Friday, March 30, 2018

AS I SEE IT 3/30: Someone in Louisiana is trying to sanitize wrestling for your protection

Bob Magee
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets
It's Wrestlemania week, and fans should be concentrating on the story lines and matches on the Wrestlemania card, and all the associated WWE, NXT, and independent shows that weekend.

But this is wrestling, and of course, there has to be drama.

Late last week, The Louisiana State Athletic Commission issued rules which ban pretty much anything short of a college wrestling match (important note...for some):

1. All variations of the Pile Driver;

2. All variations of the Power Bomb;

3. The “Moonsault”, “Shooting Star”, or “450 Splash” or any variation thereof which involves one wrestler, leaping or flipping off the ropes or turnbuckles to contact the head or neck of the opponent with any part of his body;

4. The “Stungun” of any variation thereof which results in the one fighter’s head or neck being dragged, draped or “closelined” [sic] across the ropes;

5. The striking of a wrestler’s head with any object, chair, trashcan [sic] lid, etc., and

6. No wrestler shall throw, push, shove or force another out of the ring or over the top rope.

Talent can get around these "regulations" including “provided permission is sought and obtained prior to the event by both wrestlers and the requesting wrestlers have sufficient training, athletic ability and experience to perform the maneuver without endangering one another.”

Now.....WWE is not subject to these regulations. Neither is Ring of Honor. John Green Jr., a lawyer who serves as the commission secretary confirmed exceptions have been made for these two companies.

So think about this: Will Ospreay does a move which falls under #3 in Ring Of Honor. That's OK because "he's a professional". But when he does this same move at CZW, or EVOLVE, or WWN, he's not "professional" Does anyone realize how patently stupid this sounds?

Then there's the matter wrestling promotions owned by other big companies or people with deep pockets that might have axes to grind.

Can't wait until someone from MGM (remember: Lucha Underground) calls the Governor's office and asks if they want any more movies in their state. Or the Canadian billionaire that owns TNA has his lawyers call. Or when EVOLVE/WWN (all but in name a feeder to WWE) calls Vince and asks him to tell Louisiana to back off....

As far as Louisiana is concerned, they/we are money with legs. WrestleMania 30 generated a record $142.2 million in economic impact for New Orleans. Think that money doesn't talk? So do you by reminding that YOU are that lifeblood...the person who spends tourist money and makes up those figures above. While fans are obviously primarily going to see Wrestlemania and the associated WWE events, they're also going to see twenty or so independent shows and conventions associated with Wrestlemania. They're spending $2-3,000 per person (or more) in many cases. They aren't just "wrestling fans". They are the kind of money I cited above.

Contact the Governor's office, and let them know how unfair, illegal, and disrespectful to fans (aka tourists, aka money) and wrestlers who've spent a lifetime learning what they do.

the Governor's office and let them know how unenforceable, unfair, and likely illegal these regulations are. Point out the Will Ospreay example I gave above.

For those who think Governor's offices don't listen to such things, I'll take you back to Pennsylvania and 2005. The Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission placed a draconian ban on a long list of things used by CZW, including barbed wire. There was one problem. That very month, WWE held a barbed wire cage main event at the No Way Out PPV at the Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh, PA with Big Show taking on John Bradshaw Layfield. Pittsburgh radio stations ran advertisements months ahead of time promoting "the first ever barbed wire cage match for the WWE championship." 

This match was allowed to occur, despite the fact that the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission banned the use of barbed wire and fluorescent light tubes in professional wrestling events in November 2002.

The Pennsylvania Governor's office was bombed with emails and phone calls, to the point that the State Athletic Commission was finally forced to back off.
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Until next time....