Turning The Wrestling Industry Into A Public Apology

The wrestling industry has really changed since the World Wide Wrestling Federation in the 1960s. While the wrestling industry wasn’t as big back then as it is now, it was certainly talked about. Bruno Sammartino was known all over the world because he headlined wrestling matches in Madison Square Garden. I talked to a casual fan yesterday and he was talking about wrestling from this time and in the 70s. He said this was when people thought, “It was real.” As time went on, the real factor certainly fell through the cracks.

People always say that time changes and you have to change with the time. The wrestling industry is a classic example of this. WWE (then WWF) blew up in the 70s and 80s. It certainly became revolutionary because of Vince McMahon and Hulk Hogan. The wrestling business was thriving through this period. They were getting hotter and hotter. Certainly the industry wasn’t at its peak though. To me, and probably for everyone, the wrestling industry became the biggest in the 90s. The reason is because of the war… the Monday Night Wars. It was WWE vs. WCW. While some may think of the whole period is overrated, the numbers do not lie. WWF and WCW blew up. People were watching wrestling that never watched wrestling before. Over 10 million people were watching either Raw or Nitro each week. That is impressive. That is a lot of bodies! In this time, each wrestling company wanted to win the ratings war. They produced anything and everything they could. Some of the stories they produced were outrageous, but other times they were amazing. The wrestling fans tuned in every week.

Both companies would produce anything to get hits. WWE had D-Generation X use foul language and have sexual actions that pushed the envelope each week. Stone Cold Steve Austin put a gun to Vince McMahon’s head. Sure, it was a fake gun, but it looked real. The used women as showgirls to show off their body just to get the males fired up. Did we see that when Mae Young was champion in the 50s?

Kane and Dummy

What about when Kane “made out” with a mannequin in a coffin? The list goes on and on. The wrestling companies crossed the line countless times, but the fact is, people were watching!

The reason why I bring this up is because of the actions that have taken place in the past year. They stem from WWE and TNA. First there was the CM Punk incident where he attacked a fan in the audience. I honestly understand that the fan hit Punk from behind and the the security guards weren’t really guarding Punk, but it was all over the news and people were blaming Punk. Next there was the Bully Ray incident with a fan. While Punk hit a fan, Ray verbally insulted him. That whole story can be found here. Also, what about Jay Briscoe‘s tweets? ROH had to publicly apologize about that. Finally, we see an incident with Austin Aries and Christy Hemme. This just happened last week. Christy announced the wrong team to the ring. She didn’t realize it until Austin confronted her. She was in the corner and he climbed to the second rope and put his junk in her face as she announced the actual tag team. The whole incident with Aries and Christy’s repines can be seen here.

Christy-Hemme-Austin-Aries-2-223x300

All three incidents made it onto non-wrestling websites as they were all quite a big story. All three incidents also involved a response from the companies. WWE blamed the security guards but TNA blamed Bully Ray and Austin Aries. It was stated that Ray and Aries would be disciplined for their actions. We know right now that Austin Aries was fined for what he did to Christy. While two incidents involve the fans, the other involves a character vs. character situation. I have been quite surprised on how much each incident was talked about. It made it seem like wrestling was unstable and poorly handled. The non-wrestling websites made the wrestling companies look like they don’t take care of their wrestlers or their fans. The Christy Hemme/Austin Aries segment in particular really took a hit because it was actually on national TV.

These incidents really make me think of how the wrestling industry was back in the 90s. We have seen some hideous, vulgar, and sickening stuff in the wrestling industry in the 90s, but everyone nearly let it go. They didn’t attack WWE for their outrageous segments of sexual contact. Remember the Edge and Lita live sex celebration on Raw in 2006? That certainly crossed the line with a lot of people, but that became the, “Highest rated segment in ‘x’ amount of years.”

Edge and lita

Now every questionable thing done on a wrestling show seems to be something that shouldn’t be done at all. Every little “Non-PG” or “Non-friendly-family” television needs to have a public apology. Sure, wrestling can be entertaining and great without all of the controversial incidents, but there are times when a heel has to play a heel or there are times when a star messes up and the other has to improvise. Heel characters do not have a different meaning then a heel character back in the 60s or 70s. They are still the bad person. They need to get the audience to “boo” them. That is what they are trying to accomplish. The stars try to pull that off. Sometimes it goes too far, but, in this day and age, everything is too far.  Are people actually thinking that the business is real again?  When I tell people about my involvement in the wrestling business they ask me, “Do you know it is fake, right?”  Well, maybe I should start asking them that question because people really are taking the incidents seriously.

