:30 pm belltime. FOX8/WGHP is kicking off its 21st year of giving back to the community with FOX8 Gifts for Kids. The holiday campaign collects gifts for The Salvation Army chapters of the Piedmont/High Point, NC region.

The ECW Arena, as it does every year, will feature Toys for Tots collections at shows taking place at the “World’s Most Famous Bingo Hall” each Holiday season at its shows, doing a great job at CZW’s Cage of Death XI.

The final show at The Arena with such a collection will take place on Sunday, December 20th at 3 pm The Maven Bentley Association LLC, Combat Zone Wrestling and The Arena Present their first ever Christmas Spectacular “The Santa Claus Smackdown”.

Already signed to appear will be Santa Claus!

St. Nick has promised to make an impact in South Philly before flying around the world to spread joy to all the girls and boys! Also appearing are CZW Wrestling Stars including DJ Hyde, Joe Gacy, Drew Gulak and more.

Maven Bentley promises a afternoon of family fun and will don one of his traditionally goofy personas if fans bring toys for less fortunate children.

Maven will even personally donate $5.00 to Save Our Streets Philly for each person who brings a toy. Suggested donations are $10.00 or $5.00 and a new unwrapped toy.

Happy Holidays from the MBA, CZW and The Arena!

Down in Virginia, Marvin Ward and David Hebner have teamed up with the US Marines Toys For Tots program to help needy children in Virginia experience the joy of Christmas. Staff of WHE will be volunteering their time and efforts over the next couple weeks gathering donations and supplies for the program. ‘The goal will be to collect as many toys and contributions as we can before Christmas so we can assure happiness in as many kids lives as possible this Christmas’ stated Hebner.

‘The economy is in really bad shape; the worse I have ever seen it in my lifetime. Parents are struggling and doing everything they can just to keep heat in the house and food on the table and at the end of the day they have nothing left. The kids have to suffer for it and it’s not right. We want to help these parents out as much as we can. If we can help 10 families out this Christmas, then we have brought joy and happiness and made a difference in people’s lives.’ stated Ward. Ward Hebner Entertainment will spread a little extra joy this year as Marvin and David along with Short Sleeve Sampson and several other wrestlers will be joining the convoy helping deliver gifts.

“How much more joy can you get in your heart to see the faces of parents and children when you pull up in their driveway and they know thanks to donations and help from the community, their family will have a nice Christmas. That’s what it’s all about, and we are honored to help.” stated Hebner. If you would like to make a donation or get involved with the Toys for Tots program, go to this link and click on the link at the top of the website.

If you’d like to make a direct donation to the Marine Toys for Tots foundation, you can go to this link.

Until next time….

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