The 90′S Essay, Research Paper
Pro-Wrestling In the Nineties
A worldwide phenomenon has swept our worlds people. It has sold out huge stadiums every Monday, Tuesday, and once a month Sundays. This phenom is called Pro-Wrestling, and it seems to have a death grip on today s youth. I for the most part am an avid fan of wrestling and consider myself very knowledgeable on this subject. That is why I feel that I am able to show an unbiased view of wrestling and what happens behind the scenes, and around children s homes.
The company called WWFE (World Wrestling Federation Enterprises) went from a small company into a huge corporation basically overnight, and then drifted into obscurity again. The WWF s first popularity influx occurred in the mid 1980 s due to a man called Terry Boella, better known as Hulk Hogan. His charisma and basic likeability made people take a liking to his character right away. Hogan was quoted as saying, I am happy that I can bring the business that I have put my blood, sweat, and tears into straight up to the top of the world (Hogan) Unfortunately, Vince McMahon, the CEO of the WWF, was involved in a scandal that shocked the world. He was handing out steroids to his employees, in order to make them bigger and more intimidating. This was certainly a blow to the up and coming corporation, although Mr. McMahon was quoted as saying any publicity is good publicity , this was definitely the wrong type of publicity he needed. This scandal drove away many of the WWF s fans, which were children whose parents didn t want them to watch.
Now, over 10 years after those initial scandals, the popularity of the corporation has risen to never before seen heights. Every day they earn millions of dollars on merchandising. Not to mention the amount they get for selling commercial time during their programs, which are the highest rated on cable television. All of this popularity is due to one man, Steve Austin. His hatred for authority and trust no-one attitude brought the federation into its new era. His character appealed to everyone from school children to regular businessmen. Unfortunately for the WWF this newfound popularity has also brought new problems.
These new problems are lawsuits, brought about by the parents of children who are injured while wrestling . While the shows are rated PG14 on television parents still allow their young children to watch. Is this the WWF s fault or parents not supervising? One lawsuit occurred last year, where a 10 year-old child killed his younger brother after he gave him a clothesline. His younger brother fractured his neck and died that night. The parents of the children had left them with a babysitter, who put in a wrestling tape for the kids to watch and left the room. When she came back the child was on the ground unconscious. These lawsuits usually are settled outside of court, but recently another case came up. A young child was injured while imitating moves he saw on TV. He too fractured his neck and died, this case went to court, and some wrestlers even were handed court summons. They did not have to appear, but it is still very rare that this happens. Still Vince McMahon sticks by his any publicity is good publicity attitude and just seems to roll with the punches.
Also becoming popular is backyard wrestling, this is a recent trend among teenage fans. They imitate the moves of their favorite stars on their friends in order to stage their own matches.
Recent months have seen a surge in these amateur groups of teen wrestlers. In cyberspace, Rogers, 19, is the teen-age kingpin when it comes to the underground network of backyard wrestling groups. His Web page, started in July, has links to at least 30 states where youth organizations are staging weekly wrestling matches, videotaping them and selling the tapes or broadcasting the matches over the Net. (Thomas)
There have also been problems with these matches, because kids doing high-risk maneuvers on other kids have caused death. A 17 year old from Massachusetts was killed after he was piledrived onto a metal chair. That isn t as bad as some of the other wrestling that occurs in these federations. The kids have been known to use weapons, which include chairs, cheese graters, pizza cutters, broken glass, barbed wire, and fire in their matches.
The WWF, or its wrestlers do definitely not condone backyard wrestling. They feel that these kids are trying to get into the wrestling world by emulating certain hardcore wrestlers. One of these men is named Mick Foley, who s book, HAVE A NICE DAY, made the best seller s list. He says that he gets letters and tapes everyday from kids who try outrageous stunts in order to get their foot in the door. He feels it is just stupid, and he won t even view the tapes until the kids have graduated high school. (Foley 62)
Is the WWF at fault for all of these injuries sustained after watching these trained men? I feel that it might be, they may have all of the warnings, and a late airtime, but they still seem to have no real border to differentiate the real from the staged. Parents who watched wrestling as children and who let their own kids watch it should defiantly watch out, because wrestling is no longer the clean wholesome entertainment that used to tell kids to say their prayers, take their vitamins, and exercise. (Hogan) They have now entered the time of ATTITUDE which their new Get It? promotion suggests. It is too bad that Vince doesn t Get It and make the line between fantasy and reality a bit easier to see.
2XZONE. May 2000
Foley, Mick. Have A Nice Day! A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks. New York: HarperCollins Publishers Inc., 1999
Kranz, Cindy. Pro Wrestling s Really Got a Hold On Us: What the WWF and WCW is Doing to Kids Cincinnati Enquirer (1999): n.p.
Thomas, Karen. Wannabes are Mimicking Sports, Uhm, Racier Moves
USA TODAY (1999): n.p.
WWF Corporation Site. May 2000