The wrestling industry has revolutionized and is now bigger and known by pretty much everyone in the entire world. Ask any person about anything in wrestling and I can guarantee that they can name at least one superstar, past or present. While the popularity of wrestling has died down since about 15 years ago, wrestling companies try to give decent television. They try to give decent television while the stars that are on the show try to make a name for themselves. Wrestlers are athletic and really have a talent, but they also are actors. One of the main things they need to learn is to improvise. That is what we seen with most of the incidents this past year.

Put these incidents up against anything from the late 90s and honestly no one will be talking about the Christy Hemme/Austin Aries scenario. The wrestling industry has to apologize for anything that may come off as “over the top.” The industry is becoming soft. They are becoming a cartoon. It’s time to step back and let stars rise to the occasion. It’s time to let the industry have some character. If not, we will be seeing the wrestling industry apologize for every segment, tweet, and match that happens. Maybe we should apologize to the wrestling industry for being overly anal on what is done inside the industry.

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  • Jeffery Baker

    I understand the point you're making, and it's a good one. There really does need to be some edge to pro-wrestling these days. There also needs to be that line as a public figure, a role model, and a human being that you don't cross as a performer. There's no one apologzing for Zeb Colter saying that illegal immigrants need to go back to where they came from. There's no one apologizing for CM Punk saying he's God, or for the entire Paul Bearer gimmick. Why? Is it because those angles aren't offensive? No, it's because it's a wrestling show and WWE has faith that it's fans will understand that much. The Briscoe and Bully situations are different stories, even in the 90's and 00's wresters weren't calling their fans "fags" or atleast fans didn't have the capabilities to record them doing it. And Stone Cold wasn't telling people that he'd shoot them for supporting equal rights. Those incidents also weren't televised incidents, and in turn fans start to assume that it's no longer an act.

    • Jeffery Baker

      I think the A Double situation is interesting though. I personally didn't think it was that over the top, he just stood there. But that wasn't me with his junk in my face, and if Christy was really offended by it, then that's all that matters. If she wasn't offended by it, I don't think Dixie or anyone else would have said a word about it. Because she took it to twitter, and it seemed serious, the world took it seriously. In turn, TNA felt like they should apologize (probably for the sake of Christy, not for offended viewers).

  • tnaisbest

    I disagree that TNA is taking full advantage at trying to be an edgier product than WWE. They could be so much edgier in their storylines. The most interesting thing to think about in TNA is what will happen when Hogan and Bischoff go away? I'm sure they won't stay around much longer. That meaning maybe a year more, but they will go away. It is comical just thinking back to Genesis 2010 when Eric and Hogan came in and blasted TNA for everything that it has done in the past years. Now look at it. A 0.84 rating. You can say NBA Playoffs all you want. The fact is TNA got a 0.84 rating. It's pathetic. And the week before that was below a 1.0. Back when Russo and Ferrara and Conway and others were there, it was always around at least a 1.1. It was a big deal when a 1.2 came and a dud when we saw a 1.0. Now a 1.0 is the average. When does the time come where Hogan and Bischoff look around and say, "What we are doing isn't exactly bringing the results that we wanted." I am a TNA fan and have been ever since I first saw it, back in 2006 for sure because I remember Kurt Angle coming to TNA and Team 3D being dominant. Samoa Joe was also dominant. I like the new TV format that Hogan/Bischoff have established. Just saying, but if I wasn't a TNA fan for so long, I wouldn't be watching considering most air time goes to Hogan, Anderson, Sting, Angle, the Aces and Eights, and Joseph Park. It's insane. The only one out of those that should be getting any air time is Kurt Angle. He still has it. No one else in there really does. Kazarian, Hernandez, Morgan, Crimson, Samoa Joe, Aries, Roode, Rockstar Spud, Gunner, Rob Terry (where did he go? Someone please tell me.) King, and Storm should be utilized as the main focus of the show. I know TNA knows that they are important, but they treat them as second-class compared to Anderson, Bully Ray, Jeff Hardy, RVD, Sting, Hogan, Joseph Park, and the rest of the Aces and Eights. Park reminds me of Brian Knobbs, Val Venis, and others. Bad gimmick and someone used to shove down our throats that no one cares about. Replace him with a Delirious that is a heel and you have gold. TNA needs to trim the fat (which is 16 to my count, not counting the rest of the Aces and Eights which aren't on TNA's roster) and sign great talent such as Delirious, Petey Williams, Sonjay Dutt, Gregory Helms, Charlie Haas, Shelton Benjamin, The Young Bucks, just to name a few. I think these could definitely make an impact. You could easily make Austin Aries, Bobby Roode, or Samoa Joe the main focus of the show. Also, what about Jay Bradley? He looks like he could have potential. I'm not quite sure the production of the show is the problem. The production of the show looks better than 2009, even with the recaps and the start of the show. It helps progress the storylines. I am a fan of TNA going on the road and have become a fan of the new four-sided ring. Not everything that Hogan and Bischoff have done has been bad for the company. But the way things are isn't working. Don't take my word for it. Look at the ratings.

