Hey everyone, remember me? I have been gone for so long I’m not sure if you will, or if you really give a damn, actually. I have been MIA for a variety of reasons; the time just runs away from me, I have been writing about other sports of late, and wrestling has been boring me. The latter is probably the most accurate of all. I still like wrestling, I really do, but with all that has been going lately – you know what I mean, bad story lines, too much Vince McMahon, TNA starting to look like a carbon copy of WWE, suspended wrestlers – it has been hard to watch on a regular basis.
I was so happy with the return of Rey Mysterio, but to have to see him wrestle Khali is more painful than I can endure. Why can’t we see more equal matchups more often, like the Jamie Noble vs. Jimmy Wang Yang match? (And yes, I know this has been a combination that has been seen recently.) Even if there are two wrestlers who are not very good, the fact that they are more similar in build makes for a better contest right there, in my opinion.
But let me get to the reason why I sat down to my computer in the first place. I was going to stay away from the subject of steroids and subsequent suspensions in wrestling. There has been so much talk of this lately, in many different areas of sport as well as sports entertainment. Look at all the turmoil surrounding the baseball that Barry Bonds hit to break the homerun record? Does the fact that he was “juicing” completely destroy said record? Bear in mind, Bonds has never failed a steroid test.
And just yesterday, the darling of track and field Marion Jones admitted that she had been lying about not taking steroids, but claims she did not know because she was told the “THG” she was given was flaxseed oil. Hmm…..be that as it may, does that mean that she was not a very gifted athlete in her sport of choice? I don’t think so.
So by just citing those two examples in sports, let’s get back to wrestling. Many big names have been taken off of the roster temporarily for positive drug tests, both for steroids and pain medication. While most of these have returned, the names of John Morrison, William Regal, Ken Kennedy, Charlie Haas, Umaga, and Funaki (Funaki???), to name a few, were given time off. So were Edge and Gregory Helms, but I believe both of them were injured as well, thus still not back in action.
And as is human nature, fans are looking for that common denominator so that the blame can be directed somewhere. Many blame Vince, feeling that if he did not have such a fascination with the ‘big boys’ there would not be the need for size. Most blame the athletes themselves. They are grown men, they can choose what they do to their bodies, and they need to take responsibilities for their actions. I believed that both of those statements were accurate, but a conversation I had with a friend today put another log on the fire and really got me thinking.
So, do you want to know where to look to find where some (notice I did not say all!) of the blame lies?
LOOK IN THE MIRROR!
That’s right, boys and girls. We, the fans, want to see those big muscles and six-pack abs. Many of the guys want to live vicariously through these athletes, and who wants to relate with someone who is built like Eugene? Female fans, while certainly a small percentage of viewers, would most certainly want to drool over a Batista or Randy Orton rather than a Mark Henry or Kevin Thorn. For the most part, we want to watch big, strong, fit individuals throwing bodies around with supposed ease. And while Vince certainly seems to prefer the bigger athlete, I believe he also knows where his viewer’s tastes lie. When you are trying to keep your spot on the front line of television, or you are injured but can’t lose time, what do you do? You do not get paid the big money if you don’t get in the game, one way or another.
Now, I must state here that I do not condone these choices!!! But I do understand how the thought process works. Let’s go back to Bonds for a moment. He was consistently getting one of the biggest salaries paid to a baseball player. What goes through his mind? He MUST produce; he HAS TO prove that he is worth every penny, every day. The fans demand that.
I do think fans put a lot of pressure on athletes, and that also goes for those involved in sports entertainment. Should as much be done as possible to prevent drug problems and deaths? Of course! But I think we have been so programmed to what the professional wrestler is supposed to look like, that we, in our own little ways, insist that we get to see that look.
I like to watch the Cruiserweights. I enjoy the action we get with the smaller wrestlers. But do I like to see them well-built? Yep, I do. However, I don’t think I would be upset if athletes did not look quite the same as they do now, but still had the quickness and talent necessary to entertain, and I think that is possible.
In the mean time, I have one other thing to say: Chris Jericho, HURRY BACK!
Be safe and God Bless,
Viva La Raza,