Archive for October, 2010

Linda McMahon No-Shows ‘WWE Fan Appreciation Night’ in Hartford

Senate candidate Linda McMahon was supposed to make an appearance Saturday night at the World Wrestling Entertainment “Fan Appreciation  Night” show in Hartford. But she didn’t. “We purposely had a fluid schedule to allow her flexibility,” spokesman Ed Patru told Christopher Keating, blogging for the Hartford Courant.

OK …

Details at “WWE Show: Vince McMahon Encourages Fans To Vote Tuesday; Does Not Mention Linda’s Run For U.S. Senate,”


Irv Muchnick

Muchnick Book Bonus: Senate Candidate Linda McMahon’s 2007 Televised Tribute to a Murderer

A facsimile of Chapter 6 of my book CHRIS & NANCY: The True Story of the Benoit Murder-Suicide and Pro Wrestling’s Cocktail of Death (ECW Press, 2009) is viewable at

The chapter, entitled “Tribute to a Murderer,” recounts how World Wrestling Entertainment planned and aired a three-hour live tribute to dead wrestler Chris Benoit on the USA cable network on Monday night, June 25, 2007, at a point when top executives of the company – presumably including CEO Linda McMahon, and well ahead of the general public – knew that Benoit had committed double murder/suicide.


Irv Muchnick

Wrestler and Bestselling Author Mick Foley Supports Linda McMahon, Without Supporting Her

It’s a good thing Mick Foley, a pro wrestler and an engaging personality who knows how to write, doesn’t do steroids. If he did, he’d surely have torn numerous mental muscles loose from their tendons while composing his blog post today, “More thoughts on Linda McMahon,”

Foley  begins the essay by reiterating his “terribly predictable” support for McMahon for the U.S. Senate seat in Connecticut.

But Foley ends things on a more ambiguous note:

[T]here are some important issues on which Linda McMahon and I disagree. But if I were a Connecticut citizen, and I were faced with that choice, I would hope that I would be able to make it based on those important issues and with an honest desire to do what was best for the state, the country and the world – not on the condescending notion that involvement in a certain form of entertainment makes one unfit or undesirable for public office.

OK, we get it, Mick — people shouldn’t be condescending toward pro wrestling.

And I’m certainly not: I think McMahon should be held accountable for what happens in her industry, as I would expect from the CEO of the leading company in any industry. In her case, the record includes preventable occupational death, which she has done little to prevent; she seems still not to understand it or to accept responsibility for it.

So come again, what are those “important issues” that tip the scales in favor of Linda? Foley doesn’t say.


Irv Muchnick

EXCLUSIVE: Linda & Vince McMahon and Rudy Giuliani — And the McMahons’ Defense Lawyer’s ‘Fixer’ Husband — Go WAY Back Together

“Thank you Mayor Rudy Giuliani for joining me at SS&C Technologies in Windsor this afternoon,” Senate candidate Linda McMahon just tweeted.

Giuliani shares quite a history with Linda McMahon and her husband Vince, the impresarios of World Wrestling Entertainment. It is a story that remains untold during the campaign, except on this blog.

In 1994 Vince was acquitted at a federal trial charging him with conspiracy to distribute steroids. His lead defense counsel was Laura Brevetti (now a partner in WWE’s favorite outside law firm, K&L Gates).

Also in 1994, Brevetti married an odd character named Marty Bergman. Giuliani, then the mayor of New York City, officiated the ceremony.

Brother of the more celebrated investigative journalist Lowell Bergman (who was portrayed by Al Pacino in The Insider, the movie about tobacco industry exposes), Marty Bergman was a notorious “fixer.” A year after the McMahon trial, both the New York Post and the Village Voice reported that Bergman had been behind smears of the McMahon prosecutors that were published prior to the trial in The New York Observer. In addition, Bergman met with a key prosecution witness, Vince’s former secretary Emily Feinberg, and, representing himself as a tabloid television show producer, suggested that she could be paid in six figures for her exclusive story.

For full background on the wonderful friendships of Giuliani, Bergman, and the McMahons, see:

* “Tampering Cloud Over Wrestling Big’s Trial,” by Jack Newfield and Phil Mushnick, New York Post, November 22, 1995 — full text viewable at

* “The Fixer: Journalist. Private Eye. Mole. Snitch. It’s All in a Day’s Work for Marty Bergman, the Zelig of New York’s Information Highway,”  by William Bastone, Village Voice, December 19, 1995 — full text viewable at

Irv Muchnick

Is Vince (a) Helping or (b) Hurting Linda? Correct Answer: (b)

The headline is my response to the interesting post by Brian Lockhart of Hearst, “Is Vince McMahon helping or hurting Linda’s candidacy?”,

Irv Muchnick

Linda McMahon’s WWE and Connecticut Cops – Both Off Duty and On Duty

The death rattle of Linda McMahon’s Senate campaign in Connecticut is a series of publicity stunts by World Wrestling Entertainment, the company founded by Linda and her husband Vince. One of several surrounding controversies involves the staffing of off-duty cops from the Bridgeport police force on Election Day – Tuesday, November 2. That same night, WWE is shooting one of its television shows in the city.

