Wrestling in the media is nothing but negative these days, and it only got worse on Wednesday when the Ultimate Warrior died from what doctors think is a catastrophic medical event, two of media’s most polarizing personalities made the sport look bad with insensitive remarks, mislead facts, and the unresearched material.
Colin Cowherd, if everyone listens to his daily radio show of ESPN Radio unleashed the most insensitive remarks to the wrestling fans worldwide with his comments, saying that the Warrior’s death was not shocking to some. “He wasn’t born Ultimate Warrior, that’s not his real name, but he’s got a schtick. He had that, and he passed away–out in the parking lot. This is one of those stories you can’t really be honest about. We all know the real story that five guys in their 20′s have died in wrestling. 25 in their 30′s. 45 in their 40′s. I’ve got all the lists here. NFL players may get concussions, [but] they’re not dying in their 20′s and 30′s and early 40′s very often, certainly not to this number. So you have to say, ‘It’s sad. It’s so unexpected. No explanation. God just decided it was his time.’ It’s so random,” He said. “The story behind the story is … drugs, painkiller, HGH … it’s the roll of the dice that pro wrestling dudes with limited options not good enough to play pro sports [take].” He would later said that the fans who folow wrestling were “Booger eating losers,” and “We all Watched professional wrestling until we got a girlfriend or we quit picking our noses.”
Cowherd would later tweet the following: “Wrestling fans with every tweet are proving my point. Those who don’t get it—don’t get they don’t get it.”
Although Cowherd got the heat from the wrestling fans, he deserved to be criticized by the wrestling fans and the media. And this is not Cowherd’s first attempt to slap the wrestling world in the face. His did the same thing about the late Eddie Guerrero in 2005. Here is a transcript from wrestleview.com from that particular episode:
Colin Cowherd: Okay. I’m going to ask you a question. Compus (sp?) and I got into this argument earlier today. I did not know this. He is a big wrestling fan. I have no idea about wrestling. The last wrestling match I watched was my high school. It was dark and the only people there were girlfriends and family. It was high school wrestling and all the girls were dating the wrestlers.
A professional wrestler died over the weekend, Eddie Guerrero. I don’t know anything about him. Apparently he is a big star. He was like 38 years old, died in his hotel room, nobody is quite sure why, blah blah blah, I don’t care why. But I made the argument that there are certain careers, if I was the sports editor of a large major newspaper, I don’t think I would put Eddie Guerrero’s death in the sports page.
Now…you could say, whoa, that is insensitive. First of all, it’s not sports, it is theatre. They are decided before they play. Now somebody argues with me, what about Hulk Hogan? I wouldn’t put Hulk Hogan’s death in the sports section. He transcends sports. He is a cultural phenomenon.
(Another host interjects – I believe his name was Chad)
Except for his wonderful movie career (in a joking manner).
(Back to Cowherd)
Yes, it was quite promising (makes another joke).
(Other host interjects again)
But it is news, where do you put it?
(Back to Cowherd)
Not everything death is news. For instance…
(Other hosts again interjects)
But five million people watch it.
Lets say a cessna (plane) goes down carrying Martha Stewart, it’s news. If it goes down carrying Jim Lewis, it isn’t news. It isn’t making USA Today. We as a society decided that certain people’s deaths get in the paper and certain people’s deaths do not.
(Other hosts chimes in)
Just because you don’t know who Eddie Guerrero is doesn’t make him any less of a celebrity to other people. Now if a hockey player died, it would mean nothing to me. But that would obviously go in the sports page because he is a professional athlete of some sort. Eddie Guerrero is a big star. Five million people watch him.
He is not an athlete.
(Back to other host)
He is an athlete. He isn’t a sports figure.
Again, why would I put him in the sports page?
Where would you put him?
I wouldn’t put him anywhere in the newspaper.
You wouldn’t put him in the newspaper?
No. I would put The Rock in because he has done movies. He is bigger than sports.
