(Savannah Morning News, Sunday, March 15, 1953)

By Arthur Whitfield

Everything was going along just fine last night at the Municipal Auditorium until a "Dr. Edwards" stepped out of the audience and called off a match between pro wrestlers Gorgeous George and a young Greek lad named Mike Paidousis.

It wasn’t enough that Mike should absorb George’s insults, P.O. (perfume odor) and the "dirty" tactics of his opponent.

Oh, no, that wasn’t enough. Poor Mike had to go ram himself, accidentally, into a corner post of the ring and injure his shoulder so bad, our friend "Dr. Edwards" said, as to cause discontinuance of the feature match and award a victory to the goldielocked pretty one.

Highlighting a card stacked with three matches, George and Paidousis had grappled and groaned and bounced and moaned for a full half hour or more without a fall being credited to either when tragedy befell Mike, who was introduced as a former University of Tennessee football player.

Mike had done well for himself and proved to be a real crowd pleaser. Only one person in the audience, a woman, sided with the Gorgeous boy. So things rolled along in the usual manner.

Until . . .

Gorgeous George, who really ain’t gorgeous looking when you view him from the first seat in the second row in the right orchestra section, broke loose from one of Mike’s All-America grips, bounced up and skipped about the ring, his golden tresses now a mass of damp and stringy hair.

He had made Mike mad, real mad. So Mike, with full approval of the crowd, waded in (somewhat literally, you might say, in view of all the perfume sprayed about the area) and frowned at his opponent.

With arms in a ready position, Mike faked a right, then a left, then another one of each.

Then Gorgeous George faked heart trouble.

Mike, our hero (mainly because he was wearing light trunks; it seems the villain always wears dark clothes), began a series of bounces off the ropes and into the confused and stunned George. But on the third bounce, George weaved out of the way, and Mike met the corner post with his shoulder.

Sure that their hero would return and finish off the villainous George, after conceding a fall to check his shoulder injury, the crowd watched Goldielocks as his second (dressed resplendently in the kind of clothes you wear to morning nuptials) go through rest-period antics, which included:

Smelling salts (or maybe a sniff of sashay) for George’s sore nostrils, a cooling off of George’s face with a baby blue towel, and assorted dainty measures to insure proper prophylaxis to the area.

But, at that point, the master of ceremonies summoned a doctor from the audience. Any doctor, he said; Mike was hurt pretty bad, it seemed.

After a decent interval of time, the emcee returned to announce the tragedy. "Dr. Edwards" said there would be no more for the night for poor Mike, who might bring on a permanent injury if he pursued victory any longer.

But there was consolation for the fans. Their heroes in the earlier matches had fared well for themselves. Atlanta’s Don McIntyre bested black-trunked Howard Cantonwine in the opener and handsome Tex Reilly came out of his match with a draw against Henry Harrell, also of the dark trunks.


(Chicago Tribune, July 7, 1954)

Bob McCune of Des Moines will meet Lou Thesz, world champion, in one of six bouts comprising Leonard Schwartz’ wrestling program tonight in Rainbo Arena, 4836 N. Clark St.

In the opening bout, scheduled for 8:30 o’clock, the tag match team of Dutch Hefner-Bobby Nelson will meet Jack Carter-Jon Arjon.

McCune, whom his admirers refer to as Mr. Ameica, is conceded a good chance of scoring an upset for Thesz, who has his sights set on the July 16 title match against Lu Kim in Rainbo Arena. Kim tonight will wrestle Chris (Cry Baby) Zaharias in the seondary feature.


(Chicago Tribune, July 8, 1954)

Lou Thesz defeated Bob McCune of Des Moines, Ia., in one fall in the main wrestling bout before 1,800 in Rainbo Arena last night. Thesz won the first fall in 19:47. McCune, due to a neck injury, was unable to answer the bell for the second fall.

In other matches, Lu Kim whipped Chris Zaharias in two straight falls; Great Karpozilos defeated Martino Angelo, one fall; Great Balbo beat Zack Malkov, one fall; Ivan Rasputin took two of three falls from Billy Hickson, and Dutch Hefner and Bobby Nelson stopped Jack Carter and Jon Arjon in a two of three fall tag bout.


(Seattle Times, Sunday, April 24, 1955)

Eight wrestlers will take part in a "battle royal" program tomorrow night at the Trianon Ballroom. The opening match will start at 8:30 o’clock.

The grapplers on the card include Roger Mackay, Red Vagnone, Danno McDonald, Al Fridell, Buddy Knox, Cal Roberts, Gino Nicolini and Frank Hurley.


(Las Vegas Review-Journal, Thursday, March 1, 1956)

A three-ply circus of rassle talent will be on view tonight at KLRJ-TV studios, with a match between Samoan champion Prince Kimo and the former "Mr. America" from Long Beach, Bob McCune, attracting the most attention.

Prince Kimo has been a crowd pleaser in the east and middle-west and has developed some new mat techniques that have baffled his opponents. In the muscular McCune, however, the South Pacific grappler figures to have his hands – and legs – plenty full.

Two other all-star bouts make up the triple main event starting at 9 p.m. Wiry Pepe Pasquale, a fellow-townsman of McCune, is slated to start things off against the clever Al Kashey, who learned most of his tricks from his dad – the celebrated King Kong. The Kasheys are from Los Angeles.

The other match brings together slippery Treacherous Phillips, Portland, Ore., and the tough guy from Salt Lake City, Buzz Jones. Tickets are on sale at Ringside Liquor Store, 1561 South Main Street.


(Chicago Tribune, July 1, 1956)

Reggie and Stan Lisowski beat Nick Bockwinkel and Seymour Koenig two out of three falls in last night’s tag team wrestling bout in Marigold arena. The event headlined a six-bout card. Dick the Bruiser beat Bozo Brown in two falls in the semi-windup. Other results:

Angelo Poffo beat Dave Jons; Sheik of Araby beat Don Cortez; Hans Hermann beat Tony Ross; Jack Allen beat Benito Gardini.


(Chicago Tribune, July 6, 1956)

By Frank Mastro

The sixth wrestling show of the year will be held in International Amphitheater tonight, headed by Lou Thesz and Wilbur Snyder, and attended by an expected 8,000. The bout is booked for two of three falls with a one-hour time limit.

Thesz, once holder of the National Wrestling Alliance’s title, was held to a draw by Snyder in a previous Chicago appearance. In a rematch, Snyder, considered one of the cleanest wrestlers in the business, was disqualified for alleged foul tactics.

Snyder, 26, has been wrestling professionally for more than three years and is predicted by promoter Fred Kohler as a fellow who will be ranked with such former wrestling greats as Ed (Strangler) Lewis and Jim Londos.

An Australian tag team match on the card will involve Reggie and Stan Lisowski against Hans Schmidt and Dick the Bruiser.

Nick Bockwinkel, talented 21-year-old Los Angeles heavyweight, is paired with the Sheik of Araby. Nick is a protégé of his father, Warren, who was a mat star in his own right when he was wrestling Londos, Lewis and Wayne (Big) Munn a generation ago. Nick played football at the University of Oklahoma until he suffered injuries to both knees. The complete card:

Wilbur Snyder vs. Lou Thesz, two of three falls, one hour time limit.

Reggie and Stan Lisowski vs. Hans Schmidt and Dick the Bruiser, two of three falls, one hour.

Bill Melby vs. Benito Gardini, one fall, 30 minutes.

Nick Bockwinkel vs. Sheik of Araby, one fall, 30 minutes.

Angelo Poffo vs. Don Pollock, one fall, 30 minutes.


(Chicago Tribune, Saturday, July 7, 1956)

By Frank Mastro

Wilbur Snyder, national television wrestling champion, and Lou Thesz, former National Wrestling Alliance titleholder, battled to a one-hour draw last night in the International Amphitheater.

A crowd of 8,853, which included Frank Gilmer, Illinois Athletic Commission chairman, and his guest, Andy Rascher, chairman of the Indiana Athletic Commission, cheered both performers at the conclusion of the grueling struggle which failed to produce a fall.

Thesz was on defense for a good part of the battle, but managed to avert trouble. Referee Stan Sarbarneck, a lieutenant on the Chicago police force who serves as physical education director at the Central station, preserved order throughout the scrap.

The gross gate was $24,825. Other results:

Angelo Poffo beat Don Pollock, 8:30, Italian neck breaker; Sheik of Araby beat Nick Bockwinkel, 11:32, Arabian sleeper hold; Bill Melby beat Benito Gardini, 11:45, Cobra twist; Australian tag team of Reggie and Stan Lisowski beat Hans Schmidt and Dick the Bruiser, 15:22, and disqualification of Schmidt-Bruiser after the Lisowskis won the second fall in 7:10.


(Chicago Tribune, Friday, June 2, 1956)

Wilbur Snyder retained his national television wrestling title last night in International Amphitheater much to the delight of 7,132 spectators who saw him win two of three falls from Hans Schmidt of Montreal.

Snyder, former football star, won the first fall in 17 minutes and 16 seconds with the successful application of an abdominal stretch. Schmidt took the second in 9:42 with a combination of holds termed by the ring announcer as scissors, back breaker, and body press.

But Snyder prevailed just when all seemed lost, pinning Schmidt in 8:57 with something called a cobra twist. Gross gate was $18,000. Other results:

Reggie and Stan Lisowski beat Sheik of Araby and Angelo Poffo, two of three falls.

Dick the Bruiser threw Bob Orton, 13:47.

Bill Melby threw Billy Goelz, 23:30.

Rose Roman threw Ramona Te Selle, 12:17.

Don Pollock threw Zack Malkov, 16:14.








(The Queen’s Journal, January 16, 2001)

By Peter Jaworski

Outside his day job, Sean Morley is a bit of a politics buff. Having run his political newsletter, Hardball, for the last few years, the Canadian and self-described libertarian is outspoken to say the least. Here Sean Morley shares his thoughts on his choice of career, consenting adults and how the Libertarian Party can save Canada from itself.

"What are your dogs names?" I managed to ask as they swarmed me in Sean Morley's home, nearly knocking me over.

"The big one is Nixon, the lighter one is Jupiter," he said.

Trying to get my shoes off, which is always difficult with two dogs getting their paws into your hair, I asked him why 'Nixon.'

"Cause he was the only president with balls."

Sean Morley's more familiar name is Val Venis, former porn star turned conservative censorship advocate, and a member of the bad-guy group, the Right To Censor. This 6"3', 250 lb. World Wrestling Federation superstar is a lot bigger in person than he looks on television. They say television adds thirty pounds, I say it takes away about a foot and a half and trims you down by a couple of kilo's.

He led me into his kitchen while his girlfriend, Lorna (to whom I was introduced), caged us in, apparently to keep the dogs from interrupting. I suspected it had less to do with dogs than it did with familiar surroundings.

He grabbed a caffeine-free Diet Coke (says he loves the stuff) and I declined his offer of bubbly sugar for a glass of water… I didn't feel like burping throughout the interview.

Wrestling has a strange reputation. It grew to enormous heights in the early eighties and, for one reason or another, began to peter off until it hit a slump where it festered for a while. More recently it has surged once again, reaching greater heights than ever. True, Hulk Hogan was always a familiar name, but now folks like the Rock, the Undertaker, Big Poppa Pump, and Stone Cold Steve Austin are entering the linguistic box of professors, social scientists, and legislators all over the place. Especially the latter.

