Archive for July 2nd, 2010

Michael Steele’s Words: War By Other Means

On his Connecticut tour, Republican National Committee chair Michael Steele has been caught making two dumb remarks.

The second and admittedly more important one — which has Republicans and Democrats alike calling for his resignation — was “Keep in mind … [Afghanistan] was a war of Obama’s choosing. This is not something the United States had actively prosecuted or wanted to engage in.”

The first was what he said about Republican Senate candidate Linda McMahon:

“It just amazes me how, you know, if you put that kind of scrutiny to the people who are part of this administration, who are part of informing and advising the president of the United States, some of whom themselves are running for office this year, then I’m willing to have that conversation [about McMahon’s controversial background as CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment]. But don’t take me down that rabbit hole about this candidate who, as far as I know and everything I’ve seen, had nothing to do, the way you posited this question, with those decisions at that time and say that as national chairman I am somehow now going to be responsible for decisions made by the WWE?”

Choose your own Raw or Smackdown punch line.

Irv Muchnick

Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat in Intensive Care

All of us who have been thrilled over the years by the brilliant performances of pro wrestler Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat are pulling for his speedy recovery from a brain aneurysm diagnosed Wednesday in Tampa.

Mike Aldren of Wrestling Globe Newsletter reports that hospital sources say Steamboat, 57, is in intensive care, where he is “stable, coherent and comfortable,” but “still has a long way to go.”

Here’s a topical Steamboat memory. In the late 1980s World Wrestling Entertainment (then called WWF) had an NBC show, Saturday Night’s Main Event, which served as an irregular replacement for Saturday Night Live (and by the way, for at least a while did better ratings than SNL).

On one SNME, Steamboat took a “DDT” from Jake “The Snake” Roberts on the concrete floor outside the ring. The move was botched and Steamboat was legitimately knocked unconscious. Later, Steamboat was shown on camera, woozy and incoherent, and it was supposed to be kind of funny. This was decades before Chris Benoit, Dr. Bennet Omalu’s brain-injury studies, and Dr. Joseph Maroon’s hire as WWE medical director.

Irv Muchnick

Yo, NFL Spokesman Greg Aiello — What’s Up With WWE Medical Director Joseph Maroon?

This is the text of a fax sent on June 15 to Greg Aiello, vice  president for public relations of the National Football League, and resent yesterday.

On March 19, I posted an item that, according to you, Dr. Joseph Maroon was still on the NFL concussion committee. The June 1 article in The New York Times suggests that is no longer the case, as the committee’s new co-chairs have announced that the league is severing all past ties in this research. Could you please update me on Dr. Maroon’s status both with the NFL and with the Pittsburgh Steelers?

Many thanks.

Irv Muchnick

Linda McMahon’s Body Count – Dead People – Remains a Taboo Subject

Now The Wall Street Journal has joined the conversation of whether World Wrestling Entertainment’s “image” is a factor in its co-founder and former CEO Linda McMahon’s Senate race in Connecticut.

See “Pro Wrestling’s Image Looms Over Senate Race,”

Where the elite meet to eat, the dialogue has progressed from  wrestling’s raunchiness to wrestling’s steroids. But it has yet to go where it belongs: to wrestling’s deaths. The Journal mentioned only one, Chris Benoit’s 2007 double murder/suicide. And that was mostly to create an opening to discuss the investigation of Congressman Henry Waxman, who breaks his 18 months of silence to provide a quote.

The Journal quoted WWE flack Robert Zimmerman’s rejoinder that Waxman  is a “political blowhard.” But the newspaper didn’t get into why Waxman never pulled the trigger on public hearings or, for that matter, how Linda and Vince McMahon finessed a mid-nineties federal criminal investigation.

Still, the McMahon campaign and “image” have taken a black eye. I hear The New York Times is about to tackle the McMahon mystique, too. (No, I haven’’t spoken to anyone there.)

Irv Muchnick

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July 2010