Archive for July 14th, 2010

Another Wrestler Suicide Attempt

British wrestling journalist Mike Aldren reports that wrestler Chris Hamrick, 43, who worked for the original Philadelphia-based ECW, attempted suicide on  Tuesday. From Aldren’s Wrestling Globe Newsletter:

He had posted some strange messages on his Facebook page including, “BIG announcement tonight. Stay tuned. Its to die for!” followed later by “Hey world I just took 25 sleeping pills. Goodnight !” He had also sent out what were described as unusual text messages to friends. Last night authorities visited Hamrick’s residence in Rutherfordton, NC, to check on his welfare. He’s said to be getting the help he needs now with the support of his family.

I’m not familiar with Hamrick. According to his Wikipedia bio, he was once used by World Wrestling Entertainment in a skit on Raw.

Irv Muchnick

Linda McMahon’s Role in the WWE Pedophile Scandal Still Hangs, Unpublished, in the Politicos’ Air

The overall excellent new article about Linda McMahon in the conservative political magazine The Weekly Standard says that if World Wrestling Entertainment is Linda McMahon’s “calling card, it’s also her chief weakness. The WWE may be a billion-dollar company, but the success is accompanied by some unpleasant history, ranging from charges of drug use and sexual misconduct to complaints of business double-dealing. The scandals are numerous and have been heavily detailed in investigative articles and books, though they are hotly disputed by the McMahons.”

One scandal that writer Jonathan V. Last didn’t touch was the pedophile ring exposed in the early 1990s inside the company then called TitanSports / World Wrestling Federation. The Weekly Standard is not alone; just about the entire Connecticut campaign press corps is sitting on this sordid story. My blog has covered it in these posts:

“How Linda McMahon Managed the WWE Pedophile Scandal’s Damage Control,” April 19, https://wrestlingbabylon.wordpress.com/2010/04/19/how-linda-mcmahon-managed-the-wwe-pedophile-scandal%E2%80%99s-damage-control/.

“Linda McMahon’s Role in the WWE Pedophile Scandal: Additional Resources,” April 20, https://wrestlingbabylon.wordpress.com/2010/04/20/linda-mcmahon%E2%80%99s-role-in-the-wwe-pedophile-scandal-additional-resources/

(The general subject of company sex scandals is covered in a chapter of my 2007 book Wrestling Babylon. That chapter was republished on this blog on May 15 at https://wrestlingbabylon.wordpress.com/2010/05/15/muchnick-book-bonus-%E2%80%98in-bed-with-the-wwf-%E2%80%93-sex-and-scandal-in-pro-wrestling%E2%80%99/.)

The main additional resource is a lengthy two-part interview of one of the pedophile ring victims, Tom Cole, years ago in a journal called Wrestling Perspective (http://wrestlingperspective.com). Below are the Linda McMahon nuggets from the Cole interview. (I have the full interview in hand but was asked not to post it until Wrestling Perspective has it up on its website.)

  • Cole settled his lawsuit with the company in March 1992 just before the old Phil Donahue Show devoted an episode to the subject. Cole said WWF put him up all week at the Sheraton Hotel in Stamford, and Linda sent over a car and $5,000 for him to use in a shopping spree.
  • At the Donahue shoot, Cole sat in the studio audience alongside Linda and a wrestling personality, “The Lovely Elizabeth” Hulette (who, by the way, would die of a drug overdose a decade later).
  • After Cole returned to work for the company, “I was under subpoena by the federal government for the sex scandal for the WWF, the steroid scandal that they had and everything else. The WWF at the same time wanted me to share information with them about what the government was asking and I did. But every time I went before the government, I was to the point where it was driving me nuts. I said to Linda, ‘I don’t want to share any more information. I can’t handle this anymore. I just want to work. I don’t want to be bothered with all this stuff. I don’t want to tell you anything anymore.’ She got really pissed and things started deteriorating [and] I knew I probably wasn’t go to be there much longer.”
  • After Cole was fired from his second stint with the company, which lasted a little more than a year, WWF appealed his unemployment insurance claim. “They kept appealing my case, appealing my case and the last time, Linda McMahon went to my unemployment hearing. I brought up the subject of what I had gone through with the molestation when I was a kid from the sexual harassment and everything else. Linda hated the fact that I brought that up and said, ‘That has nothing to do with this. That’s not pertinent to what’s going on now.’”
  • WWF was represented at the hearing by Laura Brevetti. This was the same lawyer who would defend Vince McMahon and WWF at the 1994 federal steroid-trafficking trial. The story of Brevetti and her “fixer” husband, Martin Bergman, who was alleged to have attempted to suborn the testimony of Vince McMahon’s former secretary, is told in a 1995 New York Post article, “Tampering Cloud Over Wrestling Big’s Trial,” the full text of which can be viewed at http://muchnick.net/nyposttext.pdf.

Irv Muchnick

Superb Weekly Standard Article on Linda McMahon

“WrestleMania in Connecticut”

http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/wrestlemania-connecticut

Writer Jonathan V. Last hits all the important notes, politically and otherwise.

I learned several things I didn’t know before — such as the source of Lowell Weicker’s close relationship with the McMahon family.

My few quibbles with Last’s reporting are not worth recording at the expense of simply urging everyone to go read the story. The main quibble is the way he seems to allow to go unchallenged World Wrestling Entertainment’s assertion that it “changed the culture” of the pro wrestling industry to make it safer. The opposite is the case. Closely related is the false notion that wrestlers do not gain a competitive advantage from steroids because matches are theatrical performances rather than contests. This difference is actually the root of why the cosmetics of steroid enhancement are the big difference-maker — and also why, since Linda McMahon and her family set the standards, they bear responsibility for the human fallout behind their megaprofits.

But the most important thing is that, at last, a major outlet has taken on Linda McMahon and death, without smirks and without totally missing the point.

Irv Muchnick


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