Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Dead Wrestler

#260 Dead Wrestler

Vincent K. McMahon has to be the best showman since Barnum. And the best marketing guy in history. Now, here comes the show of his lifetime.

Vince once owned something called the “World Wrestling Federation,” or WWF. After years in court, the World Wildlife Federation (also WWF,) won the right to the initials, and Vince, never missing a beat, changed the name of his (now public) company to World Wrestling Entertainment, WWE.

At the same time, Vince offered his fans and friends and enemies a “Shocking Revelation!” The “sport” is fixed. They know the outcome before the match begins.

Everyone knew that, of course. But it took decades for WWE to admit it.

The old WWF had some steroid problems. Vince disposed of that. Did anyone do time? Don’t remember, but not much if any.

The new WWE, still filled with muscle-bound acrobats, is, of course, steroid free. At least that’s what they keep saying.

If there’s any doubt about Vince’s showmanship, consider this:

On one of his live TV programs, Vince is seen walking into a limo. Seconds later, the thing blows up. Vince’s body has vanished, but he’s presumed dead. All this is part of a story line, of course. The guy was videotaped walking into the limo on a Sunday night. The broadcast was Monday, and they blew up an empty car.

Soon, also on live TV, there was to be a three hour tribute to Vince’s life and work, a “memorial service.” The service went on alright. But it wasn’t for Vince. It was for Chris Benoit, who really did die.

The Monday of the McMahon memorial, Benoit (pronounced ben-WAH,) “the Canadian Crippler,” was found hanging by the neck from an exercise machine in his home gym. He apparently had killed himself after choking his wife and smothering his seven year old son, both to death.

Remember, all this is on a Monday morning. The three hour memorial is set for live television later that day, 9PM eastern. The thing is to be held in a huge arena in Texas, which is sold out.

Now three things happen:

1. The three hour match and memorial is cancelled and ticket prices refunded.

2. The WWE TV machinery is set in motion to prepare a three hour Benoit retrospective in under twelve hours – and it gets done. Probably they were still working on the ending when the first footage rolled on the air.

3. The “dead” McMahon climbs into the ring in that same Texas arena, He stands there, surprisingly live as live can be. The seats are empty. There are none of the usual light and fireworks show accessories that mark five or six WWE events each week. Vince looks at the camera, announces the death of Benoit to the television audience. Roll tape.

Viewers who tune in late don’t know what’s going on. But there’s Chris Benoit wrestling on TV, maybe from WrestleMania XX, from a few years back, so they stay with it.

Now, the cops in Georgia where Benoit lived, are all over his place. There’s no note. But there have been some strange happenings over the previous few days. Mysterious text messages, missed appointments, a missed WWE performance.

The cops find steroids in the house. Tox test results still to come.

They figure he offed the wife on Friday or Saturday, the kid on Saturday or Sunday and himself probably in the early hours of Monday morning. He’s in the house with the bodies for a day or two before he hangs himself.

Here comes the REAL show: the spokesmen and women of the WWE, and the lawyers, saying it can’t be steroids. ‘Roid rage, they say doesn’t last for days on end. The paranoia subsides quickly, as does the temper tantrum. “He had a drug test in April, and passed.”

Oh, really?

Steroids in this case would pinfall the WWE for a three count.

And Vince may wish that he really WAS in the limo when it exploded.

I'm Wes Richards, my opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.

(c) 2007 WJR

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