Archive for October, 2010

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

Linda McMahon Uses Stephanie in Another New Commercial. Did Mom Teach Daughter to Lie to Congress?

Stephanie McMahon Levesque, wife of wrestler “Triple H” and daughter of Linda McMahon, extols her mom in a new campaign commercial aimed at eroding Linda’s nearly 2-to-1 deficit to Connecticut Senate race opponent Richard Blumenthal among female voters.

Against that backdrop, I just thought I’d republish my August 24 post, “Did Linda McMahon’s Daughter Commit Perjury in Her Congressional Testimony?” See below


Originally published here on July 9 under the headline, “Now Don’t You Go Accusing Linda McMahon’s Daughter of Lying to Congress …” See also “Concussions? I Don’t Remember No Concussions,” July 10,, and “More Concussions, You Say? I Don’t Remember No Concussions,” July 12,

On December 14, 2007, Stephanie McMahon Levesque was interviewed by staff investigators of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. The session was among several involving top executives and contractors of World Wrestling Entertainment – including Stephanie’s father Vince McMahon and mother Linda McMahon. The investigation had been prompted by the June 2007 double murder/suicide of WWE star Chris Benoit.

True to family form, Linda played the buttoned-down corporate CEO in her interview, while Vince played the royal asshole in his. Stephanie, for her part, gave grossly misleading testimony about the concussions sustained by their company’s performers.

For example:

Q  Okay.   Have  ringside  doctors  or  treating  physicians  ever  diagnosed  a  wrestler  with  a concussion  and  reported  this  to  WWE?

A  That  I  am  aware  of,  no.   There  was  a  doctor  who  issued  a  warning  to  us,  you  know,  that  this  person  could  develop  a  concussion  but  currently  didn’t  have  signs  of  it,  and  that  person  never  wound  up  developing  one.

Q  Okay.   Are  you  aware  of  any  times  where  wrestlers  have  I  guess  selfreported ‐‐ where  wrestlers  have  selfreported  to  you  that  they  received  concussions  and  this  information  came  from  the  wrestler  rather  than  a  treating  doctor?

A  Not  that  I  am  aware  of,  but  I  am  not  saying  that  that  never  happened.

Q  Right.

A  Just  not  involved  me.

Q  Okay.   All  right.   Are  you  aware  of  any  incident  where  a  wrestler  in  a  match  received  a  concussion?

A  No.

Q  Does  WWE  have  a  policy  for  time  off  if  talent  suffers  a  concussion?

A  Yes.   We  go  with  the  recommendation  of  the  treating  physician.

Q  Okay.   How  about  in  cases  where  talent  has  suffered  multiple  concussions?

A  Well,  in  the  case ‐‐ the  only  case  I  can  think  of,  this  person  was ‐‐ actually,  I  think  he  is  still  under  contract  to  us.   And  he  suffered  a  number  of  concussions  and  has  wound  up,  I  think,  forming  a  foundation  to  look  into  concussions.   But  clearly  he  no  longer  performed  for  us.   We  are  not  going  to  put  anybody  in  danger.

Q  Okay.   You  have  indicated  that  you  are  not  aware  of  a  case  where  a  wrestler  has  received  a  concussion.   Do  you  believe  that  WWE  wrestlers  are  at  risk  for  concussions  because  of  the  nature  of  their  work?

A  I  think,  under  certain  circumstances,  yes.

Q  Can  you  describe  those  circumstances?

A  Well,  inherently  any  move  can  be  done  incorrectly.   You  really  are  giving  your  life  to  the  person  that  you  are  in  the  ring  with.   It  is  much  more  than  guys  just  punching  each  other.   Every  move,  even  a  simple  body  slam  could  go  wrong,  and  you  could  land  on  your  head.   That,  in  and  of  itself,  is  very,  you  know,  it  is  a  very  skilled  move  to  do.   You  wouldn’t  think  it  just  watching  it,  but  it  is.   So,  I  mean,  I  would  think  if  anything  went  wrong,  certainly  you  would  be  at  risk  for  concussion.

Q  Would  a  chair  shot  to  the  head  or  a  pile  driver  on  an  unpadded  surface,  would  those  present  concussion  risks?