What about a TV actor? What if a soap opera star died?
He goes into the Entertainment/Life section.
Then why doesn’t Eddie Guerrero go in? He is on TV. He is a TV star.
Oh…boy…that is wobbly. I’ve never even heard of him.
Again, what do we say all the time on this show? Don’t assume everyone thinks the way you do.
Everybody clearly does, but go ahead.
(Both hosts laugh)
(Other host continues)
I instantly knew this guy and I would love to read more about it. So if you are a newspaper, you have an audience.
(Cowherd asks someone else in studio if he heard of Eddie Guerrero)
I thought it was Eddie Guardado, I told you this morning, Eddie Guardado, Mariners closer.
Eddie Guerrero dying is far more signifcant than Eddie Guardado dying.
Here is the problem. Sports fans know him, but it’s not an athlete in sports. Entertainment people don’t…sports fans who watch wrestling don’t read the Entertainment section. So you are wasting space in the Entertainment section. I’m not…it’s nothing against him, but we decided as a society, certain people get in the newspaper when they die. Here is a prime example. When I was doing my little show in Portland, and if I had gotten hit by a bread truck, I wouldn’t make the USA Today. If I got hit by a bread truck today, and it’s entirely possible in my neighborhood because bread trucks drive way too fast, but if I was run over today, I might get a little blip. It would be like a line. The Herd, obnoxious, not a very nice guy, got run over by a bread truck. Now lets continue on to more important news. But I’d probably make it, there would be a line in USA Today. So, I could die the same way, I could die in the same city, but becuase you are more renoun, it affects where it’s going to be put. Now the Compus (sp?) was incredibly offended by this and I know what you are saying, Colin, it is wrestling. I know it’s wrestling. I don’t like wrestling. I don’t ever watch wrestling. I vaguely know the Hulk wrestled, there is a guy named Jimmy Superfly Snuka when I was a kid, I liked him a lot. First of all, he invented the sleeper hold, don’t let anyone tell you anything differently. I’m not into wrestling, but I’ll make an argument right here. Toughest man who ever lived. Including Mike Ditka. Jimmy Superfly Snuka. Don’t screw with me on that one. Alright Brian, you are the editor of a major newspaper, the New York whatever, where do you put the story?
(No response from a caller)
He is a wrestling fan and he can’t even figure out the radio business. (Another caller comes on named Tim). Alright Tim, where would you put the story?
Way back. Bury it some where.
Sports or non-sports?
See. I’m the same way. It’s not sports to me.
Yeah. Those guys are not athletes. 90% are probably juiced up and they just run around. Like you said it is theatre. It’s not a sport.
(Other host in a sarcastic manner)
Because yeah, sports guys don’t juice. Baseball guys don’t do that.
(Cowherd laughs and adds)
God if that is the ruling, Sosa will never get on the sports page. George you are in The Herd, go ahead.
Hey Colin, I actually work for a newspaper. I’m kinda in between on this one though.
So you work at a newspaper right?
Where did your newspaper put the death of Eddie Guerrero?
If there was space, it was put on or put some where else. Our obiutaries are paid obituaries. I don’t even think there is space for Eddie.
Lemme say this. Why can’t you do this? You know in the obituaries section where they have like Gert passed away, Palm Springs, 1984. And Hank passed away. Why couldn’t you put Eddie Guerrero’s picture in the obituaries with a big mask on. He would be like the wrestler, passed away doing steroids.
(Another caller, Cowherd asks him same question)
It depends. It ranks up there with Junkyard Dog’s death. I think it would go in the Entertainment section. You struck a cord with me though. Jimmy Superfly Snuka was not tougher than the British Bulldog or JYD. I mean you wanna go old school wrestling, we can do that.
(Cowherd laughs and adds)
When it comes to pro wrestling, I’m old school.