It was with this in mind that I spoke to Sean, or Mr. Venis, hoping to find out about all the hoopla with children mimicking wrestlers, the calls for censorship, the popularity of professional wrestling, and to finally nail down the niche it finds itself in. The conversation shifted quickly into politics and all things political. Here Sean talks about his views on drugs, wrestling, prostitution, the Canadian Alliance, Jean Chretien, Pat Buchanan and, of course, Richard Nixon.

Peter Jaworski: I wanted to talk a little bit about wrestling. I don't follow wrestling a lot, so you'll forgive me if I don't know enough about all the characters, I wanted to know whether or not you think it more of a soap opera for guys or a sport. Or both?

Sean Morley: (clarifying) Sports entertainment-it's both. It's athletics combined with controversial story lines, so it's like an athletic soap opera. There's nowhere else where you're going to find athletics, controversy and a story line all rolled into one, you know, except in pro-wrestling.

PJ: There's quite a bit of controversy with regards to wrestling and violence. According to some, children who watch wrestling sometimes mimic the 'moves' in the schoolyard. Anything you want to say about that?

SM: I think it's something that the parents have to control. I think it's their responsibility for teaching the children. I mean, we're there to entertain people, we're not there to educate them. The sole responsibility for educating kids falls on the parents. Anything from math, English, all the way to what is really on television.

You see, for instance, high divers jumping off of cliffs, doing backflips, and you wouldn't have a child going up to the top of the cliff and say 'go try that.' You'd tell them, 'hey, that's a professional up there,' and that's the parents responsibility to let the kids know that those are professional's there who are highly trained and they do get hurt.

I've been hurt many, many times. And it's something they should stay away from until after their education. After their education, if it's something that they want to pursue, then it would be their choice.

PJ: You were a kid once, so was I. I got access to the television even if my parents

disapproved. In a lot of cases, both parents are working. So it's only natural that some folks will ask the government to step in and maybe put some kind of restriction on wrestling for the kids that fall through the cracks. Shouldn't government have some role to play here?

SM: No, I don't think the government is responsible for that at all. I think if two people are going to decide to have children then they should take full responsibility for educating their children regardless of what their jobs are. Their jobs are not more important than raising their children. You can let your kid watch professional wrestling on television on his own as long as he's educated and knows that those are professionals on TV. You don't have to stay with him 24-7, just make sure that he knows that those are professionals in there who are highly trained. As long as a child knows that, and he understands that, then you can let him watch whatever he wants to watch.

PJ: So it's the parents responsibility in all these cases?

SM: Absolutely.

(to be continued)


(ED. NOTE: The Peter Jaworski-Sean Morley aka Val Venis interview continues, as reprinted from The Queen’s Journal, January 16, 2001)

PJ: What about the schoolyard. What happens there if some kid wants to try out a Fishermen's suplex or a DDT on some poor youngster, what should happen there?

SM: Kids are going to be kids no matter what. I think the responsibility falls on the parents initially, but once those parents pass the children off to the teachers, the teachers should be there when the children are out at recess and watch for behaviour that the parents would not allow. It becomes the teacher's responsibility.

PJ: Teacher's can't see everything, though. It won't always be possible to prevent kids from doing such things.

SM: Not always, no. But there's always going to be accidents no matter what you do. That's part of life-accidents happen and there's little you can do to get around it. As far as trying to take every piece of danger away from the child, you actually take being a child away from being a child. Kids get hurt. Whether it be tobogganing down a hill, whether it be skiing, or learning how to ski. You know, I remember learning how to ski when I was six years old. I crashed into trees, fences, wrapped myself around one of those ski lift poles one time. I got hurt a lot trying to learn how to ski. So I think that danger will always be in a child's life, it's part of being a kid. That's what's fun about being a kid-there's always stuff to learn and when you're learning you will sometimes get hurt.

PJ: But maybe we could reduce some of that danger by eliminating some of the influences like, for instance, wrestling. If we could cater it more towards adults and less towards kids, maybe that would help.

SM: You know, I wouldn't say that exactly. Even before I started to watch wrestling, when I was younger, I used to wrestle my brother not even thinking about what was on TV. I hadn't seen wrestling yet. I used to just grab him and throw him on the ground, you know. It's part of a kid's nature just to wrestle around. I remember playing in the park when I was a child and me and my brother were wrestling about twelve feet up in the air on this little square thing that you climb a rope ladder up to get to. I had a fall, right off, and I landed straight flat on my back into the sand. I didn't get hurt but I very well could have and I didn't even know what wrestling was at the time. So I don't think wrestling is what's going to make children do things they wouldn't normally do because they're going to wrestle around whether they know what wrestling is or not.

PJ: Kids will be kids?

SM: Yeah, kids will be kids. Absolutely.

PJ: When did you get involved in wrestling?

SM: When I was 18. I was doing wrestling all through high school, Olympic-style wrestling. In my last year of high school, on the weekends, I started training as a professional, every weekend for a year. I was down at Dewey Robertson's house in Hamilton. After I graduated from high school, the very next day I got my first full-time wrestling job over in England and that's when I started wrestling full time.

PJ: And when did you get plucked by the WWF?

SM: Three years ago, [this month]. I was working in Mexico and Japan, travelling back and forth, just made a few connections and they brought me in. The [WWF] made me one offer when I was in Japan but it didn't match my Japan offer and I was happy [there]. The second time came when I was in Mexico and I signed on.

PJ: One of your dogs is called Nixon, and you said that 'Nixon was the only president with balls.' can you explain that? Why does Nixon have 'balls?'

SM: Out of all of the president's of the United States, I think he was the only one who had the guts to say that this is right and this is wrong and he got chastised for it. I admire that. I admire someone who can actually stand up and say 'you know, it doesn't matter what the majority wants because the majority is wrong.' And there are many times when the majority is wrong. If you look back in the late 18th century when slavery was rampant, the majority of the white people believed that blacks were only good enough for slavery. That was the majority that believed that-they were still wrong. It didn't make them right. If you had taken a poll during World War II and you were to ask Germans what they thought of Hitler, the majority of the people would have held Hitler up on a pedestal. That was the majority that believed that and it didn't make them right. So I think for President Nixon to actually say that, 'in this case, the majority is wrong and I'm just going to do what is right,' took a lot of balls. It takes balls to stand up and say that.

PJ: What do you mean in particular? Like what sorts of things?

SM: Just different issues like during...um...I've got this one thing in my mind as a perfect example. It's on the tip of my tongue...

PJ: All I remember about Nixon is the Watergate thing...

SM: (suddenly remembering) The creation of the DEA! The majority of the people felt that he should create a Drug Enforcement Agency and he thought, 'no, I'm not going to spend taxpayers money on an agency that is just going to end up invading people's privacy. And he says, 'no, we're not going to do it.' He got chastised and, eventually, the DEA did come around but not because of him… he was totally against it.

In effect, he said 'no, this is going to invade people's privacy, this is going to be another arm for government to intrude into people's private lives.' And he stood up against this. And that's just one instance. I think it took a lot of balls to say that.

PJ: It sounds like you don't support the DEA.

SM: Oh, absolutely not. How long has that 'war' been going on for? 40 years now? Any day now, is it going to be over (laughter)? I think it's a waste of people's money. It's just creating government jobs that, to me, these types of government jobs are just welfare jobs. I mean, these people are invading other people's privacy, there have been many, many innocent people who have been convicted of crimes that they haven't committed under the Drug Enforcement Agency laws.

They call it the 'war on drugs' but when's it gonna end? I mean, the war hasn't changed a thing. They catch a few people here, they catch a few people there, but it hasn't changed a thing, it's just wasting taxpayer's money. I don't think you can control what people want to do.

I'm not for drugs, I'm totally against them, but that's my private view. I choose not to, but if my next-door neighbour chooses to smoke dope well then that's his choice.

PJ: You mention dope, a more or less innocuous narcotic. What about things like crack-cocaine, or heroine or something of that sort?

SM: Well, okay, the DEA is still taking taxpayer money like crazy for things like administration, for field work, for everything and they're still not stopping someone from doing cocaine. It's still happening. Besides, they're making criminals out of people who are doing things to their own bodies. Now when somebody commits a crime under the influence of crack-cocaine or whatever they should not be able to use that as an excuse. They committed the crime, they should be held absolutely responsible for their crime. They shouldn't be allowed to pass off the reason for why they committed the crime off on drugs. They committed the crime, under the influence or not, they committed the crime and they should be held responsible. As far as stopping that person from doing cocaine, you just cannot do it--the drug war has proven that. You can't stop someone from taking cocaine.

PJ: But you can throw them in jail.

SM: You can throw them in jail but now you're not only taking taxpayer's money for administration costs for the DEA, but now you're taking more of the taxpayer's money to put a roof over that criminal's head, to feed that criminal, to pay for electricity, for cable television. And eventually when he gets out he's going to use again. So really it doesn't change a thing.

PJ: Okay, what about here in Canada where we have a public health care system? Some folks reason that if we can prevent people from doing drugs some time early we might save our health care system money down the line...

SM: I'm actually against the public health care system here in Canada.

PJ: Completely against the health care system?

SM: Yes. It's a socialist health care system and socialism has never worked on any part of this planet-and it's never going to work. It's slowly starting to show deterioration, they're making cuts to it, they're trying to find funding for it, it's something that's eventually going to... well, we're spending money like crazy just to support it now and we're still making cuts. I think universal health care is actually a lot more expensive than private health care. I might have my figures mixed up but, if I remember correctly, I think that in Canada it costs something like 7000 dollars for a family of four, on average. Whereas down in the United States you can get full coverage for a family of four for about 3500 Canadian and you don't have to wait six months for an MRI. You can get it the next day, just like that.

PJ: But you have to make a choice. In the United States you're not automatically covered, you have to make the decision to go out and get coverage.

SM: You have to go out and get your own insurance, yeah. And everyone is responsible for their own health. I'm not responsible for my neighbour's health and he's not responsible for mine-I'm responsible for my own.

PJ: What happens to people who can't afford health care?

SM: I think those who can't afford health care can fall back on charity or they can fall back on their family members. There are a lot of other ways around it. I'll give you an example. I read this from a guy named Neil Bortz, he's the number one radio talk show host in Atlanta and he used this analogy. I think it's really good. Say we live in a triplex, and I live in apartment number one, you live in apartment number two and Joe-Blow lives in apartment number three. Joe-blow never saved a lot of money, could never hold down a job and always figured that the bond on his Camaro was more important than paying for his health insurance. Now he's lost his job again, he's drinking beer, whatever it is that Joe-Blow likes to do. You being the charitable soul that you are, you see that Joe-Blow is about to lose his electricity. So you go over there, scrounge up two hundred bucks and you give it to him. 'Here you go Joe-Blow, here's two hundred bucks to help you out.' Next month comes along and he's in the similar situation except now he's not just about to lose his electricity, he's also about to lose his apartment. So you decide to come over to my apartment, knock on my door and say, 'listen, here's Joe-Blow's situation, could you scrounge up some money so we could help him out?' I tell you, 'well, Peter, I've got a daughter I'm trying to put through university, I have some medical bills I have to pay for myself, I'm trying to save up some money for a down payment for a house so that I can get out of this apartment building. I'm sorry but I can't help you out. I sympathize with him but I just can't help you out.' Now you decide to pull out a gun, put it to my head and say, 'no, Joe-Blow needs this money more than you need the money. Hand it over and I'll be back next month for more.' Do you have a right to do that? No. Case in point-do you have a right to ask somebody else to walk into my apartment and do it for you? No. So nobody, the majority or nobody has the right to tell the government to come into my house, take my money and give it to Joe-Blow.

