MAIN EVENT AT CASTLE DANGER
#4 – Tired and Unsurprised
NOTE: I’ll just put the allegedly* here as a catchall, even though I’m not referring to people by names.
Quiet week in the wrestling world, eh?
It’s the kind of news week that makes me want to write, especially with how topical everything is at the moment, and yet I find myself not in a writer’s block, but in feeling exhausted from trying to think of how to put into words what I’ve been feeling this week. What makes me sad for the business though is that nothing I’ve heard all week surprised me even in the slightest. While surprise isn’t a qualifier for having a negative reaction (I’m looking at you, everyone who asks “are you surprised” when something bad happens to them), it just makes me sad. Sad that some things haven’t changed, some things will likely never change, and that some people don’t even want them to change.
It’s easy to defend people who are put on a platform, even when they’re problematic, and that unfortunately gives them a lot more leeway than the average person gets. That is a general statement that applies to way more than wrestling, but within the weird subculture of professional wrestling fandom, we have perhaps a more extreme microcosm of the concept. People from the wrestling business have done heinous things, likely way more than we will ever know about, but their music hits and we remember the times where, in character, they contributed to our joy, our nostalgia, and distracted us from the realities of the world. I’m not oblivious to this, and I have to separate my nostalgia from awfulness done by the people portraying these characters quite often. It’s not easy.
But also, can you believe the guy who wore a neckbrace to his trial about steroids, even though he wasn’t injured, would react to major legal issues going mainstream by putting himself over on television? Can you believe the guy who regularly had his “character” make out with women less than half his age might have some unsettling relationships pushed under the rug? Can you fathom for one second the guy who ran a company where women were regularly dehumanized and objectified instead of treated like legitimate wrestlers, even after the supposed revolution, is probably also problematic toward them out of character?
You get the picture.
The oldest cliche in the book about wrestling characters is how the best ones are their true personalities but turned up to 11. This guy’s storylines have often involved more of an incest fetish than any mainstream porn site, including the notorious one in 2003 that was rejected about his own daughter’s pregnancy. They’ve involved making a woman get on her knees and bark like a dog while involved in an affair with a man in power exploiting her in front of his comatose wife. He fires women for being “too old” at age 38 while the male wrestlers are regularly well over 50 and still headlining PPVs. Yeah, I can’t find myself surprised at this week’s news in the slightest, but the skeletons in this guy’s closet probably have to regularly perform stripteases for him just to have the privilege of remaining there.
I haven’t watched his product regularly in five years, and I still feel dirty about having nostalgia for it because I loathe the human being primarily responsible for creating them. There are people from the wrestling business who have done worse things, as the year 2007 alone can regularly be pointed to as an example of how bad it can get, but that doesn’t make it okay. A few people behaving badly in a far worse capacity does not excuse bad behavior by people in power.
The things we know are likely even worse than the things we do know. What hasn’t been disclosed because of legal agreements, however, likely wouldn’t change anything any more than what the Wall Street Journal released, because we’ve seen what this person does when he’s in trouble. He parades himself in front of a live crowd, flexes his muscles, and calls on the minions to defend him at all costs in the name of the wrestling community. Seeing Dr. Martha Hart make an appearance in another company made me think of what she had to go through with this person, especially if you’ve seen the Dark Side of the Ring episode about how her husband was put in a carelessly dangerous situation, and the show went on without even letting the live crowd know what happened.
I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know, as Sean O’Haire once said before the etch-a-sketch creative tried to convince us that it never happened along with the millions of other abandoned characters and storylines on the Island of Misfit Works. They’re a neighbor of the Formerly Extended Names Atoll, for the record. In addition to the suspension of disbelief we must have to watch the product as the basis of its existence, there are also many times where we have to hold our noses for the sake of something we love in order to continue having something in our lives that has given us years of moments and memories. Unfortunately for me, a lot of this nostalgia was ruined before this particular incident was put out in the mainstream, but that’s nothing in comparison to those who have suffered and been dehumanized for the sake of a gross old man who acts like teflon when it comes to anything problematic he’s ever done.
I’m not saying the section of wrestling in which I choose to live doesn’t have its demons. We just saw one this week, where we saw relapse that thankfully did not lead to anyone else being harmed by terrible choices. However, it also makes me realize that a man in his late 70s booking himself to win a match against a former professional football player half his age. giving 100 percent of the offense in the process, might also have a massive ego problem when it comes to everything else.
In short, the only thing that makes me sadder than how none of this has surprised me in the slightest is that other people have had to suffer directly for the sake of a creepy old man. But can you imagine being surprised by these allegations and exposes when the guy has said countless times in creative on his own television show, more or less, “Hey pal, this week on my television show, my character is gonna make out with a young woman again because I can.”