For details, see blogger Lennie Grimaldi’s “Will McMahon Hire Off Duty City Cops Election Day?”,

The relationship between wrestling promotions and city police forces is a fascinating one in itself. The Bridgeport scenario reminds us that WWE’s close ties to another Connecticut police department, that of its home city of Stamford, may have played a role in the unsatisfying resolution of the story of the “Benoit Wikipedia Hacker” – the local college kid who in 2007 posted online, perhaps inadvertently, the news that star wrestler Chris Benoit’s wife was dead more than half a day before police in Georgia found the dead bodies of all three family members in a grisly double murder/suicide.

The full story was told earlier this year in a four-part series on this blog. Here are the links:

“Linda McMahon Chronicles: Strange Tale of the Stamford Police and the ‘Benoit Wikipedia Hacker’ (Part 1),” January 28,

“Linda McMahon Chronicles: Strange Tale of the Stamford Police and the ‘Benoit Wikipedia Hacker’ (Part 2),” January 29,

“Linda McMahon Chronicles: Strange Tale of the Stamford Police and the ‘Benoit Wikipedia Hacker’ (Part 3),” January 31,

“Linda McMahon Chronicles: Strange Tale of the Stamford Police and the ‘Benoit Wikipedia Hacker’ (Part 4),” February 23,


Irv Muchnick

Dave Meltzer Still Ain’t Ready for Reform

World Wrestling Entertainment’s Linda McMahon is losing her race for a U.S. Senate seat – in no small measure because of her association with the industry’s pandemic of young deaths, which has been publicized at new levels during the McMahon/Richard Blumenthal campaign.

That might embolden a journalist to renew calls to investigate and clean up wrestling. But not if you’re Dave Meltzer, publisher of the biggest fan publication, the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Meltzer, like the bulk of his readers, wants other people to take wrestling more seriously … until they actually do.

“It’s going to be difficult,” Meltzer writes in the November 3 issue of the Observer, referring to attempts to refocus Congress on occupational health and safety issues at WWE and other promotions, “because Congress was heavily criticized for wasting its time when it looked at steroids in baseball, and if baseball is considered a waste of time, imagine the criticism Congress would get for looking at pro wrestling. When they did have the hearings a few years ago, they were in private, a year after they were done a report came out that was quite negative. But then nothing was followed up on.”

Meltzer is mostly accurate (though there were no public hearings in 2007, only private interviews of the McMahon family and others by staff investigators for the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform). But most of all, he is incomplete – guarded. Real analysis would at least tip its hat to the possibility that, as a consequence of the 2010 election season, there is much greater reason than ever to expect Congress to follow up on the report that Congressman Henry Waxman punted to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy in January 2009.

C’mon, Dave, you can jump into the pool. The water is fine.

Irv Muchnick

Blumenthal Has Solid Lead: CT Capitol Report

“While individual polls have varied on the size of Blumenthal’s lead, it has remained constant and comfortable in our survey since the beginning of October,” says the poll’s Executive Director Matthew Fitch. “It appears that McMahon has reached her maximum level of support, and her only chance of winning would seem to be a total collapse in Democratic turnout, particularly among women where she fares the worst.

“One of McMahon’s worst demographic areas is the 25-point deficit among respondents who have a post-graduate degree, which constitutes a sizable percentage of the population in Connecticut. Further, while we usually think of Evangelical Christian voters as one of the strongest segments of the Republican base, McMahon is only winning 51-43 among them. Her message may be appealing to unaffiliated and non-traditional voters, but it does not appear to be reaching the more religion-oriented voters.”

Politico Story on Harry Reid’s Supporters at UFC

I’m quoted in a new piece at Politico by Molly Ball, “Ultimate Fighting Championship stars rumble for Harry Reid,”

Reid’s partnership with the UFC comes at a time when Democrats are delivering harsh criticisms of World Wrestling Entertainment under former CEO Linda McMahon, now the Republican Senate nominee in Connecticut.

Irv Muchnick, a vocal critic of the WWE’s employment and safety record under McMahon, said he saw a crucial difference with Reid’s involvement with the UFC.

“One, neither Dana White nor his wife is running for the Senate,” he wrote on his blog. Second, he said, UFC doesn’t have the same troubling record of fighter deaths as pro wrestling.

While the McMahons sought to deregulate professional wrestling starting in the 1980s, he said, White and the UFC have gone in the opposite direction, seeking legitimacy by embracing regulation from state athletic commissions.

Pro Wrestling Torch Covers Mike Benoit Press Conference and Linda McMahon’s Reaction

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October 2010