PJ: What about compassion?

SM: Oh, absolutely… that's what charity is for. Charities are compassionate organizations and that's what they're there for. I think charity is a great thing. It's fun, there are tonnes of charitable things that people can do. I've participated in some of them and I think it's something people should do. It's great on compassionate grounds. The guy who's in apartment number one has a gun to his head and is being forced to be compassionate and I think being forced to be compassionate is only good in a communist country, not in a free country (laughter).

PJ: Would you even call it compassion if someone is putting a gun to your head?

SM: Absolutely not. That's just pure force. 'We're going to force you to be compassionate and give us your money (laughter).' For compassionate reasons... (laughter).

PJ: Some people say that if only people knew better, in cases like health care, we're doing it for their own good. If they had all the knowledge that the government's experts have (and let's grant that the government has a slew of experts) and if only the common Joe had the experts necessary then they would come to an enlightened decision about their own health care. So we're just bypassing that step.

SM: I think that every person, when deciding to start a family, has the responsibility to protect that family. It's my responsibility to educate my children, it's my responsibility to take care of my children's health. It's not my next-door neighbor's responsibility. And being a man, I think a man and a woman have to get together and do that. I think that when the government comes in and takes the responsibility out of the family and says, 'you know, you don't have to be responsible for that anymore, we're going to be responsible for that.' Well I think that's wrong. I think that responsibility has to be given back to the family. When you start taking responsibility away from the families, families slowly start becoming un-knit and they start breaking down which is what we see right across North America. The divorce rate is at an all time high and people just don't care. 'I don't care about my child's schooling, it's free. Just send him down to the local public school.' Eventually families just start breaking down because they have no more responsibility, the responsibility now rests with the government.

The government says, 'oh, you can't find a job, don't worry, it's no big deal we'll take care of you.' Where's the incentive to work now? They fall back on the social safety net such as welfare or unemployment insurance. You know, I think that every single time the government has taken the responsibility out of the family, for the family's own good, or because the government feels that they know better than you do, I think that that just leads to a slow deterioration of families.

PJ: So you would rest some of the blame for the decline in family values on the government's door?

SM: Oh, yeah, at least in part. Right now, especially here in Canada, it's socialist. I mean, I don't feel free here at all, I feel like a slave. I am a slave. You pay fifty percent of your money to the government and you're only paying fifty percent because they say that you owe fifty percent. But next year they might bump it up five more percent. 'We take what we want to take' is there attitude, 'and we leave you with whatever we feel we don't need.' I think that's wrong. I think the income tax should be abolished. The income tax is a slavery tax, it really is. You know, I own my work, labor, skills and talent: true or false?

PJ: Personally, 'true.' Other folks would disagree.

SM: Exactly. Especially government officials (laughter). If I'm trading my work, labor, skills or talent for compensation, then that compensation should be my private property. I'm trading my property for their property. And I think once I receive that compensation then that should be my property. If I have a right to life, liberty and property then they have no right to come in and take a portion of my property.

Now, as far as funding government, I think a National Retail Sales Tax would be a perfect thing. Something like the GST.

PJ: So you think something like the GST should be the only tax in existence with everything else falling out?

SM: Yeah, I think it should be a tax like that. I actually think the GST should be abolished and replaced with something like a National Retail Sales Tax. The GST is something that I'm still learning about but I suspect that it's a bad tax, the way it's set up. But, yeah, definitely, I think we should abolish the income tax completely and if you earn a dollar you should keep a dollar, that's your dollar. And I think we should implement a tax to fund the government to run its constitutional duties. Not to run social safety nets. I was actually reading in [National Post's Boomer] magazine that Chretièn gave billions of dollars to Amtrack, an American-run company to help it expand in the United States and Amtrack bought products from his brothers or his friends company in Quebec. Amtrack used that money to buy the products from Quebec. That's taxpayers' money. You might as well just give the taxpayers that company straight off, but, you know, it's ridiculous it really is. I think that kind of money corrupts politicians. And when they have the power to make criminals out of hard working people (when hard working people don't pay their taxes they become criminals), I think that's wrong. Not in a free country.

(to be continued)


(ED. NOTE: The Peter Jaworski-Sean Morley aka Val Venis interview continues, as reprinted from The Queen’s Journal, January 16, 2001)

PJ: Have you been following Canadian politics?"

SM: I've just started recently. I just bought this house in June so I've been getting involved as much as I can. When I have free time (laughter)

PJ: What do you think of the Canadian Alliance?"

SM: Well, I think they're better than the Liberals or the Conservatives, especially the NDP (laughter). They're better, but they're not there. This flat tax thing is still a slave tax. 17 percent flat tax seems like a good idea but you're still a slave, you still owe 17 percent on every dollar you make. So, basically, you don't own your skill, labor, work or talent. In a free country you do own that skill, labor, work and talent and when you trade that for compensation then that also becomes your property. They're a lot better, but they're just not there.

PJ: So you're getting more involved in Canadian politics, and I'm assuming you're going to be affiliated solely with the Libertarian Party or more or less with the Libertarian Party...

SM: Yeah, more or less with the Libertarian Party.

PJ: ...Do you have any intention to run for office?

SM: Not any time in the near future. I want to become more of a spokesperson, I'm involved with wrestling right now so I'm busy as heck. I'd love to be a spokesperson for the Libertarian Party and really try to get them built to where it can actually be something of a force. And not just in Ontario but across Canada. I know it was de-registered federally a while ago. I'd like to get it registered again and get some support for it. It's tough, you get a lot of bleeding heart liberals out there who base all their arguments on feeling and emotion and when you counteract their arguments with actual arguments that are based on fact and logic, you back them into a corner they'll start kicking, screaming, calling you a criminal, call you uncompassionate, you know what I mean? You can really get them stirred up. That would make for a great radio show (laughter)

PJ: I was trying to run an analogy between yourself and Governor Jesse 'The Body' Ventura in Minnesota. Are there many wrestler's of your opinion?

SM: There's a certain percentage that are. I mean, a lot of them, when I first started debating with them, are liberal. Everybody is pretty much a liberal until they start looking into it a bit more. Once they start debating with more conservative people or more libertarian people they start changing their ways, if they accept their ways. One guy in particular, Prince Albert, he's a wrestler, I drive with him and him and I spend hours debating as we're driving from city to city. When I first started debating with him he was a hard-core left-wing liberal and now he's very conservative and he's got a few libertarian views. But he's very conservative now which is totally opposite to what it used to be. Again his arguments were based on feeling and emotion and once I started attacking them with fact and logic, well, slowly he started accepting the fact that he was... that he was wrong (laughter).

PJ: Okay, let's talk about the irony of your political stance with your alter-ego's in the Right To Censor. Whose idea was the Right to Censor?"

SM: [WWF owner and creative genius] Vince McMahon's. The Right To Censor... I don't know if you know of the PTC, the Parent Television Council? And the PTC was actually trying to get the WWF kicked off of television. They were promoting to WWF sponsor's in order to get them to drop their sponsorships. And a few of them did, Coca Cola did, Walmart did, there's a few others that did. So what happened was Vince McMahon said that we need somebody to play the part of the PTC. But we're not going to call it the PTC, we're going to call it the RTC, the Right To Censor. Because that is essentially what they want to do. They feel they have a right to censor all of North America and decide what we can or cannot watch. So I said, 'hey, I'll do it.' Basically we're mocking them, we're mocking the PTC. So a bunch of us got together and formed the Right To Censor and now we do everything that they do in real life on television. We're just mocking them. If we can get people to hate the Right To Censor, then maybe people won't support the Parent Television Council either.

PJ: I get the sense that the major demographic for the WWF is for those below 18.

SM: You'd be surprised. I've seen old, old ladies in the front row yelling and screaming all the way down to little kids. The demographic is huge, it's wide spread. One would think that to watch wrestling folks would be under 18, but that's not true. It's wide spread.

PJ: Why did Vince McMahon want to start up the RTC? Was it strictly as a response to the PTC or did he have some bigger political objectives?

SM: Strictly as a response to the PTC. Just to try to get people to understand that, 'hey, there's an organization out there that is trying to censor you people.'

PJ: Has the Parent Television Council responded in any way?

SM: Not that I know of, no. I know that there is a legal battle. The Parent Television Council, in advertisements all across the States, claimed that they managed to get a lot of advertisers to drop the WWF and they listed a whole pile of them. They listed some advertisers that were never pulled. So there is a big lawsuit with the WWF over false advertising. But, no, there hasn't been a lot of response to the Right To Censor, so to speak.

PJ: You mention Coke as one of the sponsor's that did pull out? And you're drinking Diet Coke?

SM: Yes, absolutely, I love this stuff. You know, Diet Coke, Diet Pepsi, it's all the same to me. One week it's Coke and the next it's Pepsi."

PJ: Hardball. Do you still run Hardball, your political newsletter?"

SM: Yeah, I actually haven't done it for the last couple of months just because I was real busy over Christmas. I tried to get it on the web, it's been on paper for a few years.

PJ: Do you have any copies here?

SM: I don't have them here, they're at my mom's house. I just bought this house and I haven't bothered to bring them over here yet. I had it on paper for a few years, tried to put it on the web about three months ago but the webmaster... you know, I'd go on there every once in a while to see what he'd done with it but it would be down, then the next week it would be up and it would have things that I didn't want on there, then the next week it would be down again. So, anyway, I'm looking around for a webmaster, so if you know anyone... (laughter)

PJ: What sort of things do you do in Hardball?

SM: I talk about different issues. Issues such as, well, taxes especially. I'm very, very strongly against the income tax. Welfare, health care, all the socialist programs that we have here in Canada. There's a lot of different issues. It basically became a debating paper after a while, people would write in with their views, liberals especially would write in with their views. It became something of a war. A war on paper. I really was trying to attack social programs in it as much as possible.

PJ: I do want to find out what you think the Libertarian Party should do.

SM: Yeah, education definitely. Like I said before, children are being educated by the government. The government wants them to come out liberals, believing in what they are doing. Mr. Kristoff said to me when I was back in high school, that we live in the greatest country in the world and that we have the greatest health care in the world. You don't have to worry about your health, the government takes care of it for you. On the face of it, that sounds really good. It's not until you start looking into it that you actually find out that that socialist health care system is actually a lot more expensive to run than a private health care system. It's also a lot less efficient, I mean you wouldn't have to wait six months for an MRI in a private system, you'd wait for a day, probably get it the same day. You also find out that that socialist health care system is violating people's right to property. The basis of freedom is your right to life, liberty and property. Just that health care system alone is beginning to violate people's property, let alone all the other socialist programs. It wasn't until I started to see that that I began to change my mind.

