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Mat Matters Column: WWE's cruel joke not funny
Mat Matters Column
By JOHN POWELL -- Co-producer, SLAM! Wrestling


People who know me will tell you, I have a very dark and twisted sense of humour. I can take a joke, maybe even more so than other people. There is not a politically correct bone in my entire skeleton. Never has been. Never will be. However, nothing was funny about the 'Eugene' character played by Nick Dinsmore on 'Raw' (AKA: That Evolution Show). It was insulting and disgusting behaviour by a company that as of the end of Monday night's broadcast is no longer deserving of being supported or respected by wrestling fans unless some MAJOR changes are made to the creative and managerial team. Heads gotta roll on this one. No doubt about that.

For those who missed the deplorable skit (and you should be glad you did), a returning William Regal was assigned to manage Eric Bischoff's "nephew" 'Eugene'. The joke is on Regal though you see because 'Eugene' is portrayed as being...ummm..."mentality challenged" to the point that he wanders out to announcing table, blithers something about 'The Bushwhackers', pumps his arms viciously in the air and then licks Jerry Lawler's head until Regal can restrain and eventually led him away.

Nope. I ain't kidding, folks. This is what the creatively bankrupt WWE classifies as entertainment nowadays. Hardy-har-har. Real funny, eh? Sure it is, if you find cruelly mocking a disability to be a riot. Anyone who thinks that's funny is in need of some serious psychiatric treatment or is severely stunted in their maturity to the point that they would surely benefit from enrolling in a daycare program with other like-minded toddlers.

Some blockheads who wonder what all the fuss is about considering what type of movies the Farrelly brothers produce ('Dumb and Dumber', 'Kingpin') or will point to the lovable George ‘The Animal' Steele character from the eighties as the prototype. The only problem with that is the Farrelly brothers are just as dispicable with the trash they put out. I mean, there is no accounting for taste. Steele wasn't "mentally challenged" either. He was a half-man, half-beast character which is why he chowed down on turnbuckles and his tongue was green. He was clearly a cartoonish character in the WWF of the mid-'80s, but before that he was a killer heel. The one recent persona who mirrors 'Eugene' is Dave ("Evad") Sullivan in WCW during the nineties. There was no excuse for that offensive wretch either. Whoever came up with that bright idea should have received a public flogging.

Of course, this is the WWE we are talking about. Their name is synonymous with bad taste and has more often than not given the pro wrestling industry a black eye with their appalling hijinks. Remember, this is the same promotion that had Mae Young give birth to a hand (I still don't understand that one), had Hawk do that "suicide header" off the TitanTron, has incorporated sensitive personal problems into angles, had Stephanie McMahon raped off screen, promotes all manner of negative stereotypes, treats its female talent in an despicable fashion (wonderful battle royal on Monday night, eh?) and disparaged people afflicted with Tourette's Syndrome by having Goldust suffer from a "nervous twitch". All of those too were about as hilarious as watching a live embalming.

Everyone associated with the 'Eugene' persona, from the callous, braindead idiot who created him to the incompetent WWE management who greenlighted the idea should be ashamed of themselves. Though I am sure he is talented, Nick Dinsmore needs to take a long, hard look in the mirror and ask himself why he is accepting a pay cheque to degrade such people. One wonders if he has any pride at all or even a conscience.

I guess for some WWE talent, when money talks, self-respect takes a walk.

Though it makes you wonder where some parents heads are at, the WWE still has many young fans - hence the "Don't Try This At Home" warnings. Try as they might to avoid the issue, the company is still accountable for the product they produce and disseminate. The disgusting display on Monday night sent out a message that was loud and clear: "mentally challenged" people are buffoons who deserve to be laughed at. I am sure that such a positive message is welcomed by those who have struggled and fought so hard to rid the world of such debilitating stereotypes. What's that sound that I hear? Oh, it's all the WWE's charity work over the years being flushed down the toilet for one, stupid angle which if there was one capable person at the controls, should have never seen the light of day...ever.

At a time when the company is barley registering a pulse, their own talent is anonymously ripping the company in the press, Steve Austin is embroiled in another abuse scandal and several of their employees are publicly accused of sexual harassment, the WWE decides to truck out this despicable angle out? Who's handling their public relations? The former Iraqi Minister of Information? The WWE can't understand why nobody takes them seriously as a world-class business? Gee, take a freakin' guess.

While such grievous angles sailed under the radar in the past, the world has changed since Bruno Sammartino held the WWWF title. The WWE, though, is trapped in the seventies, never having grown up and never having gotten a clue. It is the main reason why their fan base remains stagnant and nothing they do brings more fans into the fold. They just drive more and more people away. For once, Vince McMahon should do the right thing. He should dissolve the detestable angle, issue an immediate public apology and donate some money to a worthwhile charity which supports the people his company thought were easy targets to jeer and taunt. The chances of that happening though are about the same as the company finally getting some class.