Big Dirty Murphy asks: Why has it continually been the narrative for nearly 20 years that that stupid Mass Transit kid was some poor helpless victim who got hurt at the hands of a heartless criminal? He lied about his age to get booked, lied about having wrestling experience, and allowed himself to get bladed by an opponent, something that always results in excessive gore (see also WM13). How about blaming the kid and his dad who apparently helped him get booked? Personal responsibility doesn't play ANY factor here?
Because the kid was 16 years old. When you’re 16 years old, you’re probably going to do a lot of dumb shit things. The kid, from all accounts, had a number of self-confidence issues, and suffered from depression. I’ve known adults in the same position who make mistakes, and that’s before you factor in the confusing world of being a teenager. Paul Heyman was a fully grown adult, and as a business owner, and ultimately the person in charge of his brand, it’s his responsibility to vet every single person who steps into a wrestling ring. As much as I want to rain down the hate-parade on the kid’s father, I guarantee the guy thought wrestling was little more than two guys pretending to punch each other and it was all in good fun, and he was just happy to see his son participating in a group activity. That probably makes him a shitty parent for failing to educate himself before signing off on the idea of letting his kid go through with it, but Heyman’s lack of due diligence was the real issue.
Then there’s New Jack, whose idea of a little rookie hazing is apparently to take a box cutter and rip apart someone’s forehead until you tap an artery. It’s one thing to make a mistake, but New Jack fessed a long time ago he intended to hurt the kid, which is, as far as I know, assault with a deadly weapon. The kid could have easily bled to death inside that ring, and Jack seemingly didn’t give a damn. In light of this past weekend, where a highly skilled 20-year veteran passed away due to wear and tear off a couple of standard bumps, I’d say that awareness should be at an all time high about how critical it is to protect your opponents inside the ring. I can’t accept any argument that lets Heyman and especially New Jack off the hook. Heyman probably should have had his company shut down pending further investigation of safety practices, and New Jack should have done jail time. Rest assured, if this had occurred in 2015, this is *exactly* what would have happened.
Now, just because I hold that particular stance doesn’t mean I’m going to slam my laptop lid in moral outrage and stop watching immediately. I love wrestling. I grew up on it, and the late 90’s came during the most influential period of my life; my mid to late teens. So as a viewer – I’m thrilled the company wasn’t shut down, that they were able to continue to produce content, and that we’re able to look back some 20 years later and talk about it. But it doesn’t make it right.
As I dismount from my high horse, I’m greeted by the steely eyes of TOMMY DREAMER. He figures with all the hardcore things he’s done in his 3 years as an ECW wrestler, things are probably gonna be all sorts of gory come the PPV in April. And, just to accentuate the point, we’re shown a highlight package with all his nastiest moments; starting with the “Please Sir, may I have another?” caning from Woman and Sandman, the piledriving of Beulah, the face first chair-shot to Raven in the cage, his war with Cactus Jack, and the Stop “sign” on Raven. If that doesn’t get your blood pumping ...
JOEY STYLES starts the hype-machine for Barely Legal, in what he’s calling a revolution in pay-per-view offerings. He figures Raven is going to be running scared trying to retain his title between now and then, especially in light of the fact that Stevie Richards is hunting him. A single Stevie Kick could be the difference between retaining ... or losing.
Highlights from the main event of Crossing The Line Again are aired.
The Terry Funk / Tommy Rich match is replayed from the same show, which I reviewed a few weeks back. Geriatric fight be damned, there’s nothing quite like watching a couple of old vets work a crowd, and these guys brought everything they have left in the tank. Lots of fun.
A smiling TERRY FUNK tells a story about an old bull rider who was passed his prime, named Freckles Brown. He managed to jump on a bull that had thrown dozens of tough men away, setting a new record above this particularly wild animal. He was asked afterwards how he did it, and he just grinned and said “every dog has his day”. Funk feels the exact same way, he’s still looking for his day. If he’s able to capture the belt from Raven, he can give his family a lifetime memory of seeing Terry on top of the sport, instead of as a beat up old has-been.
The genesis of The Dudley Boys is shown in full. The era of Bubba and D-Von is upon us.
Speaking of, THE DUDLEY BOYS are out in the street. They’ve been looking all over Philly looking for Da Gangstas, starting with the West Side, working their way to the East Side, and even though they can’t afford it, they checked out the North Side. So, they’re standing in the South Side of Philly, and there’s not a Gangsta to be found. And the reason? They’re nothing but a bunch of “Puh-Puh-Puh-Puh-Puh” *smack* “Cowards!”
Lance Storm’s debut against Balls Mahoney from CTLA is shared. Storm would have far greater days ahead, but as far as debuts go, it was ago.
RAVEN sits in a basement somewhere, and asks Terry Funk to knock off the boring old war stories unless he’s willing to buy another round. If fate somehow puts them together, then the dog is going to be denied his day. Funk can talk all he wants about his dad dying in his arms, because if his own father had died in his arms he would be a much happier person today. The miserable shit promises to be World Champion forever.
The tag-team title match between The Eliminators and RVD/Sabu is replayed – which makes for an easy fast-forward spot. I know there’s folks out there who love a good 20-minute Sabu slopfest, but I’m not one of them and I have no urge to re-watch this one again anytime soon.
CyberSlam is coming at us next week, as well as a new episode of Hardcore TV with a couple of fresh arena matches. And, of course, Jerry Lawler’s issued a HUGE open challenge to the ECW roster for the February 24th edition of RAW. It’s not a question of whether they’ll respond, it’s how they’ll respond.