A  Not ‐‐ I  mean,  a  pile  driver,  no,  because  your  head never  actually  hits.   And  a  chair  shot,  there  is  a  particular  way  to  hit  someone  with  a  chair.   And  again,  if  you  screwed  up  and  hit  someone  wrong,  then  sure.   Or  if  you  slipped  on  a  pile  driver  and  let  somebody  go,  absolutely.

Q  Okay.

A  But  the  moves  as  they  are  supposed  to  be  performed,  I  would  say,  no.

Q  Okay.

A  And  mistakes  do  happen,  certainly,  as  in  life.

Q  So  if  you  had  an  unskilled  wrestler  and  there  was  some  concern  that ‐‐ you  have  described,  I  think,  Hulk  Hogan  as  not  a  very  good  wrestler.

A  Right.   Which  I  didn’t  really  realize  I  was  on  the  record  and  wasn’t  thinking  about  that.   But  yes,  he ‐‐

There’s much more in the full 138-page transcript – viewable at – and I’ll get to the related topics in the next posts.

As Mike Benoit, Chris’s father, notes, Stephanie’s mush-mouthed testimony is especially interesting in light of the remembrance this week, on the Cageside Seats blog, of Chavo Guerrero’s terrifying 2004 concussion. Stephanie was among those who came to the ring to check on Guerrero.

“It appears,” Mike Benoit says with artful understatement, “that the whole family has selective memory.”


Thirteen months after Stephanie McMahon Levesque’s Oversight and Government Reform Committee interview, Congressman Henry Waxman punted the transcript, along with hundreds of other pages of background material, to the White House, on a Friday afternoon during the Bush-Obama interregnum, and called it a day. Waxman never explained why he sat on the information for more than a year and never held public hearings.

The same month Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell appointed Linda McMahon to the state Board of Education, and her political career was off and running.

And this week Stephanie’s husband, Paul “Triple H” Levesque, had surgery to repair a torn tendon in his arm.

Not that we’re accusing him of being a steroid user. Or his wife of lying to Congress.

Irv Muchnick

George Will, ‘The Guy With the Bow Tie,’ Now Likes Linda McMahon, But It Wasn’t Always So

George Will, the syndicated columnist and television pundit, fancies himself the conscience of conservatism. But his endorsement of Linda McMahon in his newly published column on the Connecticut Senate race proves only the limits of conscience in politics.

Will didn’t always think so highly of the McMahon family. When Vince and Linda McMahon in 2001 launched their XFL football league, Will called it “God’s way of telling Amerca it has too much leisure time.” Will also wrote that, more than football, “the XFL will offer puerile vulgarity, vicarious danger and derivative manliness for couch potatoes, particularly those in the coveted (by advertisers) category of 12-to-24-year-old males.”

(The full George Will column from 2001 can be viewed at,_the_xfl_is_getting_ready_to_rumble/page/full/.)

Asked about Will’s comments in a televised interview, Vince McMahon – playing the anti-elitist as only he can – replied, “You mean the guy with the bow tie?”

Will’s words above apply equally to Linda McMahon’s Senate bid. Just as the XFL was World Wrestling Entertainment’s brand extension into legit sports, her $50 million “self-funded” campaign is WWE’s brand extension into electoral politics. It is just as flawed and just as doomed to failure.

George Will, the conscience of conservatism, would be writing exactly that today except for one thing: its partisan inconvenience.

Irv Muchnick

Mike Benoit Press Conference Transcript

The transcript of the press conference in Hartford on Monday by Mike Benoit, the father of dead World Wrestling Entertainment performer Chris Benoit, can be viewed at

I tried to clean up as many typos as I could catch in the draft I was given, but I probably missed some.

Irv Muchnick

Author Muchnick Interviewed Thursday on Connecticut Radio

Irvin Muchnick, author of CHRIS & NANCY: The True Story of the Benoit Murder-Suicide and Pro Wrestling’s Cocktail of Death, will be interviewed by host Larry Rifkin on “Talk of the Town” on WATR Radio, 1320 AM, in Waterbury, Connecticut, on Thursday, October 28, at 12:30 p.m. Eastern time (9:30 a.m. Pacific).

The live interview, scheduled for 15 minutes, also will stream at

Audio of Muchnick’s previous interviews with Rifkin can be accessed at these links:


(MARCH 24)

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