November 10, 1999
Has the WWF gone too far? NO!
I am writing this column before the SLAM! Wrestling "Gone too far" poll results so I don't know if I will share my opinion with the majority of the SLAM! Wrestling readers or not....that doesn't matter.
Why are we questioning if the WWF storylines are going too far? This is entertainment not wrestling. It just so happens that this entertainment involves people wrestling at some point of their story. This is no longer the wrestling of old where two combatants get in the ring without much hype and see who is the better man is. This is the new wrestling, the soap opera era. Wrestling makes up a small portion of the show. We are now more involved in what goes on out of the ring that in the ring. Titles mean little as far as one's popularity goes. Mat skills have taken second place to mic skills in getting a character over with the crowd.
The WWF should be looked at like any other TV show, just like Vince has said many times. This isn't about wrestling. It's about entertainment. He is giving us what we want and constantly has us guessing. Like many soap operas (not that I watch them) there are constant twists and turns. There are some issues that are over the top silly and some that hit home. For example Big Show's father dying of cancer is a heavy topic but why should we have a problem with it. Not once did they ever make fun of people with cancer or make light of the illness in anyway.
They had one character (Boss Man) being a heel and saying all this nasty stuff about Big Show's father (by the way lets keep in mind that this is scripted and has nothing to do with Paul White's father in real life) to take advantage of Big Show, while the announcers and other wrestlers console Big Show or apologize for Boss Man's comments.
This is a storyline showing a big man feeling heart broken over the illness of his father (Paul did a great job by the way) and a bad guy taking advantage of him, nothing more. This was a story of two men in conflict and not about a cancer victim, the cancer victim was the only the fuel for the feud. By the way, we never saw Big Show's father being confronted by Boss Man and maybe if we did that would have crossed the line, MAYBE.
This story is no different than anything we would see on any given drama on TV. We see all sorts of terrible things on TV all the time but I don't recall anyone making a fuss about other shows targeted to young adults such as Beverly Hills 90210, Melrose Place, or Buffy The Vampire Slayer. These shows are no different than the WWF. I guess it's just taking some people too long to realize this.
We are going to see many episodes of RAW and Smackdown to come with more and more involved stories based on real life issues. The WWF as we knew it is no longer. More and more it is becoming a regular TV show. The only reason that Vince probably even has matches now is that it wouldn't make much sense to have all these "superstars" in an arena and not have them wrestle.
I'm sure if he had his way they wouldn't even wrestle any more or as little as possible.
Just take it all with a grain of salt. It's a TV show. It isn't advocating negative behavior or positive behavior. It's just mirroring what goes on in life. In the 80s we had the cold war. In the late 90s we have domestic issues. We all know it's fake. They are not trying to hide that issue, so let's at least be as big as them and try to "get it" instead of making ourselves look stupid for not understanding this simple issue.
Vince must be scratching his head at times thinking...How much more clear do I have to be!?. I don't think he has to worry though. There are enough people that do get it and enjoy it.
Darrin Robinson lives in Tillsonburg, Ontario. He can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.