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SFR announcement

Joined: 26 Jul 2004
Posts: 997
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anomaly wrote:
thinking about wrestling again forced me to rewatch this.....

it's on Netflix streaming too.....

Don't be like me and accidentally rent "Beyond the Ring"

However, if you are a fan of C movies then this is for you. It even features modern day Gary Busy (ad libbing horribly) and the bad-guy sensei from the original Karate Kid.
Post Tue May 24, 2011 1:50 pm
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Joined: 08 Apr 2008
Posts: 948
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I really want to watch this documentary. While I did abandon wrestling by about 14, It was huge in my house even after. I mean I used to watch the Texas World Class Championship Wrestling with the Von Erich's and stuff.

I could really get into this doc.

Anyone remember The One Man Gang.
Post Tue May 24, 2011 3:24 pm
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Mark in Minnesota

Joined: 02 Jan 2004
Posts: 2112
Location: Saint Louis Park, MN
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Beyond the Mat was some dark shit in its time, but the reality in the nearly two decades since it was made has been much worse.

I used to love pro wrestling, watching it weekly from about 1995-1996 through about 2006. I loved the pageantry, the history and tradition of it; the peculiar kind of pride the great old men of the sport carried around with them and imparted to their loyal fans. Ric Flair's angry tirades, summoning up names like Harley Race to remind fans that what they were watching had a pedigree paid in blood, sweat, and miles of open road; the stiff but accomplished pride of "workrate" wrestlers like Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko; the sheer love of and sacrifice for profession and audience demonstrated by Mick Foley and a few others like him. It's a complicated thing and it's not something you can really understand just by watching a an hour or two of it every couple of years. There's a deep and mostly oral tradition there; my fandom was shaped by a friend of mine who had grown up watching NWA and early WCW product in Delaware and took his knowledge west where he shared it with me and a number of his other friends. My friend loved Chris Benoit and Eddy Guerrero dearly, more than he loved anyone else practicing that profession. My friend died in a car accident ten days before Wrestlemania 20, and those of us who mourned his loss found genuine catharsis and real tears watching Benoit and Guerrero both win their first world titles later that night.

I remember feeling heartbroken when those two wrestlers both met their own sudden and tragic ends relatively soon after, but also a little glad that my friend didn't have to bear those losses, because death always hit him a lot harder than it hit me. Those three deaths (my friend, and two of his favorite wrestlers) were the beginning of the end for me with that sport. Our love for Chris Benoit and his work ethic were a small part of why he wrestled the way he did; did steady harm to himself for years the way he did; in the particular circumstances for his death we therefore found some small amount of blame for ourselves. Likewise with Eddy Guerrero, whose earlier drug abuse had weakened his heart and whose death was therefore a consequence of a lifestyle he chose to live, because we helped pay him to live it and entertain us.

When I stopped, I stopped partly out of indifference, partly because I missed my friend, and largely because 5 hours a week plus pay-per-view money had become too much to spend on that particular hobby. The moral concerns were there as an undercurrent only; but they are the reason I have always balked at picking it up again, seeking to share it with others the way it was once shared with me.

The fact that I've always known and can no longer live with: Pro wrestling grinds good men and women up, wastes them. The schedule, the cost margins, the lack of decent health care, the intentional blurring of fact and fiction both in front of and behind the cameras. So many people beloved by audiences and peers, dead young and dead tragically. Concussions, drug addiction, a life on the road with no off-season, relationships between ownership and employees that encourage people to work hurt, stay well past their prime, and use claims of chronic injury as a cover to abuse prescription medication.

They should be carrying accident insurance just like the UFC now does; instead somebody who gets hurt and goes for surgery can find themselves fired via Fedex, or paid through rehab and then fired because "creative has nothing for them right now."

No pensions. Too little in the way of meaningful insurance or transition into back-office and broadcasting roles. Not much in the way of royalties, and character roles often belong to the promotion rather than to the wrestler who originated them--in spite of the fact that they often can't be meaningfully recycled.

