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1) Bret Hart tells the story that when The Hart Foundation won the belts off The Bulldogs in Tampa in January of 1987, nobody in the locker room expected Dynamite Kid to show up that day because he had a broken back and could barely move, let alone work. So when Dynamite showed up that day to do the honors even though he had to be escorted to the ring by Davey, the entire locker room gave him a standing ovation when he walked through the curtain.
2) There is also the story about Dynamite being one of the first people to embrace Harley Race when he came into the promotion, because there were guys in the back who Harley had heat with from when he was booking in Kansas City. I think it was Honky who needling Race about something and Dynamite quickly put him back in his box which gained him a lot of respect among the veterans.
3) There is also the story from Randy Savage that he was going to a bar one night that was going to be frequented by a lot of JCP talent and Savage was the WWE Champion at the time and realized that he was going into enemy territory with a big target on his chest as World Champion. Dynamite Kid was one of the first to volunteer along with Rick Rude to accompany Savage into the bar that night basically as his bodyguard to make sure that nobody on the JCP side of things tried to make a name for themselves at Savage's expense.
4) Shawn Michaels offers the story that when he and Marty Jannetty first came into the promotion they had a ton of heat with the other boys and it was getting to the point where there was probably going to be some type of escalation of tensions. According to HBK, Dynamite pulled him aside and told him that if he wanted to make things easier on himself, he needed to go around to all the boys and offer handshakes and introductions because word was getting around that The Rockers weren't business or respectful or however you want to put that. Michaels noted that after he and Marty did this, things did get better for them in terms of their relations with the rest of the locker room.
The problem is that outside of that bubble, she more than likely has peaked as a pop culture figure and that more than anything else speaks of WWE's inability the court talent when they are at the height of their fame. It's been mentioned many times before but bears mentioning again that WWE is not a destination location for talent that has established itself outside of the industry. Instead it is a stepping stone for talent within the industry hoping to branch out into other forms of entertainment. Nobody riding the crest of their fame is going to put their hand up and say "I want to sign a long term contract with WWE" because it represents a step back in terms of overall visibility. Instead it's people like Rousey whose options are beginning to become limited in terms of where they were at the peak of their pop culture relevance who seek out WWE either for a quick payday, reputation rebuild or both. Another issue with signing outside talent that has already peaked in terms of pop culture relevance is that they aren't going to be able to bring in eyes from outside the "WWE Universe" bubble to the product because quite frankly they just don't captivate the eye of the general public as they once did. That's bad news for WWE or whomever happens to be signing the paychecks because without consistently luring in the general public, the expected "non-wrestling fan" ratings bump won't be there. That said I expect WWE to push Rousey heavily over the next twelve months at least so they can get a gauge on what they have here. They've clearly invested money in her and WWE will understandably exhaust all options in terms of getting a return on that investment. I do believe however, that they will also afford themselves the means to pivot away from Rousey if necessary in the next twelve months if they believe she's not performing up to expectations. So if anything I think wrestling fans should be able to hang their hat on that.
I'd be careful with that recommendation Tito. I understand where you are going here but since you much like myself are a champion of wrestling history, it's worth pointing out that this is the exact strategy that basically killed Ricky Steamboat's career. In 1989 when Steamboat returned to the NWA for a program with Ric Flair, the fans were ready to embrace him as wrestling's hottest babyface but then he started bringing Bonnie and Little Ricky to the ring with him on daily basis and the promotion started selling that he was a family man and proud husband and that was pretty much the death knell of his career as main eventer. It's funny as much as society has evolved since 1989, the idea of pushing Steamboat as a family man is still routinely derided by folks like Jim Cornette and Ric Flair who have gone on record as saying the idea of presenting a main event talent in that light was one of the worst ideas in the history of the industry as it completely killed any momentum Steamboat had going for him as a top babyface and the involvement of Bonnie and Little Ricky eventually caused fans to turn off Ricky and really turn on for Flair who at the time was the promotion's top heel. Essentially in a strange way we have Bonnie Steamboat to thank for the Flair babyface turn and the resultant Flair/Funk rivalry of 1989 because she absolutely killed her husband's career as a top drawing babyface which I'm guessing was not the long term plan when he was brought back to the NWA in early 1989.
