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August 09, 1999 - Image 15

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1999-08-09

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

ro esswnal
wrestling -
times are
a 'ckangiZ
Stephen A. Rom
Daily Sprts Niser
DETROIT - Is wrestling fake?
At one time, anyone daring to pose
that question to a professional wrestler
would be taking the risk of an "...open-
hand slap" to the face.
That's what happened when the World
Wrestling Federation's "Dr. D," David
Shultz, was confronted by a rather bold
ABC television
eporter in the tun- WRESTLING
el area of
Madison Square Commentary
Garden, over a -----------------
decade ago. Resulting ramifications of
the assault included wide-spread nega-
live media, as well as a suhstantial pay-
day to the reporter on behalf of the
WWF. Not surprising, Shultz was
shipped out soon afterward.
That's quite a sentence to be handed
own for a wrestler who was merely
smacking down on behalf of his industry.
The "Stone Cold" one, Steve Austin,
surely would have been quite proud,
especially if he considered that 10 years
ago, things were drastically different.
Today, in the world of professional
wrestling, it's apparently acceptable to
kidnap the teenage daughter of the pres-
ident of the WWF, Vince McMahon Jr.,
in front of a live arena audience - as
was pulled-off by current fan-favorite,
'he Undertaker, earlier this year.
Fifteen years ago, there would have
been no stage for such milarky.
Back then, live television broadcasts
were taped in a studio, in front of an
audience no bigger than that which
might frequent a large theatre.
Can you smell what 'The Rock' is
cookin"?
The times have changed.
0 Today, it's standing room only - lux-
ry boxes included. Capacity crowds,
like the one that filled Joe Louis Arena
on Sunday night, are the norm for the
WWF. As a result, it's anything goes.
References to drinking, sex, marijuana
and prostitution are apparently what it
takes for an American audience to prefer
WWF's Monday Night Raw over the
NFL's Monday Night Football.
Not everyone is going along, thankful-
ly. A short time ago, one of the bigger
names in the mix, Sable, realized she had
ad enough of the antics. When the star-
studded beauty (and Playboy Playmate)
was asked by McMahon to participate in
a storyline that would engage her in acts
of lesbianism, she sued - and won.
Now, if any fan wants to check out
Sable's assets, their only option will be to
refer to their backlog of Playboys.
It could be worse.
After all, 10 years ago when fans
anted to get a glimpse of Miss
,lizabeth - Randy "Macho Man"
Savage's companion - all they could do
was get up real close to the television.
My, how the times have changed.

Monday, August 9, 1999 - The Michigan Daily - 15.,
WORLD WIDE FRACAS
EXPLORING THE PHENOMENON OF THE NATION'S MOST POPULAR ... SPORT?

By )on Zemke
Daly Spsrts Wrie
DETROIT - This is entertainment at
its best. In front of a sold out Joe Louis
Arena, muscle-ripped men and women
performed athletic, acrobatic and theatri-
cal feats that some pro-athletes would
have trouble executing. But these ath-
letes don't compete. They're entertain-
ment.
The World Wrestling Federation has
always been the guilty pleasure of most
sports fans. The fans know it's not real.
The media knows it's not competition.
And recently in an A&E special, WWF
owner Vince McMahon owned up to the
fact that the matches are scripted.
So the skeleton finally took its last
foot out of the closet door, and wrestling
finally owned up to what it is - a spec-
tacle. And what a spectacle it is. No
where else can money, sex and violence
mix in all their flamboyance and still
find themselves on prime-time cable.

As Sunday Night Heat started last
night, the announcer told the crowd there
was 30 seconds until the live televised
matches would begin - they came to
their feet. Then the lights went out and
the roar of the crowd ensued, followed by
loud fireworks as former porn star Val
Venus entered the ring.
Where else but America can this hap-
pen and still be suitable for children?
And what better to follow a porn star
than Sexual Chocolate. The wrestler
made his way to the ring with two cham-
pionship belts in hand going from corner
to corner of the ring egging the crowd
on. That is until Venus attacked him from
behind to start the night's fights.
The shot in the back was the first of
many for the night as the wrestlers
worked in more quirks to their on-going
theatrical performance than Days of Our
Lives. And there was no shame in the
way they did it. The second match fea-
tured female wrestlers in an "equal