Hey, what I learned in high school is not what is really going on here. They show you a face, they show you a pretty little face that is only paper thin. Once that's turned sideways you can see right through it. The problem is that you've got to turn it sideways so that people can see through it. If people are being publicly educated by the government, the government is only going to teach them what is on the face of that paper. The government is never going to turn that paper sideways. I think that's why we have the problem of the Libertarian Party not doing very well right now. Because the government is controlling the education system. I think what has to be done is that libertarians have to not so much focus on running people right now, I mean, definitely run people, but let's not make that our focus. Let's make rallies our focus, let's make educational tools and seminars our vehicle for educating people. Radio shows, lets get on some radio shows. Newspapers, let's try and get some articles in the newspapers. Try to educate people to see that what they are taught in high school, what they are taught in college isn't really what is going on. I mean, you're supposed to be learning mathematics, science, maybe a little bit of French in high school. You're supposed to be learning your times tables, whatever, your English, and they are teaching that but they are also teaching you about politics. Like I said, I still remember what Mr. Kristoff said clear as day, because I was excited about it.

'Hey, we live in Canada, we have the greatest health care system in the world, you don't worry about your health care; it's paid for.' And I remember that that left me with such a good feeling: 'hey, I'm awesome, I live in Canada. Greatest health care system in the world.' I think a lot of students come out of high school with that same feeling. And it's not until you start to actually turn that paper sideways to see past it, that you actually see that the socialist health care system is only one of the reasons why Canada's economy is nowhere near as high as the States is. That our taxes are some of the highest in the world. Our deficit is going up and up and up. How much longer are we going to go into debt? Until we can't pay for the interest? Once we can't pay for the interest, let alone the principal, then what happens? We fall apart like Russia? People don't believe that can happen. It can happen. It happened to a superpower. Russia was a superpower and it was filled with social programs-and it fell. And they same thing could happen here in Canada and the health care system is one of the reasons why it could happen.

PJ: Education by way of the media. You think we should aim at radio shows, newspapers and things of that sort. What do you have planned?

SM: I would actually like to start my own radio program once I start getting some more time. I have a few more years left in my contract with the WWF, I'm hoping to get some more time off during the next couple of years. I've been going crazy these last few. Right now my current schedule gives me every Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday off on a normal basis. So I'd like to pick up a radio program maybe on a Thursday or something like that. When I'm at home.

PJ: What about [Canadian university] campus tours?

SM: I'd love to do it. Absolutely. Especially because of the fact that it's a haven for breeding liberals (laughter). You can cause a lot of controversy. And if you cause a lot of controversy, people sit up and actually take notice. You can't be boring. You have to have a lot of controversy involved. Look at Neil Bortz in Atlanta, he's got one of the most controversial radio talk shows in the United States. That's because he gets a lot of liberals to call in and they actually fight on the air. It makes for very interesting radio while educating people at the same time. I think that's a very good thing, definitely.

PJ: And you plan to pursue Hardball when you have more time?

SM: Oh, absolutely. Start doing some more issues. They're not as consistent as they used to be, since I started with the WWF but yeah, I would definitely start shooting them out once again.

PJ: You fought just a little while back. Who did you fight?

SM: On the 31st [of December]. I fought [good-guy wrestler] Billy Gunn.

PJ: Did you win? Who won? I don't have cable...

SM: Yes, I did win. I cheated.

PJ: Fair enough. Height?

SM: Six foot, three inches.

PJ: Weight?

SM: 250 pounds.

PJ: Anything else that I need to know by way of rounding this out?

SM: What have we got? Height, weight...

PJ: ...former porn star, Val Venis, who saw the light, or was enlightened or something...

SM: [The WWF will] eventually go back to the porn star image.

PJ: Oh, right. You were a former porn star...

SM: My character was a porn star!

PJ: Right, right, your character was a former porn star. Now you're a member of the Right To Censor. What do you, Sean Morley, think of pornography?

SM: Um, it's not my cup of tea. Politics is really my cup of tea. Snowmobiling and skiing are my cup of tea. But I think, again, in a free country, if someone is into that thing then they should be allowed to do it.

PJ: Prostitution?

SM: Absolutely. I mean, it's the oldest trade in the world, right? I don't agree with it but if somebody else wants to do that to their body, well then it's their body and they have a right to do whatever they want to do.

PJ: So we've covered all the extremes, drugs, prostitution, adults and consensual crimes: they should be allowed to do it if they want to.

SM: Absolutely. You know, the only thing that should make somebody a criminal in free country is if one violates the right of other individuals to life, liberty or property. Prostitution is an agreement between two adults and you haven't violated anyone's right to life, liberty or property. Kids shouldn't be involved in it...

PJ: So you think the government has a proper function there?

SM: That's not something I've focused on a lot. So I don't know enough about it. Maybe I need to debate about it... That's how I learn a lot. I debate with a lot of libertarians and conservatives. That's how I learn. That's not an issue I've focused on but I'll keep it in mind to think about. My personal opinion right of the top is that children shouldn't be involved in that and, I'm just taking a wild guess, but I think that the parents should be responsible for their children and, if they're not, then I guess you could say that they've violated the life, liberty or property of their children. I could be wrong, I haven't focused on that issue yet. I need to really debate with someone who has a lot of knowledge on this topic.

PJ: With respect to children, I've read a number of things by people like Thomas Szasz, for instance, who advocate that we treat narcotics in the same way we treat alcohol or cigarettes. What do you think of that?

SM: Well, alcohol is a drug, nicotine is a drug, so is marijuana. As long as you're not violating the life, liberty or property of someone else you should be able to do what you want.

PJ: Did you follow the trial of Peter McWilliams?

SM: That was on the Freedom News Network and I read about it a couple of times. I think that if my next-door neighbor wants to smoke pot he should be allowed to do it. It's his life. I don't think people who are using marijuana themselves and who are not violating the life, liberty or property of anyone else are criminals. They're doing it to themselves. I think a criminal should be defined as someone who violates the life, liberty or property of another individual.

(to be continued)


(ED. NOTE: The Peter Jaworski-Sean Morley aka Val Venis interview continues, as reprinted from The Queen’s Journal, January 16, 2001)

PJ: Anything that we haven't covered?

SM: Anything that we haven't covered? Yeah, let's shrink government way down (laughter). I'd love to tear down the Canada Customs Revenue building and sell the pieces like we sold off pieces of the Berlin Wall (laughter). They merged the Customs agency and the Revenue agency because it's supposed to make it look better... Right... they make criminals out of people who don't want to give up part of their property, you know what I mean?

PJ: Guns, what about guns?

SM: The gun issue. I think everyone should have the right to bear arms. Absolutely. A prime example, and I debated about this with some of the wrestler's because they all know that I'm all for it and totally against gun control. As soon as the guy went off in Boston, the guy who walked into his place of work and methodically picked off seven people all in payroll. All the wrestler's came at me and said, 'hey, what about this guy, look at this guy, this is why we should get rid of guns,' and all that. And I said, 'you know what, it wasn't that there were too many guns in that case, it was that there weren't enough guns.' Every single individual in that building was cowering behind desks as this guy just walked up methodically and picked people off. If every person in that place had a gun, how many lives would have been saved? These people were left cowering behind their desks waiting to die unable to defend themselves because the government took away their right to bear arms in the state of Massachusetts.

PJ: [I know people who are of the opinion that guns kill people. We've debated this a number of times and I told him once, rhetorically, that people don't call people, telephone's do.

SM: That's a good one. That's something I should use.

PJ: What would you respond to someone who believes that guns kill people? Even if they say, 'Hey, fair enough, if there were guns in that situation then maybe lives would have been saved, but what if we were able to get guns out of their all together?'

PJ: You know what, you can never get rid of guns. I'll give you a prime example: in Mexico you're not allowed to carry guns around. You're simply not allowed to. The only people who have guns are criminals and they know that law-abiding citizens don't have guns because they are law abiding, they don't carry guns because it's against the law. So I think criminals feel a lot safer. I've never, ever once seen a gun jump off a table all by itself, point itself and pull its own trigger. It's always been somebody who picks it up and pulls the trigger, which means that that somebody is the one that killed whomever he shot. As far as that wacko who walked in and picked off those seven people at work goes, if you could abolish all guns across the United States and Canada there will still be a black market. Wherever there's a dollar to be made... if there is a demand there's going to be a supply. If that wacko wanted to have a gun and he had the dollars to pay for it, there is going to be somebody crooked enough to smuggle it into the country or even make it. You just have to be a good lathe operator to make a gun. You can make good guns just with a lathe. And if a lathe operator sees an opportunity to make a gun, he can make a gun out of a piece of metal, and sell it right to the wacko and the wacko can go in and go 'ping, ping, ping.' Or, who knows, the wacko might think, 'oh, I can't find a gun well then I'll build myself a bomb.' And how easy is that to do? So I think that if somebody wants to kill somebody, they're going to kill him. If everybody had the right to carry guns then number one, that wacko might not walk into that building because he'll know that he won't last very long and if he was wacko enough to walk into that building, then a lot of lives could have been saved because, after that first shot, he probably would have gone down. So, definitely, everyone should have the right to bear guns and everybody has the right to protect themselves and their family. I used this analogy one time with a guy who was totally for gun control. And he said, 'no, nobody should be allowed to carry a gun except for people like Brink's driver's who carry a lot of money.' I said to him, 'so you think a Brink's driver should be allowed to carry a gun to protect a bag of money?' He said, 'yeah, because there are people who could rob the Brink's driver.' And I said, 'okay, so you feel it's okay to protect money, but it's not okay for me, walking in downtown Toronto to protect my wife and my kids? Money is more important than your wife or your kids?' And he said, 'well, no...' and he didn't know what to say. I backed him into a corner and, of course, he didn't know what to say. Again, coming out of high school, I was a liberal. I was totally for gun control because that is what I was taught and again that is paper-thin until you see it sideways. Then you can see what the issue really is. So, yeah, I think everyone has the right to bear arms. Now, if I commit a crime with that gun then I'm in trouble. Definitely.

PJ: When can we expect you at Queen's University?

SM: Whenever you want me by (laughter).


(Daily University Star, March 6, 2001)

By Keith McMahon

A tag-team hardcore match highlighted an action filled card by the Extreme Texas Wrestling organization Monday.

Former WWF champion and San Antonio's Shawn Michaels owns and operates the Extreme Texas Wrestling organization.

In between the Alkek Library and the LBJ Student Center, Oz and his partner Phoenix defeated the team of Bonecrusher and Slayer. Phoenix held Bonecrusher above a table as Oz leaped off with a leg drop to the back of Bonecrusher's head driving him through the table to win the match

In the first match of the day, Oz had Bonecrusher in the Boston crab when Slayer interfered by attacking Oz. Phoenix came in to save his partner and Bonecrusher demanded the hardcore tag-team match. The tag-team headliner got intense when Slayer busted Phoenix's face open with a chair shot. This inspired Oz, as he describes, the final blow.

"I saw how they hurt my buddy here and the anger came up," Oz said. "I wanted nothing more than to plant his face (Bonecrusher) into that canvas for the last time so he wouldn't get up."

