Archive for January 4th, 2010

Senate Candidate Linda McMahon Has No Good Answer to This Question (Part 1 – Introduction)

TODAY – Part 1, Introduction

Tuesday – WrestleMania 1991 Early Deaths 1-3 (Dino Bravo, Kerry “Texas Tornado” Von Erich, Davey Boy “British Bulldog” Smith)

Wednesday – WrestleMania 1991 Early Deaths 4-6 (John “EarthquakeTenta, Michael “Road Warrior Hawk Hegstrand, Ray “Hercules” Fernandez)

Thursday – WrestleMania 1991 Early Deaths 7-10 (Curt “Mr. Perfect” Hennig, Ray “Big Boss Man” Traylor, Brian “Demolition Crush” Adams, Sherri “Sensational Sherri Martel” Russell)

Friday – Facsimile of WWE Talent Contract

Saturday – “Two Words: Public Relations” – Vince McMahon on Why WWE Now Underwrites Drug Rehab for Ex-Wrestlers

Many Connecticut journalists covering the U.S. Senate candidacy of World Wrestling Entertainment’s Linda McMahon follow this blog. I take that as a compliment.

Some of them have told me that the information I’ve been putting out there is too dense. I take that as a challenge.

“We live in a sound-bite culture,” one reader pointed out. “Why don’t you simplify things? If you were a reporter in Connecticut and confronted Linda McMahon, what is the one question you would ask to put her on the spot?”

This series, currently scheduled for six parts (see above), attempts to meet this need.

We start with the question itself:

Ms. McMahon, no fewer than ten performers from your 1991 WrestleMania show alone would go on to die before age 50. Factors seem to include recreational drug abuse; abuse of anabolic steroids, along with painkillers, depression and anxiety medication, and other prescription drugs; and brain damage caused by dangerous industrial stunts, such as slamming chairs off their heads. Why should the voters of Connecticut not be taking into account this disturbing record of occupational health and safety?

Irvin Muchnick

NEXT: WrestleMania 1991 Early Deaths 1-3 (Dino Bravo, Kerry “Texas TornadoVon Erich, Davey Boy “British Bulldog” Smith)

‘WWE lawyer Jerry McDevitt read this cover to cover and so should you’ …

Full text of Alan Wojcik’s review of CHRIS & NANCY: The True Story of the Benoit Murder-Suicide and Pro Wrestling’s Cocktail of Death is viewable at this link:

Linda and Vince McMahon’s WWE: Good for Connecticut but Bad for Humanity?

An article today in Hearst’s Connecticut newspapers, by reporter Brian Lockhart, takes the debate over the U.S. Senate candidacy of World Wrestling Entertainment co-founder Linda McMahon exactly where I think  it should go.

I strongly encourage everyone to read “Even McMahon’s foes admit WWE is good for Connecticut,” On Lockhart’s blog, Political Capitol, he briefly touches on a related topic in a piece headlined “Lawmakers all bark, no bite when it comes to WWE?”,

There is much to discuss here about the tension between business development and moralism, and about the fascinating historical roles of key Connecticut political figures – most notably Lowell Weicker, the former senator and governor. In the coming weeks and months I hope to get into all of these topics in more depth.

But one aspect of the increased scrutiny of WWE operations, as a result of McMahon’s run for high elective office, overshadows all others. That is the shockingly abysmal occupational health and safety record of a global industry that WWE both dominates in the marketplace and largely controls on the creative side. In this area, Lockhart’s piece quotes me, along with Cary Ichter, the lawyer for Chris Benoit’s father and a member of the Georgia Athletic Commission.

Let’s move that ball down the field. One way to do that is to expose exactly what is said in the written agreement between WWE and its “independent contractor” talent. If taken to the regulatory, legislative, judicial, and constitutional mat, would such contract language prevail? And if the answer to that question is yes, do we as a society want it to prevail?

A bedrock subject — about which more in future posts. Meanwhile, bone up on Lockhart.

Irv Muchnick

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January 2010