Showing posts with label wrestling. Show all posts
Showing posts with label wrestling. Show all posts

Monday, April 1, 2019

It Was Only A Matter of Time for WWE and #TimesUp to Smackdown

As a once fervently loyal WWE fan, who struggles with her love of wrestling versus its controversial state of affairs, I never thought I'd wake up to see John Oliver deliver a 23-minute hot-take about WWE’s abhorrent work conditions for its wrestlers. Even at the dawn of the #TimesUp movement, I often said to myself it was only a matter to time before someone put WWE owner's Vince McMahon's ego (or head) up on the chopping block. But this is where we are, it was only a matter of time before attention turned its spotlight on WWE.

For those not in the know, on a recent episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, the tv host and self-proclaimed wrestling fan revealed that the independent clauses wrestlers “sign up for” to work for WWE is nothing but unconscionable. Performing 200+ nights a year away from their families and traveling the world, their wrestlers work so tirelessly they barely have a life to save up for when they're not in the ring. Contracted as practically self-employed, wrestlers perform exclusively for WWE facing no annual leave, no pension plan, responsibility for their own expenses for company-initiated appearances, and possible termination if an injury prevents them from working for more than six weeks. In 2016, fifty-three lawsuit former wrestlers who sustained life-threatening injuries filed that WWE wrongly mishired them as independent contractors instead of employees, leaving them to miss the benefits of important employment laws. On an equally a heavily substantial note, Oliver connected the dots between McMahon's monopoly of the industry to wrestlers heightened death rate in comparison to the general population as well as other sports industries including NFL.

As briskly in-depth as Oliver’s editorial was for a half-hour show, he missed key details about WWE's other practices to help wrestlers. From booking to payment, their contracts for talent are much more in-depth than a few highlights to cherrypick and read. In terms of working with talent, their WWE Sponsored Rehab Program assists wrestlers into facilities, provides coverage for in-ring injuries, and the company reimburses talent for educational purposes. Despite Oliver's call for stronger healthcare within wrestling, there's controversy over how the insurance would work for wrestlers and if the talent wants a collective union (as obvious as it may sound).

Additionally, Oliver also misconstrues reporting deaths caused outside of an organization's control versus the result of a wrestling injury. As recent as June 2018, wrestlerdeaths.com recorded that deaths stemming heart-related issues and cancer was 27.9% and 19.06%, respectively, while in-ring related injuries leading to death was 8.52%. Despite the statistics, medical experts still believe professional wrestlers suffer a higher mortality rate via cardiovascular disease due to non-stop physical activity and lifestyle habits such as substance abuse.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Fighting With My Family (2019) Shines A Light on Sharing The Dream

Fighting With My Family review
Universal Pictures
Thousands of screaming fans. Electrifying feuds. Bold outfits. Audacious athleticism. Wrestling is larger than life. Taking the glitz and glamour down a notch, Fighting with My Family shows what happens when fans dare to walk the path their heroes paved and become icons themselves.

Based on the real life story, eighteen year old Saraya-Jade Bevis - popularly known as Paige - (Florence Pugh) who aspires to be a wrestler, is discovered by the WWE and becomes their youngest champion ever. Hailing from a small town in Norwich, England, Paige's dreams are not entirely her own. She shares them with her family - dad Ricky (Nick Frost) and mom Julia (Lena Headey) who runs their own wrestling association, and her brother Zak (Jack Lowden) who misses out on making his own fantasies as a WWE Superstar come true.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

WWE Smackdown Live In Orlando

Except for the occasional tweet, my fangirling life as a WWE fan isn't that well-known. I became a fan when I was twelve years old, finding one of their televised programs Smackdown on a whim and becoming obsessed with everything wrestling.

Since to 2002, World Wrestling Entertainment has been in and out of my sphere. There was a good five years where we went through a rough patch, and I honestly didn't think I'd be going back to a wrestling event anytime soon. I was super surprised to find myself at Smackdown Live to kick off 2018 with one major goal in mind: seeing Shane McMahon in person.

All over my twitter you might know of my love for Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans, and Andrew Lincoln. But, there was once an adoration towards Shane McMahon, or as I've been penning him lately The Original.

One of the reasons why I went through that rough patch with WWE was because a lot of my favorite wrestlers (way too many to name) left the company around 2008-2009. While Shane wasn't a regular on-screen talent at the time, he was working behind-the-scenes. So I thought all was well...until it wasn't. To one of the biggest shocks in the WWE Universe, Shane left the company to do other things, as many predicted he would inherit the company after his father Vince McMahon. As creative output became increasingly uninteresting and stilted, I found my fandom lacking.

For several years, he was gone, living an ultra private life making other businesses, having kids, and whatever my crushes do when they don't know I exist.  Until he returned in February 2016 out of nowhere. The video above doesn't even cover the huge reception he got from fans, and not many fans expected for him to stay longer than one major feud against the Undertaker in April 2016.

So, here we are about a two years later, still managing Smackdown while having feuds with other superstars, and what has he done to me since then? Oh, all kinds of things.

Jumping off of twenty foot cells.

TWICE.

Working out

Showing off his muscles in a variety of Henleys, and black leather jackets.

Showing us his abs.

Beating the hell out of other wrestlers.

Getting into helicopter crashes and being too chill about it.

Of course, when Smackdown came close enough to where I live, I HAD TO GO. And, it was glorious. The Amway Center is smaller than I anticipated for the ring set-up than when I've attended concerts, so we were only several rows away from all the action. I'd suggest everyone, even if you're not a wrestling fan to go to a WWE event because its electric; there's no way you can go and not get an energy boost from it or feel like you're apart of something bigger than yourself. For posterity, I did see others wrestlers I love A.J. Styles (left), Charlotte Flair, Naomi, and Becky Lynch (right).


But Shane is ultimately what I went there for. This was fourteen years in the making, and I wasn't disappointed. I had seen Shane once at a live event back in 2003, and never thought in my wildest dreams he'd back in WWE especially long enough for me to see him.

We were facing the camera, so I mostly saw the back of wrestlers when they talked to each other. But I'm not complaining about the view. No matter what happens in 2018, I can say I went to Smackdown Live and saw Shane O Mac. I'm starting to feel the love of an old fandom return.