Just excerpts from that list, wrestlers that I remember watching:
Louie Spiccoli - 27
Lance Cade - 29
Crash Holly - 32
The Renegade - 33
Chris Candido - 33
Test - 33
Bobby Duncum Jr. - 34
Owen Hart - 34
Big Dick Dudley - 34
Brian Pillman - 35
Umaga - 36
Pitbull #2 - 36
Mark Curtis - 38
Eddie Guerrero - 38
John Kronus - 38
Davey Boy Smith - 39
Johnny Grunge - 39
Chris Kanyon - 40
Terry Gordy - 40
Chris Benoit - 40
Rick Rude - 41
Randy Anderson - 41
Miss Elizabeth - 42
Big Boss Man - 42
Earthquake - 42
Mike Awesome - 42
Brian Adams (Crush) - 43
Nancy Benoit (Woman) - 43
Curt Hennig - 44
Bam Bam Bigelow - 45
Hawk - 46
Mitsuharu Misawa - 46
Luna Vachon - 48
Rocco Rock - 49
Sherri Martel - 49
Steve Williams - 49
Randy Savage - 58

The list is a lot longer, these are just the ones I can personally remember having watched over the years I was a fan; 2-3 bodies a year every year since I first started watching, and this is a small profession--if IT were this lethal I would have long since sought another line of work.

Some of these were just honest could-have-happened-to-anyone tragedy but most of them were a direct result of the wrestling lifestyle. Savage, dead at 58 of heart failure, will almost certainly turn out the same once the autopsy games have all been played. We know he never really abandoned his pro wrestler's identity, even as he aged relatively gracefully out of his profession. We know that recreational drug abuse and steroid abuse were both rampant throughout his career, and some of us remember the rumors that this sort of drug abuse might have followed him into (and subsequently out of) WCW.

I also remember my friend telling me time and time again for years about how great the match Randy Savage had with Ricky Steamboat was; in the oral tradition that was handed down to me, Savage was an elder statesman who had somewhat fallen from grace. I didn't miss his absence from the sport because the things that made him a "great" mostly predated my enthusiasm for the product. I was saddened to hear of Savage's death but not particularly surprised by it; he didn't seem to adjust to life after wrestling the way some others from his era did.

Randy Savage didn't make it to 65, but as far as people on this list he's one of the luckiest ones--and some of the unlucky ones haven't even made the list yet. It's sounding like Scott Hall will probably be dead from drug abuse before the year is out.

In ten years as a wrestling fan I probably poured thousands of dollars into an entertainment machine that ruins people for money. I pretty much just moved all of that spending from WWE to UFC and now I see the same thing happening in MMA with stories like Gary Goodridge, Mark Kerr, Jens Pulver, Ken Shamrock, Dan Severn, and others. UFC seems more cognizant of the problem, but the money I spent on WCW and WWF/WWE has gradually weighed on my conscience more and more over the years since I stopped buying into it and I wonder often if I'll feel the same way about UFC.

Having been a fan of pro wrestling is a part of who I am. I have a good deal of sentiment wrapped up in it, but I'll never go back to it as long as the sport keeps killing its own like this.

Blueprint has a similar rant on his latest album about all the deaths in hip-hop. One of the worst things about how the independent music scene has unfolded over the last ten years is that it offers no better solutions; Kool Herc's medical bills being paid by a Sean Combs act of grand charity is no way to run an industry that has made so many people this happy. But that's really a topic for another thread.
Post Wed May 25, 2011 12:23 am
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xX gideon Xx

Joined: 22 Sep 2008
Posts: 142
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that's a great post, mark. thanks for it.
Post Wed May 25, 2011 11:04 am
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p00ny tang

Joined: 30 Jun 2002
Posts: 6413
Location: Detroit, Michigan
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Mark in Minnesota wrote:
Blueprint has a similar rant on his latest album about all the deaths in hip-hop. One of the worst things about how the independent music scene has unfolded over the last ten years is that it offers no better solutions; Kool Herc's medical bills being paid by a Sean Combs act of grand charity is no way to run an industry that has made so many people this happy. But that's really a topic for another thread.


Vordul is probably still paying for what Will High did to his jaw.

Too bad we're not all Canadians.
Post Wed May 25, 2011 6:44 pm
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Joined: 20 Jul 2010
Posts: 151
Location: Cincinnati Ohio
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Mark...I just read that list you posted and it was like a serious slap in my face. I used to be a total "mark" when it came to pro-wrestling...way back to the days of Gordon Solie at the Omni in Atlanta commentating that early NWA you spoke of. I watched it grow into the beast that it is....the wars between WWE and WCW on Monday nights..and yes...went broke from the PPVs. I too lost interest over the years and had no idea that so many of the people I had watched over the years were gone. So sad.
Post Wed May 25, 2011 10:53 pm
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