Archive for February 22nd, 2011

WWE Hall of Fame Flashback: What Shawn Michaels Did to Lance Cade

“Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels Should Speak Up on What Happened to Lance Cade,” February 14,

“Did WWE’s Lance Cade Have Brain Damage? It May Not Be Too Late to Find Out,” February 15,

WWE Hall of Fame Notes: Bob Armstrong Is Going In – That’s Why Referee Scott Armstrong, Chris Benoit’s Text-Message Friend, Is Back

Sources tell me that “Bullet Bob” Armstrong is going into the World Wrestling Entertainment Hall of Fame this year. (Others named so far are Shawn Michaels and “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan.)

I don’t believe Armstrong, now 71, ever wrestled for WWE or its predecessor WWF; I know fans will quickly correct me if I’m wrong about that. But he had a long and distinguished career for southern promotions, and since WrestleMania is being held this year in Atlanta, his induction has a marketing hook.

An amusing offshoot is that this development triggered the return of WWE referee (and former wrestler) Scott Armstrong, Bullet Bob’s son. No one could figure out why Scott was released last year in the first place, since he got high marks for his work, but whatever. Scott is again gainfully employed by the world’s dominant pro wrestling promotion.

As readers of this blog and my book CHRIS & NANCY also know, Scott Armstrong was, along with wrestler Chavo Guerrero, a recipient of Chris Benoit’s final text messages, just before he killed himself after murdering his wife Nancy and their 7-year-old son Daniel. WWE’s explanation for why company higher-ups supposedly didn’t know about these messages for more than a day is full of inconsistencies. Guerrero’s public explanation on Fox News the next month (that the cryptic messages didn’t seem all that important at the time) directly contradicted another explanation, that he didn’t receive the messages because of transmission problems. Armstrong himself was said to have actually gone to the Houston airport on Sunday morning, June 24, 2007, in anticipation of picking up Benoit (who was supposed to be flying in from Atlanta for a pay-per-view show that night). Yet Armstrong too, according to WWE, did not see that top executives knew about Benoit’s text messages even after Benoit no-showed the Sunday night pay-per-view, necessitating script-doctoring.

Anyway … Welcome to the Hall, Bullet Bob.

As for Hall of Fame valedictorian Shawn Michaels, see:

“Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels Should Speak Up on What Happened to Lance Cade,” February 14,

“Did WWE’s WWE’s Lance Cade Have Brain Damage? It May Not Be Too Late to Find Out,” February 15,

Irv Muchnick

WWE Hall of Fame Notes: ‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan, Grandfather of the ‘Wellness Policy’

World Wrestling Entertainment has announced that “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, a mostly late eighties-early nineties guy, will join Shawn Michaels in the Hall of Fame class of 2011. Bully for Duggan.

I think pro wrestling experts would agree that Duggan’s best performances were for other promotions. From an historical standpoint, his main WWE legacy was something that isn’t likely to get mentioned at the April 2 induction ceremony: it was a 1987 incident involving Duggan and Khosrow Vasiri (“The Iron Sheik”) that provided the original impetus for what passes for company drug-testing.

Duggan and the Sheik were arrested by New Jersey state troopers. Duggan, who was driving, was charged with possession of marijuana and with drinking alcohol while behind the wheel. The Sheik was charged with possession of marijuana and cocaine. Duggan got a conditional discharge, Sheik a year’s probation.

The negative publicity was said to have most embarrassed Vince McMahon (whose company was then known as the World Wrestling Federation) because Duggan was a “babyface” and the Sheik was a “heel,” and babyfaces and heels are not supposed to be seen fraternizing.

In any event, McMahon then instituted drug-testing, mostly for recreational drugs; the joke inside the company was you got suspended if you tested positive for cocaine or negative for steroids.

Following the federal conviction of ring doctor George Zahorian in 1991, WWF then started testing for steroids. In 1996, random steroid testing was eliminated as a cost-saving measure, and also because deep-pocketed rival World Championship Wrestling was gaining a competitive advantage from WWF’s more stringent testing. And also, I might add, because no one was looking  any more.

In 2006, months after the heart attack death of star Eddie Guerrero, WWE reinstituted steroid testing as part of its “wellness policy.” But it all started with Hacksaw Jim Duggan. Hey-ohhhh!

As forHall of Fame valedictorian Shawn Michaels, see:

“Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels Should Speak Up on What Happened to Lance Cade,” February 14,

“Did WWE’s Lance Cade Have Brain Damage? It May Not Be Too Late to Find Out,” February 15,

Irv Muchnick

‘Duerson Suicide Shows NFL Body Count Rising Like WWE’s — But With New Intrigue’ … today at Beyond Chron

The gruesome decades-long underground American saga that is the football concussion crisis has never gotten in our faces quite like the story of the suicide last week, at age 50, of one-time National Football League defensive player of the year Dave Duerson.

How many levels are there to the news that Duerson put a gun to himself, but not before texting family that he wanted his brain donated for research on the brain-trauma syndrome now known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE)? Let us, like Elizabeth Barrett Browning, count them. It begins with the fact that he shot himself in the chest – perhaps with supreme confidence that by avoiding his head and leaving intact his postmortem brain tissue, it will confirm that he is around the 21st diagnosed case of CTE among former football players.

Duerson is the latest casualty of a sport that has evolved, via training technology and industrial design, into a form of gladiatorialism whose future human and economic viability is questionable. The New Yorker and The New York Times have started assessing this cultural phenomenon with their own brands of competence and Ivy League restraint. From the closeted gutter of pro wrestling, where all the same venalities play out with less pretense, I’m here to tell “the rest of the story” – such as how the same corrupt doctors who work for the NFL also shill for World Wrestling Entertainment, and how it’s all part of the same stock exchange of ethics for profits and jock-sniffing privileges.


Irv’s Tweets

February 2011
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