The match won over the students watching as they applauded the victors.

"Nothing feels better than coming out on top in any kind of match, especially a hard-core match," Phoenix said. "Those two guys came out and doubled on my partner, but we showed them what extreme really is."

After the match, Bonecrusher and Slayer took their frustrations out on referee Brandon McGrath. They beat him with a number of blows including the spear.

In a preceding bout, Ikaika Loa thrilled fans by making every effort to impress as he pinned the Natural One with the "hot shot," an inverted DDT. Loa knocked the Natural One out of the ring and followed it up with a somersault over the ropes and onto the floor. The move hit his opponent. However, Loa hit his neck and head on the floor outside the ring.

Nevertheless, Loa will not back off from doing such moves.

"When I get out there my adrenalin starts flowing, and I'll do anything," Loa said. "I love the business, I have a passion for it. I'll do whatever it takes to entertain the fans."

Despite the fact he has been wrestling for only six months, Loa showed true talent and credits himself and his wrestling school for his success.

"I'm the most intense wrestler here and one of Hawaii's finest," said Loa. "I'm just crawling before I start walking. I'm being trained by one of the best trainers in the business, Shawn Michaels."

The card had a number of fine entertainers, such as Rudy Boy Gonzalez. Even though he lost a controversial match to the Prince, he had plenty to say afterward.

"The Prince had his feet on the middle rope when he pinned me," Rudy Boy said. "Had the referee done his job, that would never had happened."

The good-natured fun continued as Gonzalez argued with the crowd and the commentators throughout his match. He expressed his feelings of SWT.

"I'm (from) Texas A&M, so I'm partial. But I guess the Bobcat crowd isn't bad," Gonzalez said. "The commentators have to go, especially the fat guy. They rode me all day. They both need Slim-Fast."

In another match, the 270-pound Big Dog crushed Spiro with a full-nelson slam. Big Dog does not talk, he lets his actions speak for him.

The wrestlers all agree they want to return to SWT.

"Whenever you will have us, we will be back with our smiles, our bodies and of course with tables, ladders and chairs," Phoenix said.




By Ric Drasin

A decade ago there was a force known as the State Athletic Commission. They had jurisdiction over Boxing Events and Pro Wrestling Events. The commission had good points and bad points about them. It was not unlike Screen Actors Guild of today for Actors.

You had to be licensed through them in order to wrestle or you didn't work. If they were in force today, about 90% of the local wrestlers would not be working.

I'll tell you why. There were very strict rules to become a Wrestler. Like I said, you had to be licensed through the State of California, which meant you had to have a physical from a commission Dr., eye test, blood test, chest x-ray, fingerprints (police) background check and a fee of $20. Sounds pretty simple if you meet the criteria. But not only that, you also had to have a booking date and it had to be through a State of California Promoter who was licensed through the state.

A Promoter's License was even harder to get. Not only did you have a $500 fee for the license, but also you had to post a bond of ''$5000.00' and provide 2 Million dollar liability insurance, have a steady venue that was specifically made for Wrestling. Funds to insure payment to wrestlers and then a load of paper work before each show with every 'licensed' wrestler listed, ticket sales, and tickets had to be attained through a specific ticket company ok'd by the commission and numbered in sequence and counted before and after each show by a representative from the commission. I had to get a promoter's license in my wife's name so that I could wrestle. You couldn't hold two different licenses.

They would show up at every match, check your license have a Dr. on hand to check your blood pressure and health and if you didn't pass or have a license you couldn't work. The commission also collected a % of ticket sales at the end of every event for the state. Paper work had to be in their office 5 days prior to any show with all changes or you couldn't run.

If there was another promotion in town which then was not considered 'Indy' but opposition or 'outlaw promotion', the commission did everything they could to make it tough on them to run a show and scrutinized all the paper work and sometimes at the last minute wouldn't let them run.

Since Vince McMahan declared Wrestling under the terms of Entertainment he got the commission debarred in some states, Calif. being one of them. But, by doing that he also exposed the business for what it is today. Back then there was still a certain mystery about it being real or not. No one really went behind the 'Kafabe'. Even the commission was in the dark about it. Today as you know, everyone knows the 'high spots' and finishes. Too bad cause who wants to really know the secrets of wrestling or magic. It's much more fun to wonder as through a 'kid's eyes.

When I say the commission compared to the Screen Actors Guild, I meant that you just couldn't join SAG. YOU have to have a film or commercial lined up through a Producer that needs your type and sends a letter to SAG for you to join. Otherwise you can't get in. You need to be a member to work and you can't get work unless you're a member. This was how wrestling was then. It wasn't flooded with unskilled talent like today and people who claim they're wrestlers after 3 lessons.

To get a license back then you really had to know how to work and be approved by the promoter.

There was a rumor that came passed me about a month ago that the commission was going to be back in force. Now it may just be a rumor but if it comes to pass, all the old rules will apply again and you can see where that will lead. They still have a commission in many places such as Oregon and Nevada and they are very strict in those areas. Remember the State wants all it's tax money from every source. Wrestling is 'hot'. They got it before and they'll try to get it again. Especially now.

Be thankful that you can work today the way it is. But on the other hand maybe it's better that it should be limited to those who qualify.



(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, June 27, 1999)

By Jackie Loohauis

Milwaukeeans are being body-slammed, knee-dropped, diamond-cuttered, jack-hammered, bolo-punched and Scorpion Death-Locked.

And lovin' it.

Milwaukee is smack-dab in the middle of a map of the professional wrestling world. We're going to the mat for pro wrestling events in this town.

Today the Milwaukee Arena will play host to a World Championship Wrestling "Four Way Dance," a "last-man-standing battle royale." If any fans are left standing, they can have a royale redux Aug. 10 when the rival World Wrestling Federation deals its "Raw Is War" card at the Bradley Center. The WWF show will be recorded for broadcast Aug. 16 on the USA cable channel.

These live shows are the foam on the tsunami wave of popularity that pro wrestling rides these days. Eight million to 10 million viewers tune in the WWF and its rival World Championship Wrestling on cable TV each week.

"Wrestling is on the upswing, bigger now than it's ever been," says Jack Koshick, local events consultant for the WWF. "When I first started in 1994, if you did 1,200 people you were lucky. Now all our WWF shows are sellouts. It's a billion (dollar) a year biz."

In the latest available weekly Nielsen ratings for cable TV programs, pro wrestling grabbed the top two spots and four of the top seven. National viewership has grown enormously in just a year: from a World Championship Wrestling program of 6.7 million viewers on TNT during 1997-'98 to the nearly 10 million viewers of a World Wrestling Federation program on USA in May.

Now a broadcast network has climbed into the ring: UPN will add the weekly "WWF Smackdown!" to the schedule this fall. Mainstream media have parted the ropes with such coverage as ring fatale Sable's appearance this month on TV Guide's cover. Wrestling's glamour surged even more with the election of former body-slammer Jesse Ventura as governor of Minnesota.

But hand in hand with the glitter, pro wrestling is dealing - and feeling - some nasty low reverse kicks. Critics blame the brawling faceoff of two rival empires - Ted Turner's World Championship Wrestling and Vince McMahon's World Wrestling Federation - for racheting up the amount of sex and violence wrestling employs to reel in fans. Show stoppers have included a story line about a wrestling pimp. And one death in front of 16,000 fans.

In Our Corner

Milwaukee has plenty of juice for the ultra-hyped pro wrestling scheme of rings. An average TV pay-per-view event at Romine's High Pockets, 6125 S. 27th St., attracts at least 300 fans. Dozens more crowd promotional appearances by big-name and bigger-biceped wrestlers.

Milwaukee Access Telecommunications Authority's cable public access airs "Pro Wrestling Report" weekly. Milwaukee's free Pro Wrestling Hotline (241-8389) draws, according to its promoters, "tens of thousands of callers each week" eager for gossip about everything from Hollywood Hogan's knees to Scotty Riggs' mirror fetish.

And it took a Milwaukee firm, King Juice Co., to produce a line of wrestling-related sports drinks, Atomic Nitro and Powerbrawl, with star rasslers on the labels. Inspired by King Juice President Tim Kezman's love of the event, the drinks have been body-slamming off shelves at Pick 'n Save since they were introduced about three weeks ago, Kezman says.

"Milwaukee fans have been great, some of the best wrestling fans ever," says Mike Lima, promoter for today's WCW Milwaukee show.

Wrestling fans and promoters agree that wrestling blood is in our blood here. Many Milwaukeeans grew up glued to their TV sets in the '60s and '70s, catching such moments as the 1970 incident when Maurice "Mad Dog" Vachon took on one of the most famous torsos in Milwaukee history, The Crusher, Reggie Lisowski. That day, The Crusher threw out the script and bloodied Mad Dog in a cage match. It remains the stuff of legend hereabouts.

"People have remembered these things and passed the stories on from father to sons," says Carmine DeSpirito, promoter of Mid-American Wrestling in Milwaukee. "Wrestling has a huge tradition here that dates back to the 1930s."

"The Crusher started it," agrees Jean Koch, a Milwaukee wrestling fan who became interested in the sport when she watched the shows with her father. Now she is known to show up at Romine's hours before pay-per-view show times to get a good seat with her daughter, Angela, 19. "Milwaukee is a smaller town, and I don't think we had as much entertainment as the larger towns."

Luna Vachon, a wrestler since 1985, remembers Milwaukee as being a "great wrestling territory to work in." She's the proud bearer of the wrestling family name that included her father Paul "The Butcher" Vachon, her uncle Mad Dog and aunt Vivian "Queen of the Wrestlers" Vachon.

But, she adds, "Wrestling is a lot different today."

So Blatant

Indeed it is. Pro wrestling today is what WCW Magazine cheerfully calls "a smorgasbord of sheer violence," with blood feuds between wrestlers spilling over from the pinfalls in the ring to slug fests in the parking lot.

There is little sexual innuendo - it's all quite blatant. Wrestlers and fans enthusiastically exchange "the bird," and some appearances by female wrestlers are greeted with the admonition: "Show us your puppies."

An Indiana University study of 50 WWF Raw episodes last year on the USA channel counted 1,658 instances of a character grabbing or pointing to his own crotch. The study also showed that the two-hour shows averaged only 36 minutes of actual wrestling, devoting the rest of the time to "crotch-grabbing, obscene gestures and simulated sexual activity."

Debates about whether wrestling is "real" are passe. Story lines are scripted months in advance. The most real, spontaneous animosity may be between Ted Turner, owner of World Championship Wrestling, and Vince McMahon, promoter of the World Wrestling Federation, who have been locked in a steel-cage business struggle since 1988. Their competition for cable and pay-per-view revenue has led to charges of story-line stealing and a pending lawsuit over two wrestlers who jumped from the WWF to WCW.

There was nothing phony, either, about the accident that has come to reflect pro wrestling's violent creed. On May 23, wrestler Owen Hart plunged 70 feet to his death during a ring stunt; the show was allowed to go on.

So why is wrestling so big? "Attribute it to the strength of cable TV in these areas," promoter Mike Lima says. "It opens the door for more fans to view what it's all about. Wrestling coming to your city is like 'Animal House' with pyro."