Here is the thing. Our generation, and you kinda move past my generation as you move into your 60’s (says jokingly), we grew up with wrestling. At some point, you passed out from a sleeper hold wrestling with a brother. Your brother put you in some hold you saw on TV. Somone has done a top rope move and then your parents came in to break it up. That is our generation. That is what we went through.
So you would put it in the Entertainment section?
Yeah, they are entertainers. It is a nitch entertainment business now. We all assumed it was fake and now we know that. But I agree with Chad, a lot more people watch this stuff than we give credit for. Plus, Chad is right, not everyone thinks like you. If we did, Monday Night Football would only last a quarter because you go to sleep.
(Another caller chimes in and says Guerrero’s death doesn’t belong in the newspaper at all since they don’t post results for pro wrestling matches or WrestleMania. They then move on to the next segment)
Nancy Grace on the other hand, was flat-out despised from the wrestling fans, the wrestling community, and worse the wrestling media. Her lack of research really pissed off a lot of wrestling fans, including legends like The Iron Sheik, Jim Cornette, Mick Foley, and many more. Here is the interview with wrestling legend Diamond Dallas Page right here:
There are several key facts that Nancy did not know about is that the following did not die of steroid use over their careers. Referee Mark Curtis died of stomach cancer in 1999, non-steroid related. Owen Hart died of a fall on national television in the same year, non-steroid related. Mike Von Erich died of a drug overdose in 1987; no steroids were seen, only placidyl and alcohol. Eddie Guerrero died of a cardiac arrest in 2005, no steroids was used, his previous addiction to painkillers had a small role. The facts Ms. Grace used were not only ill prepared and sadly misinformed.
Jim Ross on his blog yesterday discussed the Nancy Grace matter as well as Cowherd’s comments; “The polarizing Nancy Grace of HLN really was made to look ill informed and poorly prepared by her staff Wednesday night on her report of the death of the Ultimate Warrior. So much erroneous info was reported as fact that I actually felt bad for her. I’d like to believe that Ms Grace is not a mean person but she let down by her producers and research people notwithstanding those who wrote her script for her teleprompter. For Ms Grace to implicate Owen Hart into any drug or steroid scandal is egregious and appalling… I’d like to say that I’m surprised by I’m not. Sensationalistic, controversial journalism is what sells and ‘selling’ IE ratings is all that matters when it comes to TV news on virtually every network,” he says. “Same goes for Colin Cowherd of ESPN who has had the basic same stance on pro wrestling since he became a shock jock-like TV character on ESPN. Cowherd plays the role of a broadcasting antagonist on television, IE a heel, and he can’t be positive about ‘rasslin’ or show compassion for a dead man’s family as it would apparently adversely affect his show biz persona. Cowherd is a talented guy and likely a decent man but his pro wresting bias act is getting old and stale and comparing today’s product to the tragedies of a decade or two ago isn’t good journalism and make Cowherd look like he’s grasping for ratings with heat seeking remarks.”
Jason Powell of ProWrestling.Net had this to say about Cowherd and Grace’s misinformed actions; “I believe Nancy Grace is a disgusting pig of a woman and I’ve felt that way ever since I watched her coverage of the Benoit family tragedy. Her brand of ‘journalism’ is exploitative and shameless,” he says about Grace. When it came to Colin Cowherd, he adds; “I respect Cowherd’s mainstream sports opinions on his radio show, but I am disappointed by his “booger eater” comments whenever he discusses pro wrestling. It feels beneath someone with as much intelligence as he has, and the real shame is that the antagonistic comments have simply distracted from the truth in his comments about the deaths in wrestling. He’s a smart guy with a platform to make a difference, but all wrestling fans are the insults rather than the valid criticisms of the industry.”
The wrestling world may have lost a legend, but the media world put salt in the wounds due to these misinformed, unsympathetic morons.
May the good Lord have mercy on these poor, disgraceful souls.
You can follow the official Barbwire Blog Twitter @BarbwireBlog