    • Alex Barie

      Why do you state that Sting should retire, but then mention that he should go to WWE and face Undertaker? Going to WWE isn't retiring. It's a bit contradictory.

  • tnaisbest

    You forgot Christian Cage. I was a huge Cage fan. I just thought he was the best on the mic and the best true wrestler. Kind of like Elijah Burke when he came to TNA. The Aces and Eights is good but you know what the biggest complaint about the nWo is? They served to destroy everyone in the company and if you weren't in the nWo, you were screwed. I do like the Aces and Eights as a faction. They look really cool with their edgy look. Riding motorcycles, the chaps, the meetings in the back, coming in through an alternate entrance similar to LAX. But at some point, they do need to put over a young talent. I couldn't agree with you more on Sting. Tons more people would convert to TNA if they trimmed the fat and got rid of Hogan, Sting, RVD, and Joseph Park. But I guess TNA always needs to have some joke character such as Shark Boy, Eric Young, and Park. At least Shark Boy and Eric Young, even though bad gimmicks or characters haven't ever taken off, have wrestling skills. The Park character has none. I understand that the X-Division needs to be fast paced but also remember the days of the cruiserweight and television divisions in WCW. Those were very entertaining. Alex Wright, Disco Inferno, Chris Jericho, Eddie Guerrero, Chavo Guerrero, Ultimo Dragon, Rey Misterio Jr., Chris Benoit. The matches were exciting and sometimes fast-paced, but mainly entertaining because they had story behind them. The only story the X-Division has nowadays who is getting the title shot next week. There is no big build up such as Senshi vs Chris Sabin in 2006. The X-Division needs to be something that stands out, but isn't gimmicky or just a spot fest. On the Knockouts division, it seems that TNA was at its best when Gail Kim and Awesome Kong were feuding and they also had Hamada and Sarita. I was a big fan of Hamada doing diving moonsaults to people on tables. That was exciting. To the Knockouts division nowadays, I'm not sure. It doesn't excite me. More seems like a filler of time. I definitely agree with you when you say that TNA needs to find its own path. How many times do we need to see Dixie Carter praise Stephanie McMahon, WWE, and say that she would be open to a cross over. It's just all praise for WWE and well, we are the second best company that doesn't fight for the fame and glory but puts on the best show. TNA needs to get rid of that tag line that they had in '06 and start seriously thinking that they can compete and beat WWE. It's not to focus on how great WWE is. You get there by focusing on what WWE isn't doing right and perfect those things. Like WCW did when they went LIVE and said the RAW results and brought the nWo when WWE was still doing cartoonish stuff. WWE is about back to the same place it was then. Look at Kane! I haven't watched WWE in at least around two months but he has gotten more and more pathetic over the years. Their biggest threat is Mark Henry and Big Show? Give me a break. It's all PG and aimed for kids. TNA needs to run with the buck in the other direction and have edgy storylines that keep you on your feet and on the edge of your seat wandering what will happen next. People say that no one will compete with WWE. How much are the ratings for WWE? Like 3 something right? TNA can definitely beat that. In the late '90s, wasn't wrestling having at least double what Raw has now? It can be accomplished. Everything comes full circle. They just can't keep putting WWE on a pedestal and thinking that no one can touch it. It's a joke. The major argument before was that WWE's production is so much better than TNA's with TNA having a six-sided ring and being in the iMPACT Zone. Now look at it! Tell me there isn't potential for TNA. Tell me that it is hard to believe that ROH (now on national TV every week) TNA (the new WCW) and WWE aren't like they were before the Monday Night Wars. I am saying that it is possible.