Call it "sports entertainment," say wrestling promoters. "Soap operas for men."

And some are men with disposable income: WCW claims that one in four of its viewers has an annual income of $50,000 or more. It has now licensed 250 products, including a cologne; the WWF has licensed more than 150 items, from action figures to greeting cards.

Dave Dahle, promotions and tournaments director for Romine's, says: "When people ask me about wrestling, watching the wrestling is my least favorite part of it. The best part is listening to the interviews, in the old days listening to The Crusher say, 'I'm going to rip out his throat. . . .'

And I think it crosses class segments."

Koch says: "I like wrestling for so many reasons. So many people have so many negative things they see in it, but there is negativity all around us. In soap operas, you have people who are possessed, and I look at wrestling as a nighttime event. But I don't approve of everything in it."

"I like it more than football," says Ryan McManaman, 14, of Cudahy. "It's a lot more exciting, just fun to watch how everything develops with all the angles and everyone gets mad at everyone."

Ryan's father Dave gives the sport a limited thumbs up. "I can take it in small doses. I don't think the violence is that big a deal, but the WWF is too graphic, with the sexual innuendoes. It's also pretty pricey."

Ticket prices for the Milwaukee shows range from $13 to $36 for the WCW show and $17.50 to $32.50 for the WWF "Raw is War" event.

"The bottom line is it's sex, violence and just life's issues," says Walt Kaufmann, who markets wrestling in Milwaukee.

But despite its popularity, wrestling had better not, in the vernacular, let its mouth write no checks its body can't cash. Critics of this form of "sports entertainment" abound, decrying the pillars of violence and sex that support pro wrestling today. Rena Mero, a.k.a. superstar Sable, has filed a lawsuit in federal court against the WWF alleging sexual harassment. Sable also has alleged that the WWF management tried to get her to bare her breasts in the ring.

The degree of sex and violence is turning off some longtime fans. Waukesha City Attorney Curt Meitz, a wrestling buff since the early '60s, recently switched off TV wrestling. "The sentiments expressed by some of the wrestlers themselves and how they reacted to Hart's death - they appear to be unconcerned - was too much. The wrestling is the sideshow, and scantily clad women are the main attraction. I won't turn it on."

The Crusher himself, when contacted by a reporter, said, "I don't follow it. You hear good and bad. I don't want to talk about it anymore," and then hung up.

But get ready to be slammed up alongside the turnbuckle if you bad-mouth wrestling to some of the buffs in this town.

"The Hart death was a horrible tragedy," says Koshick, the WWF consultant. "But we're all human and accidents do happen. I think the violence is no worse than any of the movies that are at the theaters right now."

It's the roar of the crowd and the color of the blood. Says Luna Vachon: "That's the only time I get my high. The way it makes you feel in the ring, whether you're booed or yayed, you're making them scream. And that's the only thing that's important."

The Associated Press contributed to this story.


(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, March 6, 2001)

By Mike Nichols

I wanted badly to understand pro wrestling because pro wrestling is absolutely huge. It is huger than King Kong Bundy's waist size. And it is doing a veritable body slam on America right now.

Don't believe it?

The World Wrestling Federation's "Raw is War" is the most popular regularly scheduled show on cable TV. Books by WWF stars "The Rock" and "Mankind" both hit No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list some time ago. And one of the two most popular compact discs in the entire country last week was a compilation of World Wrestling Federation "entrance songs."

So when I heard that a local wrestling promotion company, Great Lakes Championship Wrestling (not affiliated with WWF), was bringing characters like Bundy, "Iron Mike" Samson and Colonel Corruption to the Circle B bowling alley near Cedarburg last Friday night, I walked in hoping to figure out the allure of stiff-arms and flying drop kicks.

And walked out convinced that many of my cohorts in the audience had at some point been dropped on their heads.

The event was put together by local promoter Dave Herro, who is donating the profits - between $300 and $400 - to the Port Washington High School wrestling program.

Herro himself attended Grafton High School but said folks there "wanted nothing to do with it (the event) because it was pro wrestling."

I, having never witnessed pro wrestling, didn't understand that - at first. People who don't like pro wrestling, I figured, probably don't like the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. People who don't like pro wrestling probably complain that church bells are too loud.

Now - three or four days after walking out of the Circle B - I'm the one who still has ringing in his ears.

Pro wrestling can be entertaining. Only a college professor could have kept a straight face, for instance, when the ascot-clad Derek St. Holmes Esq. took off his robe to reveal a saying, "I think, therefore I am," underneath.

It was sewed on the back of his shorts.

Matt "The Love Machine" Longtime, on the other hand, wore light blue tights instead of the black Speedos favored by more masculine competitors. He was quite buff and handsome in a little-bit-too-pretty kind of way and you eventually got the feeling he was not going to be a scoutmaster any time soon.

When a couple of dolts in the audience started calling him a "homo" early in the evening, it was easy to ignore. But there were over 360 fans, including a good number of children who looked to still be in single digits, and during his second match, the volume changed - as did, slightly, the epithet.

"Faaaaggot! . . . faaaaggot!" the crowd, or at least a good part of it that included some of the children, loudly yelled.

Herro said Monday that what happened was "not right." He also said it is quite common at such events and difficult to stop.

"If you go to a WWF show," he said, "you will have 20,000 people chanting 'faggot,' '(an expletive)' and 'crack whore.' "

"For me, I have been around so long that I tune it out. Do I wish that it would not happen? Of course."

Herro said that "The Love Machine" is not supposed to be a parody of a homosexual. That, he says, is just how the crowd reacted.

And I guess everybody knows the characters in the ring are really just pretend.

Still, you wish one of the wrestlers, just to prove that they are not intentionally inciting something that they must by now have come to expect, would stop the show and put some of the fans in a headlock - kids and parents both.

For real.


(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, November 20, 2000)

It's been the reigning pop culture heavyweight for more than three years. But is wrestling finally going down for the count?

Signs abound that professional wrestling's stranglehold on public interest is weakening. The three largest wrestling outfits - the veteran World Wrestling Federation, its sworn enemy World Championship Wrestling (in town Sunday at the U.S. Cellular Arena) and upstart outfit Extreme Championship Wrestling - enjoyed unprecedented popularity in the late '90s. But in the last year, TV ratings and live show attendance have dipped, in some cases drastically.

Anecdotal indicators also point to an overall industry slide.

"When you walk through the mall and see what the kids are wearing, the wrestling T-shirts just aren't there like they were last year," said wrestling insider Dave Meltzer.

Now that's gotta hurt.

As editor of the California-based newsletter Wrestling Observer, Meltzer has watched the ups and downs of the industry for more than 20 years, and says the current waning interest is nothing new.

"There'a a cyclical nature to wrestling's popularity - it goes down every few years," Meltzer said. "From 1995 to 1998 it was hugely popular because the WWF was competing with WCW. . . . But once the WWF emerged as the clear winner, the momentum was lost."

Even into 1999, the WWF's Monday night TV show "Raw Is War" battled WCW's same-slotted "Nitro" for ratings. In the last 18 months, however, the average share of "Nitro" has fallen by more than half. The ratings for "Raw" are slightly down, but still strong.

Wrestling also may be suffering from the same problem as the loser of one of the WWF's popular "bra-and-panties" brawls between female 'rasslers: a case of overexposure.

"Wrestling is down overall because there's too much of it," said Dave Herro, a regional independent promoter and host of the Saturday morning "Weekend Wrestling Report" on WAUK-AM (1510).

"They can't outdo themselves every week," Herro said. "Right now, the fans have seen it all."

The natural roller-coaster ride of 'rasslin's popularity may be accelerated by the very medium that helped push the industry to new heights in the late '90s: the Internet.

At first, Web sites and chat rooms gave wrestling fans a place to congregate. But soon industry insider sites began scooping taped show results before they aired on television.

"The power of the Internet has hurt ratings," said Herro. "You can go online and look up the results in advance and decide whether to watch."

Since the WWF and WCW usually save the most exciting matches for TV programming in order to bump up ratings, the quality of house shows, or non-broadcast events, can suffer.

"You won't spend $30 to go to the Bradley Center on a Saturday night if you know that no titles are going to change hands because they're saving that for the Monday TV show," said Herro.

Atlanta-based WCW, part of Ted Turner's empire, is in the most trouble. Insiders estimate the outfit's losses for this year alone at $50 million to $80 million.

The WCW is expected to sell out the U.S. Cellular Arena for Sunday's "Mayhem" live pay-per-view event, but it's no longer a contender to the WWF's industry dominance.

"WCW was actually winning for a while," said Meltzer. "But there was mismanagement. When they were on top they were pushing older established guys who had short shelf lives. They didn't plan ahead."

WCW big ol' brawlers such as Hulk Hogan, Bill Goldberg, Ric Flair and Kevin Nash aren't just over 40 - they're overpriced. And special save-face clauses make it hard to script a match that's satisfying for fans.

"Fans feel they've been screwed on the pay-per-views," Herro said. "The endings (of the matches) are confusing, never conclusive. That's because some guys have it in their contracts that they can only lose a few times a year."

The WCW's current injuries, however, aren't necessarily career-threatening.

"You can always turn it around," Meltzer said. "All you need are charismatic younger stars and people in charge with a vision and a long-term plan."

Young and hungry wrestlers with talent abound in ECW. And in the late '90s, with the WCW and WWF grappling for the ratings title belt, ECW did a run-on (wrestling-speak for when someone who's not part of a match runs out and gets into the ring to mess things up) and threatened to upset the balance of power between the Big Two.

That was then.

The same outsider status that endeared ECW to its fans hamstringed the outfit when it got into the ring with the empires of Turner and WWF mastermind Vince McMahon.

"ECW tried to present their crew as guys who didn't like the big two corporations, as guys who wouldn't sell out," said Meltzer. "Then fans watched as one by one the guys left to go to the WCW or WWF. . . . The myth of ECW was exposed, and it killed their momentum."

"The reality of ECW is that Paul Heyman was a mom and pop guy who went up against giant corporations," added Meltzer. "In this culture, fans like the winner, and the winner is Vince McMahon."

In fact, while the slobberknocker slump is industry-wide, McMahon's WWF has been able to solidify its position as the biggest bruiser on the block.

In 1999 - when wrestler Owen Hart plunged to his death in front of thousands of fans and big-name sponsors such as Coca-Cola pulled ads from prime-time programming due to increasingly raunchy storylines - the WWF seemed headed for trouble.

A year later, however, McMahon has quietly settled a lawsuit by Hart's widow for a reported $18 million, successfully taken his company public and refocused storylines on action in the ring. On Nov. 9, the WWF even launched a slander suit against the conservative Media Research Center/Parents Television Council for bad-mouthing the outfit as not "family friendly."

With its rivals locked in a submission hold, the WWF's biggest challenge now is not to spread itself too thin. Planned expansions beyond the usual merchandising include a record label and, most ambitiously, the eight-team eXtreme Football League, which kicks off Feb. 3.

"Next year's going to be tough for Vince because he's trying to do so many things," said Meltzer.

Will Emperor McMahon hyperextend his reach? Can the crippled ECW and WCW heal and return to the ring? Or will the tag team of overexposure and waning popularity chokeslam the whole 'rasslin' industry?

