Ruining Pro Wrestling
It really speaks to the quality of pro wrestling’s juggernaut, as well as their red-headed step-brother, that the most interesting thing we have to pay attention to are the hateful words being passed between two former icons way past their primes. Is there really nothing more thrilling than watching the Ultimate Warrior piss all over the legacy of Hulk Hogan via YouTube? Do you really think a single fan would have paid attention to Warrior’s ramblings (I’m trademarking that) during the Austin Era? Sure there are a percentage of people that love the behind-the-scenes drama that is inevitably produced in the professional wrestling industry, but as fans our primary entertainment comes from the product they put in front of us.
This week I heard a guy on Twitter say that Warrior is doing exactly what Zack Ryder does (using the internet to get him over), and if people are going to hate on one of the greatest of all time, they need to start hating on Ryder as well. There is a very large difference between what a current WWE Superstar does to get himself face-time and what a retired has-been does to slander somebody else’s name. Zack Ryder hasn’t been used by the WWE since his tag team days, and even then he was pretty low on the totem poll. Lately he’s been making occasional appearances on WWE Superstars, and spotted around Raw arenas just to toy with his fans. I’ve never really liked Ryder’s gimmick, but I respect him for refusing to sit back and wait to be used. He started his own show on his own time, and promoted it himself. It has since grown into one of the most popular channel’s on YouTube and his cult following has turned into more of a legion. The decently loud “we want Ryder” chants at last night’s Capitol Punishment PPV are proof that his popularity is growing. The Ultimate Warrior, on the other hand, has been off of WWE programming (full-time) for the better part of 20 years. The only thing he has in common with Zack Ryder is he wants to promote himself. Don’t let Warrior’s self-righteous attitude fool you. In no way did he reveal scandalous tidbits about the Hogan family because he was “doing the right thing”. He didn’t do it because there is a collective of “warriors” out there who “want the truth”. Warrior did what Warrior did…for Warrior. He said himself he has a book coming out, and that’s reason enough to put some spotlight on himself, especially if the book is going to contain terrible stories about other people. I wasn’t even that upset by him bashing Hulk Hogan. What got me was that he did it all in the name of the fans, and I for one do not want to be responsible for tarnishing the name of another human being.
Let’s look at facts for a second… Or, if not facts, let look at the highly speculated internet rumors we’ve all become so well acquainted with over the years. Hulk Hogan is in business for himself. Everyone knows that Hogan is a greedy “summa bitch” who never lets other people get over. If Warrior is really trying to shock us with the idea that Hogan kept him down, he’s about 15 years too late to the party. But you also have to be objective, and look at the money that came from Hulk Hogan being on top for so very long. Hulkamania raked in more cash than the WWE has ever, and probably will ever see again. Hulk Hogan was the “it” figure in not only pro wrestling, but 80s culture for many years. To this day, when non-fans think of professional wrestling, the name Hulk Hogan is usually the first to pop into their heads. Could it be that Vince McMahon and the powers-that-be in the 1980s were even more responsible for Hogan going over so much?
What kills me is that none of this crap really matters. Who cares? Sean Waltman (X-Pac) recently wrote about the goings-on between Hogan and Warrior on his website (realxpac.com) and I strongly encourage you to check it out. As an inside source into the world of pro wrestling, his opinions are a lot more legitimate and objective than most, and he does a great job of dispelling some of the hypocrisy in Warrior’s comments.
All this drama that has nothing to do with the televised product is killing wrestling. I’m not sure what Warrior intended to happen from all of this, but it sure as hell will not end in a match at Madison Square Garden. There is no payoff for the fans when any of this garbage gets spread around. What Hulk Hogan has done or is doing is his own business, and if he can go out there and give us a great wrestling product, I really could care less about the political situations. Granted, I’m still waiting to see a “great wrestling product” from him, but the point still remains. Once you start concerning yourself with all the negative “real life” situations going on, the actual entertainment product seems less important. Who cares about the Miz and Cena at WrestleMania, Alex Riley was just arrested! Does it matter that Ric Flair just put on one of the best matches in recent TNA history when we’re too busy making assumptions about his time on the UK tour? And why does the Band matter when Scott Hall is struggling with his demons and X-Pac can’t work with Vince Russo?
There is a reason I never followed Matt Hardy on Twitter while he was trying to use the IWC and his unprofessional remarks against his own company to get him fired. I was trying desperately to ignore the stupidity of my favorite entertainers and enjoy a product I’ve been a fan of for most of my life. I want to look back at Hulk Hogan and remember WrestleMania III, just like I want to look back on the Ultimate Warrior and not immediately think of him in his basement, surrounded by images of himself, talking about how some other guy is a self-centered jackass. That’s why I love Stone Cold, Chris Jericho, and the Rock. They all have lives outside of the pro wrestling business, but they’re decent human beings who keep their business professional and it almost never interferes with how we see their characters on television. When the Rock makes his return for WrestleMania, or if Jericho ever comes back to us, it won’t be an open forum for all the scandal they’ve been causing in their time away from the company. They walk out to that ring, and it’s time to perform.