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  June 6, 1999

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They call it puppy love

By TIM BAINES -- Ottawa Sun
  Sometimes it's hard to separate real life from what we see on television.
 As professional wrestler Owen Hart fell to his death while attempting to swing from the roof to the ring below two weeks ago, it seemed like "a work," yet another gimmick to dazzle the emotions of an audience which has grown to lust for sex and violence and theatrics.
 But there were no theatrics in the funeral the following week. There were only tears, real ones, and a lot of questions as to why ... and how ... could anyone even be allowed to perform a stunt that was obviously so risky?
 And Sable, the blonde bombshell has unleashed a few jabs of her own, including a $110-million lawsuit, against the World Wrestling Federation and its owner Vince McMahon.
 Now the critics are lashing out at wrestling.
 They publicly wonder why wrestling can't be simple, like its jurassic stages, when armbars and headlocks lasted five minutes at a time. When the women of wrestling resembled the bearded lady in the circus freak show.
 They fail to realize that wrestling is now all about huge ratings. And money. That means you're going to see plenty of sex ... and violence.
 The wrestlers realize they're risking injury each time they step into the squared circle. That's why they allow themselves to be whacked over the head with chairs, thrown through tables and carved open with everything, including the kitchen sink. The problem isn't with wrestling ... it's with us.
 Blood-thirsty as we are, we support the sordid gimmickry.
 We, with saliva oozing, cheer on our heroes and villains as they beat each other silly, and we scream: 'Show us your puppies,' as female wrestlers threaten to disrobe and reveal ample bosoms. And we think it's funny when we're greeted with a crotch-chopping motion with the accompanying words, `suck it.'
 It's not wrestling's fault that our morals have been altered. It's not wrestling's fault that Sable is a victim of puppy love. And it's not wrestling's fault that Owen Hart so tragically died.
 It's us. We keep on watching.

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