As McMahon himself says, "anything can happen" in the wild world of 'rasslin'. Stay tuned.


(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, August 10, 2000)

By Lisa Sink

WAUKESHA - Speaking publicly for the first time since one of his club's wrestlers died during a weekend match, Clarence White said Wednesday he was still reeling from shock and never thought any of his group's wrestlers would get seriously injured.

"I didn't get into this for anyone to get hurt," he said. "All I tried to do was help (create a wrestling group) because I loved it, and the guys loved it.

"Other than the family and the man who was in the ring with him, no one is hurting more than I am," White said. "My deepest condolences go out to the family."

Tony "Dream Street" Nash, 30, died Saturday after being flipped by an opponent and landing on his neck and head during his first public match. About 40 spectators at the Sussex Place Sports Bar & Grill watched as Nash was knocked out and never got up.

The county medical examiner's office ruled the death an accident, but District Attorney Paul Bucher said he was reviewing whether there was any criminal negligence.

Bucher said he had "great concerns" about the level of training and oversight over the growing number of grass-roots clubs forming as pro wrestling's popularity soars.

Promoters of other Milwaukee-area wrestling federations distanced themselves this week from White's 10-month-old group, the Wisconsin All-Star Wrestlers, saying their groups had more professional training and precautions than WAW.

White said Wednesday that he believed Nash and the other approximately 20 wrestlers in WAW were adequately trained to perform in public shows. He said that Nash had practiced for four months and even performed a fall without problems during a show in July.

In that instance, White said, Nash performed a "run-in," which White described as a wrestler running into the ring to "rescue" another wrestler being pummeled by an opponent.

White said Nash told him he planned to attend a two-week training session in Tennessee at the end of August and bring back moves to teach others.

Saturday was Nash's first match, however, and he was a last-minute stand-in when another wrestler couldn't get a ride to Sussex, White said.

White said that after Nash agreed to wrestle, he had time to practice before the show began and didn't enter the ring without knowing the choreography.

But when Nash was flipped into the air by his opponent, instead of landing on his back, Nash was sent crashing head-first into the mat, injuring his head and neck, authorities said.

White said he was shocked and joined more than 15 other wrestlers in praying near the ring and then rushing to the hospital where they learned Nash had died.

Many of WAW's wrestlers said they were throwing in their towels, saying the risks were not worth the fun and glory. Two WAW wrestlers said Tuesday that White was shutting down the club for good.

But White said Wednesday that he hadn't made a final decision. He said he had canceled future shows and wanted to focus on helping Nash's fiancee and on grieving his death.

"I'm not going to sit here and say that nine years from now if the WWF comes knocking . . . if a big break comes, that I'm not going to take it," he said.

White added that "there was no money made, none" by the club, which still owes money toward its purchase of a wrestling ring.

He said if he ever did sponsor wrestling shows again, Nash's death would prompt changes.

Emergency medical technicians or nurses should be at each show, he said. A nurse who assisted Nash on Saturday was not there at WAW's behest or knowledge, White said.

Christopher "Tank" Taylor, a WAW wrestler who said he helped supervise the club, said Wednesday that there should be "more drills for everybody" and perhaps six months of training before a public performance.

White and Taylor said they helped form Wisconsin All-Star Wrestlers about 10 months ago as an outlet for inner-city males who couldn't afford to pay thousands of dollars to attend local or national wrestling schools to get experience and show tapes.


(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, August 9, 2000)

By Lisa Sink

When Tony "Dream Street" Nash climbed into the wrestling ring for his first match, he had visions of making it into the big time of sold-out arenas and World Wrestling Federation telecasts watched by millions.

Going into Saturday's dues-paying contest, he understood that the payback for the choke holds and body slams was not a single dime but rather valuable experience.

Instead, his pursuit of glory - played out in a ring erected in a Sussex tavern before 40 spectators - cost him his life.

And now his fellow wrestlers who had likewise been shooting for wrestling stardom are throwing in the towel, saying the risk far outweighs the small chance at fame.

"We will no longer set foot in a ring," said Jared "Phoenix" Jamrozy, who wrestled with Nash for the Wisconsin All-Star Wrestling Federation, or WAW.

"The WAW no longer exists, it's no longer together," said Jamrozy, 20.

He and other wrestlers say they have quit the federation.

"We all knew it was a risk," Jamrozy said. "We were willing to take it until this happened."

When asked by WAW owners to fill in for another wrestler Saturday night, Nash initially wasn't sure he was ready, Jamrozy said.

But then the opposing wrestler, a close friend, changed Nash's mind, said Jamrozy, who arrived just after the accident.

"After this happened, (the other wrestler) was in shock," Jamrozy said. "He just sat there with this blank look on his face."

Nash, a parking checker for the Milwaukee Police Department, was 6 feet 3 inches and weighed about 240 pounds, officials said. His opponent, 23, was 2 inches taller but weighed about the same.

In a choreographed move gone wrong, the opponent flipped Nash, who, instead of falling on his upper back as planned, failed to tuck his head and landed on his neck. He was knocked out and pronounced dead later that night.

"We all just stood there in shock," Jamrozy said. "It was completely silent.

"We all joined hands and said a prayer. We prayed and prayed and prayed. We were all hanging onto hope."

Jamrozy said Clarence White, part-owner of WAW, told wrestlers that he and fellow owner Trevor Lange would close the WAW.

Reached by phone Tuesday, White refused to speak with a reporter.

"I don't have any comment for you," said White, who then hung up.

The medical examiner's office Tuesday ruled Nash's death accidental, caused by neck and head injuries. But District Attorney Paul Bucher said he was just beginning a review.

Bucher said he had "great concern" about information he had received about the group's training and safety precautions, but he would not elaborate.

"We're going to continue our review (into) all of that - training, lack of training, lack of regulations," he said.

State officials confirmed Tuesday that there are no state regulations or oversight of amateur and professional wrestlers.

Jerid "Venom" Bohmann, another WAW wrestler, said Nash's death prompted him to walk away from wrestling, which he called a lifetime love.

"I quit because of my three-year-old son," said Bohmann, 24. "He's at every match. I couldn't imagine if he was there and that was me. That could be my son without a daddy."

Nash had a 2-year-old son and was engaged.

Bohmann not only won't wrestle anymore, he won't let his son - a wrestling fanatic - watch the WWF on television anymore. He said he boxed up all his son's wrestling posters and figurines and sent him into tears by saying he would no longer let him watch professional wrestling.

Bohmann said Nash was serious about wrestling and was one of the most focused wrestlers in the group. "He was all business," Bohmann said. "This was something he had his heart stuck on."

The WAW group had about 20 wrestlers, who often practiced at each other's homes without any ropes, sometimes throwing mattresses on the floor to simulate the canvas mat, members said.

"This is going to sound really cold, but in a way they had it coming," said Mike Thompson, who trains and promotes matches for Powerhouse Pro Wrestling in Richfield. "These guys are not professional wrestlers. These guys are backyard wrestlers who just bought a ring."

Meanwhile Tuesday, Sussex Village President Patricia Bartlett called the incident "unfortunate" but didn't want to comment further because of the pending investigation. She said, however, that Sussex officials are cooperating with the investigation and looking into the village's past dealings with the Sussex Place Sports Bar & Grill.

Pat Ostenga, assistant area director for Occupational Health and Safety Administration in Milwaukee, said the agency likely does not have jurisdiction over the death of the wrestler. OSHA investigates employee/employer accidents and not contractual agreements between a sponsor and individual party.

"We're still checking into it just to make sure," Ostenga said.



(Memphis Commercial Appeal, March 10, 2001)

By Geoff Caulkins

Jerry Lawler called. And, yes, he seemed to be wielding a folding chair.

Lawler on the critics: "A lot of the critics, a lot of the media people, they sit around and say, `How dare you use wrestling announcers to announce a football game.' And, secondly, `How dare they tell a joke during a football game.' Well, give me a break. It's a game."

Lawler on taste: "Look at how many people watch Temptation Island and how many people watch PBS. A lot more people watch Temptation Island which is, basically, you throw a bunch of guys in with a bunch of whores and you hope people will get to see it."

Lawler on the XFL: "They're targeting males, 18-34. This is their target group. These people want to see scantily-clad cheerleaders. It's amusing to them, it's not offensive. It's a joke and they get it. Sure, there are a lot of people who won't get it, but they don't matter to the XFL."

Yes, Jerry Lawler called. It was not to beg for forgiveness.

As you may or many not know, our very own Jerry `The King' Lawler was ripped for his clownish performance on NBC Saturday night.

Jim Rome hammered him. USA Today's Rudy Martzke gave him an "F." Yours truly took some shots, too.

Lawler was not pleased by this. So he called Wednesday to make three essential points:

He's just doing his job, and he's doing it darn well, and if you don't like it, you can stick it up your Tagliabue.

"These critics just don't get it," he said. "In the eyes of the people that matter, we did the best job. We did what they wanted. If some people don't get that, that's their problem."

At some level, Lawler is right, by the way. He's not some renegade announcer going off on unsanctioned rants. He certainly wasn't reprimanded for his string of sexist comments Saturday.

Indeed, according to Lawler, after NBC switched from the Las Vegas game to his Orlando game Saturday night, Vince McMahon and Dick Ebersol used Lawler and his partner, Jim Ross, to demonstrate what they wanted from their broadcasters.

"(They) called Jesse Ventura and Matt Vasgersian out of the stands and down to the control truck and told those guys to listen," Lawler said. "So strong are their feelings, that they split the teams up in the hopes that we'll bring both of these guys around to produce a broadcast that the XFL wants to present to the fans.

"(McMahon said) `We'd like to put Vasgersian with you and Jim Ross with Jesse because we weren't happy with the emotion those guys brought to the game. We feel like Matt can learn from you and we feel like Jim Ross will raise Jesse Ventura's enthusiasm level.' "

"I even brought up the reviews and McMahon said screw those people, they don't get it."

Ahh, Vince. Always gracious in victory.

The discouraging part of all this is that it suggests that, far from toning down the sleaze in week two, the XFL may crank it up to new levels.

We could get more sex. We could see skimpier outfits. We could hear more sidesplitting jokes about tight ends and wide receivers.

And if we do, Lawler will be there, ready to play the good, if tawdry, soldier.

"The guy in USA Today gave me an F, making the comment that Jerry Lawler reached an all-time low by saying we're in the land of milk and honeys," Lawler said. "If that guy thinks that was an all-time low, he doesn't know me very well."


(http://www.cwfwrestling.com/straight/mar8_01.htm, March 8, 2001)

The biggest fear of any promoter when booking outside talent is "are they going to show up?" Well my first attempt to book a wrestler with a name has wound up coming back to haunt me. This is how the story goes.

I contacted Sabu through Howard Brody in December about booking him for our Extreme Rage show in January. At that time Sabu told me he was booked for that date, then I inquired about our show on March 9th. He informed me he was available, then we agreed on a price and he confirmed the booking. He agreed to come in March 8th for a rare autograph session, then do the show on March 9th for $1500.00 US, plus airfare and hotel.