opportunity" bout bringing the testos-
terone level to even higher peek. What
better to get a crowd of mostly adoles-
cent males (or at least males reliving
their adolescence) aroused than women
with implants clawing at each other?
In the lull between matches, the crowd
could catch commercials on the movie
screen above the tunnel, pushing the lat-
est WWF action figure. Even Chef
Boyardee found his way into the act as
crowd favorite the Rock could definitely
"smell what's cooking" from the dozens
of bikini models that surrounded him.
Sex somehow found its way into each
and every match, whether it was female
wrestlers writing "SKANK" and
"SLUT" on each other with black per-
manent marker, or the eight beautiful and
sparsely dressed women that followed
the Godfather into the ring, all singing
his chant, "pimpin' ain't easy."
Violence had its place when wrestlers
like Al Snow went off crushing a

Berenson praises annual event

By Michael Kern
Daily sports Editor
While there may have been a few
intense moments on the ice this past
Friday as Blue defeated White 9-8 in the
annual alumni game at Yost Ice Arena,
the real competition was yet to come in
the golf outing scheduled for Saturday
morning.
"There's a lot more trash talking going
on on the golf course with the Michigan
Hockey Golf Open trophy up for grabs"
said Brian Wiseman '94, who led the
IHL in scoring with 109 points and was
named the league's MVP
If you listen to players and coaches,
the evening's three games, divided by
age group, are more about catching up
with old teammates and sharing stories
than pounding each other into submis-
sion.
"It's a chance for guys who played
together, especially from different parts
of the country, to get together." former
goaltender Marty Turco said. "Being as
busy as we are, it's hard to get to see each
other. It's good to get to see guys I never
played with. That's the best part about it,
just getting to see the guys and being
home."
The alumni weekend began as a one
day golf event but has since grown into
weekend of events, beginning with the
three alumni games.
"This is the highlight of the summer
for our program," said Michigan coach
Red Berenson, who played in the first
game of the evening. "To see our best
players come back is really important.
For Brendan (Morrison) to come back
and Wiseman and Shields and Turco and
on and on. It makes it really special."
The 35-and-under game was the high-
light of the evening for the nearly 1,500
fans in attendance, as it featured I I play-
ers still currently active in professional
hockey, including current NHL players
like Morrison, defenseman Blake Sloan,
and goalie Steve Shields.
Some of the players were a bit rusty,
but it didn't take much to bring back the

Peter Savarino
sneaks a shot past
goaltender Marty
Turco in last
Friday's alumni
hockey game at
Yost Ice Arena.
"This is the
highlight of the
summer for our
program," said
coach Red
Berenson.
MICHELLE sWELNIS/Daity
each game.
But the weekend is more for the for-
mer players and coaches than for the
fans. The game allowed recent players
like Hayes and former forward Sean
Ritchlin to create new mernories along
with old-timers like Dean Lucier and
Bob White.
"As long as they have this event, I'll
always be here;" Hayes said.

wrestler's pop can on his head and then
slamming the same wrestler into the
refreshment stand. All because the other
poor wrestler couldn't read the warning
printed on Snow's forehead, "HELP
ME," and insulted Snows chihuahua.
Or even the acrobatic helicopter kicks
by another crowd favorite X-Pac imme-
diately followed by a yell of "suck it" and
the usual hands-on-crotch gesture. Those
antics were part of a free-for-all six-way i
tag team match between many of the
WWF superstars with the exception of
mega-star Stone Cold Steve Austin.
The children sitting next to me had a
look of amazement as they saw their
heroes and villains pummel each other.
And even after the match was over and
the Rock made his way to the locker
room - sweaty, bruised, but victorious
- ie still had enough energy in him to
stop, talk and take a picture with the
young kids who snuck backstage.
That was entertainment.
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old magic.
"Everyone here is a good hockey
player," said Bobby Hayes, one of last
season's associate captains. "When you
are around other good hockey players, it
doesn't take much to look good."
Besides the chance to see some of
their favorite Michigan athletes back on
the ice, fans were also able to meet the
players and get autographs at the end of

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