  • tnaisbest

    I'm not sure Xplosion is such a great idea. It's not how many shows TNA has that's the problem. The problem is what is on the show. WCW didn't get huge because of Thunder or any other show besides Nitro. WWF only had RAW for the most part until they basically won the war then they added Smackdown. TNA only needs iMPACT and to make the show as exciting and on the edge dangerous as it can. Like I said, take the buck and run the complete opposite direction. Make it very unpredictable and make it realistic. Look at what other companies are doing, and I don't mean what other wrestlinlg companies are doing. Look at what the UFC is doing. Maybe TNA should have a Chael Sonnen and a Nate/Nick Diaz. Those would be characters. And a Floyd Mayweather and maybe even a Robert Guerrero type (which somehow reminds me an awful lot of HBK when he had his feud with Taker.) I actually loved when Mickie James had the interview backstage and said that she's tired of being at the bottom, not being on TV and seeing many others wrestle and be in the spotlight. The internet blew up with fans questioning her turning heel. Wish she would have never addressed it and said she wasn't turning heel. It made her character REAL. This is what is most important in wrestling. Everything needs to seem real. The lines between hero/villain must be blurred. Not so much to where you don't know who to cheer for, but so much that you don't see a Col DeBeers. Although I do like his character and wrestling psychology, I'm not sure if that type of character would work today… and I mean the thing that he does with his mustache.

  • http://www.colorexpertsbd.com/neck-joint-service.html Ghost Mannequin

    I couldn't accede with you added on Sting. Tons added humans would catechumen to TNA if they akin the fat and got rid of Hogan, Sting, RVD, and Joseph Park. But I assumption TNA consistently needs to accept some antic appearance such as Shark Boy, Eric Young, and Park. At atomic Shark Boy and Eric Young, even admitting bad gimmicks or characters haven't anytime taken off, accept angry skills. The Park appearance has none. I accept that the X-Division needs to be fast paced but aswell bethink the canicule of the cruiserweight and television capacity in WCW. Those were actual entertaining. Alex Wright, Disco Inferno, Chris Jericho, Eddie Guerrero, Chavo Guerrero, Ultimo Dragon, Rey Misterio Jr., Chris Benoit. The matches were agitative and sometimes fast-paced, but mainly absorbing because they had adventure abaft them. The alone adventure the X-Division has nowadays who is accepting the appellation attempt next week. There is no big body up such as Senshi vs Chris Sabin in 2006. The X-Division needs to be something that stands out, but isn't contemporary or just a atom fest. On the Knockouts division, it seems that TNA was at its best if Gail Kim and Awesome Kong were altercation and they aswell had Hamada and Sarita. I was a big fan of Hamada accomplishing diving moonsaults to humans on tables. That was exciting. To the Knockouts analysis nowadays, I'm not sure. It doesn't accelerate me. Added seems like a accompaniment of time. I absolutely accede with you if you say that TNA needs to acquisition its own path. How abounding times do we charge to see Dixie Carter acclaim Stephanie McMahon, WWE, and say that she would be accessible to a cantankerous over. It's just all acclaim for WWE and well, we are the additional best aggregation that doesn't action for the acclaim and celebrity but puts on the best show. TNA needs to get rid of that tag band that they had in '06 and alpha actively cerebration that they can attempt and exhausted WWE. It's not to focus on how abundant WWE is. You get there by absorption on what WWE isn't accomplishing appropriate and absolute those things. Like WCW did if they went LIVE and said the RAW after-effects and brought the nWo if WWE was still accomplishing cartoonish stuff. WWE is about aback to the aforementioned abode it was then. Look at Kane! I haven't watched WWE in at atomic about two months but he has gotten added and added affecting over the years. Their better blackmail is Mark Henry and Big Show? Give me a break. It's all PG and aimed for kids. TNA needs to run with the blade in the added administration and accept anxious storylines that accumulate you on your anxiety and on the bend of your bench abnormality what will appear next. Humans say that no one will attempt with WWE.