In total I talked to Sabu five or six times on the phone regarding his bookings and sent him several e-mails which I have saved. At that time he was carrying the NWA World Title and I was assured by Brody that Sabu was not the kind of guy who would kayfabe his bookings. This was always my biggest fear and the reason I never booked a "name" wrestler before. I have seen it happen far too many times, where the wrestler is advertised and doesn't show up at no fault of the promoter. I figured that Sabu would be a safe bet for booking since he was currently working for other NWA promotions and was carrying the NWA World Title.

Then I sent a package by Purolater courier on February 5th to the address that Sabu gave me. It was signed for February 6th as received. The package included a $1373.00 plane ticket with Northwest Airlines, a $500.00 US retainer, a money order for a $150.00 work permit that he would have to purchase at the border and a letter of authorization for Canada Customs. On February 6th, Purolater confirmed that the package was delivered and signed for to the address provided in by Sabu.

I then went to Florida for holidays from February 7th to 14th with my family. When I returned I called Sabu on February 16th at both his home number and his answering machine said he was in Japan and would be back in two weeks. I left a message for him to call me when he got back and sent him an e-mail. He had both the numbers for the CWF and my cellular number. It never dawned on my mind that he was not coming to Winnipeg at that time.

Then this week there were some posts on messages boards informing the public that I was swerving them and that Sabu was booked in Garden City Michigan the same night as my show. After some investigation, it was confirmed that Sabu was booked in Michigan and the promoter of the event, who happens to be a police officer, told me that he booked Sabu through Scott D'Amore and paid D'Amore a $1000.00 US retainer for Sabu's fee for the night which was $1500.00 US. Since I booked Sabu personally myself, I thought this must be some sort of mix up.

Sabu was booked on a Border City Wrestling show near Windsor on March 7th, which I already knew, so the promoter in Michigan told me he would go to the show and confront both D'Amore and Sabu about the double booking. He called me the next morning and told me that Sabu had no showed for D'Amore's show as well.

I then called my bank to see if the cheque had been cashed and it was on February 15th. I figured that maybe D'Amore didn't know he was booked in Winnipeg and an honest mistake was made in the double booking. Then I find out that Sabu is booked in Mexico on March 9th as well. I called Sabu several times via his cell phone and e-mail and so did Howard Brody, but Sabu never return either of our calls. Needless to say Sabu was not at the airport on March 8th.

I booked him in December, sent his ticket, retainer, work permit fee and all necessary paperwork February 5th, someone at his house received it February 6th, he cashed the $500.00 US cheque February 15th, and we were told his words were on Wednesday "screw everyone, I am going to Mexico for two weeks." I am out of pocket over $2000.00 from this dickhead!

So Mr. Sabu will be receiving an e-mail and phone call from me, and if does not return my $500.00 US money, my plane ticket that I purchased for him and my $150.00 work permit, I will plaster his real name, phone number, cellular number, e-mail address and home address all over the internet. I am also considering driving down to Michigan and opening up a civil suit for fraud as a result of him cashing my cheque and having no intention of showing up. I am sure if he is convicted, he wouldn't be able to travel out of the United States to work.

I would also suggest that the fans of wrestling take a good look at this hero of hardcore, as he is nothing more than a rip off artist who burns legitimate promoters, wrestling fans and gives the independents a bad reputation. He disappointed hundreds of fans here in Winnipeg, who were big Sabu marks, hundreds of fans in his home state of Michigan, and I am sure he will continue to disappoint thousands of fans in the future.

After sitting at Jabronie's on March 8th and explaining to the fans of the CWF what happened, I was very lifted by their response. Everyone who came into the store to get Sabu's autograph left a non-Sabu fan and still a fan of the CWF. I was told over and over again by the fans, who most already had bought there tickets, that they would have come to the show whether Sabu was on it or not. Not one asked for a refund and not one had a bad thing to say about me, my efforts to bring in Sabu or the CWF.

That makes what we do worthwhile and I thank the fans of the CWF for the support they have given me and my wrestlers. That I thank them for and I can guarantee the boys will pick it up a notch because of Sabu's no show.


(http://www.nwa-wrestling.com/notes.htm, March 12, 2001)

I’ve got to address a situation that certainly has garnered a lot of press this past week in the fact that Sabu missed his booking in Winnipeg with Ernie Todd’s NWA Canadian Wrestling Federation. Ernie went off on a tirade and quite frankly I don’t blame him one bit. That wouldn’t have been the way I took out my frustration, but Ernie is certainly his own person. I read a recent e-mail exchange between the two and needless to say I don’t think you’ll be seeing the two of them warming up together at the next Christmas party. Actually, the whole thing sounds to me like a major communication problem on Sabu's part. I don't know if it's because he's taken too many bumps or what, but he shouldn't have triple booked himself on the date he said he was going to Canada. Regardless of how or why it happened, in a show of support for my fellow NWA brother and Board Member, I will not be booking Sabu unless he makes good to Ernie. If he does, like he said in his e-mail he will, and everything is okay to Ernie’s satisfaction, then I would have no problem once again bringing Sabu back down here to Tampa, as I still believe he is one, if not the hardest working performer in the business.

That said, let me move on.

There have been several reports concerning the NWA and ZERO-ONE’s Shin’ya Hashimoto. It’s no secret that Hashimoto is one of my favorite performers in the world. To me, the guy oozes charisma that easily crosses over language barriers. I had heard some rumblings through Antonio Inoki’s Los Angeles office that Hashimoto wanted to bring traditional wrestling back to Japan and so a few weeks ago I set up a liaison’s office in Tokyo to work with the Japanese press. Max Seki of Tank Incorporated is my man in Tokyo and within 48 hours of setting up the office, we had Hashimoto primed as he publicly accepted an invitation to come to the U.S. to meet with me to work things out. Since he was going to be in Los Angeles anyway to take care of other business, I was going to fly to the West Coast to meet with him. On Wednesday I learned that Hashimoto’s passport had expired and so he canceled his trip to L.A. With him canceling, and me facing my own problems [see below], the timing just wasn’t right to meet.

However, I am confident we are going to work together and so don’t be surprised if you see Shin’ya Hashimoto is on an upcoming NWA card in Tampa, or if you see Michael Rapada or some of our other NWA champions on upcoming ZERO-ONE cards in Japan. As for being disappointed in the supposed canceled title change from Rapada to Hashimoto, how can I be when that was never even discussed?

Speaking of champions, I nearly peed myself laughing when I read a recent column on 1wrestling.com that the so-called "Florida Champion" of the Conservatory — you know who I’m talking about [that blond haired dud, not stud] — was being put over like he is something special when he’s not. In my opinion, he’s a nothing happening little twit who’d get his ass handed to him on a silver platter inside of 10 minutes if he stepped into the ring with a real worker, like current NWA Florida champ, Jason Seguin [aka "Iceman" Buck Q]. The kid has beaten nothing but nobodies and has an ego that says "I can’t job because I’m the next Hulk Hogan." Buck, on the other hand, is one of the most underrated workers in the business and in my opinion, this may just be his year. Not only can he cut a promo, but he has a great attitude and when the bell rings, he can go. You won’t see any of his matches sponsored by Sominex. And when he defends the NWA Florida title, he’ll be doing it against men like Hack Meyers, Scoot Andrews, Tommy Dreamer and others. So if that little blond queen out there just happens to be reading this, and you really want to make a name for yourself, tell the gravy trainers who’ve latched on to your candy ass that you’re taking your pristine little butt back to Tampa, and finally getting a lesson on what pro wrestling is really all about. Hey, I’ll leave the door open for you if you’ve got the stones to walk through it, but be sure to tell the geriatric duo to stay home. Respect isn’t bought, it’s earned. And if you want to be taken seriously, instead of being the brunt of some pretty nasty jokes in the major locker rooms, you’ll get your act together.

Let me show you what I mean by earning respect.

NWA Florida has a new set of champs. They don’t wear any gold belts. They aren’t household names [not yet anyway]. And this past week the Heavenly Bodies — Casanova Chris and Vivacious Vito — [aka Chris Nelson and Vito DeNucci] along with manager Jimmy del Rey, showed their NWA loyalty by "shooting" on a crosstown rival promotion here in Tampa, a group known as IPW Hardcore Wrestling.

Earlier in the week, I was fairly upset with the two guys who I had sent up to NWA Wildside and whom I have scheduled to work a world title shot with Bad Attitude on April 24th. I was ticked off because they were booked for IPW on Friday night [March 9th] under their previous gimmick of "Drunk and Disorderly." I made it pretty clear to them that I was disappointed in their decision and I told them that perhaps I made the wrong choice to have them represent NWA Florida in their upcoming match with Rick Michaels and David Young.

On Friday night [Saturday morning] at 12:45 a.m. I received a call from Vito on his cell phone telling me "D&D" was dead and so was IPW for that matter. The two had made a decision prior to the show to completely kill the "D&D" gimmick and sh*tcan IPW, their paper commissioner and their midget promoter, Ron Niemi. As Vito said on the phone, they flexed a little NWA muscle and it showed. They then apparently proceeded to squash a high profile team known as the Market Crashers before heading back to a completely shocked IPW dressing room.

In the past 24-hours, I’ve heard that Niemi is now making some noise about trying to screw with the Bodies and my show on the 24th of April. All I can say is that if this is true, I will have his Michigan State rooting ass arrested quicker than you can say "hardcore." But, something tells me he doesn’t actually have the stones to show up and try to do anything to interfere with my show.

Oh, and here’s the kicker . . . the "Bodies" still have an April 7th date with this jabronie as he gave them a multi-show contract. So I suppose a little more NWA muscle will be flexed at their little Mecca in St. Petersburg known as the Wrestleplex; except maybe I’ll send a little more NWA firepower down there with them... just in case.

Okay, enough press for these outlaws...

Major kudos to an unlikely quartet in NWA VP Bill Behrens, Turnbuckle Championship Wrestling’s Dusty Rhodes, Pro Wrestling This Week’s Joe Pedicino and our very own Tim Dix for heading off disaster in the Peach State. Within 48 hours of Tim making Behrens aware of a bill in Georgia to regulate pro wrestling that would have crippled the industry with outrageous licensing fees, Behrens, Joe and the Dream were able to get to right people in the state and have the bill squashed. Great work guys!

And finally, thanks to those of you who either telephoned or e-mailed me with concern over my recent press release. If you are unaware, I have postponed the March 20th NWA Florida show titled "The Future is Now: No Recounts Needed" — which pits the Young Republicans against the Young Democrats — and have rescheduled it for Tuesday night, April 24th.

For those of you planning to attend, the card will remain the same and any tickets that have already been purchased will be honored at the gate.

There were several factors that contributed to my decision, but the most important one was a personal health concern. I have recently undergone a series of blood and other tests with questionable results. The bottom line is my doctor advised me of a pretty significant lifestyle change or face the ultimate consequence. With that staring me in the face, as well as a couple of pretty significant preparation blunders on my part [mainly because I was preoccupied with my health issue], there was no way I could effectively promote the show heading into the ten day home stretch.

I regretted having to make this decision, but sometimes there are more important things than professional wrestling and my health is one of them. I just hope everyone understands, considers the situation and will continue to support our efforts in Tampa come April 24th.

As I said in my press release, I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused any of you who planned to be there on the 20th.