At the root of the issue I think aside from the atrocities which Moolah has been accused of is the idea that wrestling fans in 2018, have just about had a gut full of the "WWE narrative". You know what I'm talking about. The way the WWE either enshrines or castigates/shames former wrestling talent based upon their relationship with the company. For example, Moolah for the entirely of her wrestling career was in the good graces of WWE and was thus promoted as a living legend and the cornerstone of women's wrestling. While this is not exactly a truthful reading of wrestling history (read Penny Banner's critique of Moolah as a wrestling talent if you want an alternate perspective), wrestling fans by and large lived with it because it wasn't that huge of a deal and because they really had no choice. It wasn't until the accusations of Moolah's misconduct outside of the ring came to light in the late nineties, when the worm began to turn against her in the public forum. These allegations have been out there for two decades now with most wrestling fans our age being aware of them and while Moolah denied them, she really didn't offer up any hard evidence to disprove them either. In the end Moolah passed away around a decade ago and I believe sleeping dogs would've been allowed to lie in this matter if the WWE didn't try to once again foist their narrative regarding Moolah as a living legend/positive influence on pro wrestling this past week. The problem that WWE ran into this past week (as you noted in your column Tito) is that we have this little thing called the internet now which has grown to serve as a virtual custodian of history both good and bad. It allows folks to both access and share information that decades ago would've been relegated to the dead letter files of society and given how quickly information is shared these days, change is brought about much quicker now than it was even a decade ago as evidenced with the turnaround regarding the Moolah situation this week.
As to why Moolah's situation was viewed differently by society than Hogan or Warrior's? Well there is that "WWE narrative" thing I've been driving home but also there is a marketable difference between someone saying something inappropriate and someone conducting their affairs in a way where it negatively impacts the lives of others which is what Moolah has been accused of doing across many forums for over two decades now. That's really it in a nutshell from my vantage point.
I mean is that basically what this all comes down to in a nutshell and if it is I can't see how the situation can be looked at with anything else besides disappointment. I mean I'm not naive enough not to understand why not one member of the current ladies roster said anything against this but are they really going to try and sell that line about how the WWE women's division is based upon the notion of empowerment? Because not a single one of them stood up against this which flies directly in the face of how they present themselves individually and collectively as a roster to the general public. They had an opportunity here to take the reigns and do something truly remarkable that would be in line with the image that they put out there time after time and they failed.
In addition to this it is quite obvious that when WWE talent is interviewed, they are either instructed or compelled to present life working for the WWE as nothing less than a bowl of cherries. You will rarely (if ever) hear a WWE talent use the public forum to complain about a lack of a push, backstage politics or the qualifications of another wrestler. Around ten years ago after being left off of "Wrestlemania 22", Carlito took to the media with his grievances about not being featured on the show and his WWE career wasn't long for the fall after that. So coupled together with the Dolph Ziggler incident, Tito mentioned it's painfully obvious what happens to contracted talent who present an alternate narrative about WWE than the one they want out there for public consumption.
That said, it's worth noting that there is talent out there that seemingly don't give a damn about the narrative WWE wants out there. Two names that instantly come to mind are Mick Foley and Bret Hart both of whom have been highly critical about certain aspects of WWE despite being featured on WWE programming regularly in the past several years. Foley was extremely critical of the WWE's handling of Daniel Bryan and Hart was likewise critical of the WWE's inability to retain the services of CM Punk. Hart has also been very candid regarding his feelings regarding the propensity of injuries that have occurred in WWE at the hands of Seth Rollins. These are all examples of narratives that fly directly in the face of the WWE's public image. So while the majority of talent does toe the company line, it is worth noting that there are some like Foley and Hart that more times than not remain true to their own convictions.
Of course Bass, is most remembered for his run in WWE where he feuded with the likes of Brady Boone, Junkyard Dog and Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake. To this day, both himself and Beefcake hold the distinction for one of the bloodiest moments in WWE history when Bass gauged Beefcake's forehead with "Brett & Bart" (his maverick spurs) causing Beefcake to bleed copiously on WWE television at a time when excessive blood-letting was just not seen on the family-friendly WWE. I believe according to Bass, much of the blood-letting was exacerbated by Beefcake who continued to gouge his own forehead in the aftermath of the attack. Beefcake would have his revenge though, shaving Bass bald on SNME resulting in Gorilla Monsoon referring to Bass as "baldy" ever there after. One interesting bit of trivia regarding Bass is apparently he is the only notable mid-late eighties WWE heel not to have a featured match against Hulk Hogan. For one reason or another Hogan and Bass never hooked up while they were both in WWE. In the end Bass was a prime example of someone who dedicated his life to wrestling until wrestling was no longer his life. He got into the industry, worked hard, exited and was able to carve out a life for himself outside of the industry. RIP Outlaw Ron Bass and please leave Miss Betsy and Brett & Bart at the pearly gates before entering.