Looking ahead: Drugs, hearings, regaining fans
"Hotshot" JOHNNY DEVINE - SLAM! Wrestling
Wow, what a summer. So much has happened that I feel remiss about taking the summer off from writing. In truth I had a lot going on this summer and couldn't dedicate the time I like to have to writing. But now I am free to do as I please, so I will jump in. But rather than dwell on the past and the tragedies and major stories of the summer months, I have decided that I will look to the future and speculate on what may yet come to be.
The future it seems to me is drug testing out the wazoo. With a congressional committee dedicated to the WWE's wellness policy and the media's rampant misinformation, speculation and outright lying, there is an uproar to find and destroy the evil steroid monster and "clean up" wrestling.
The effects have already been felt to an extent with a number of suspensions and some other measures taken by the WWE due to the pressure being applied by the media and Congress. And things will not get better any time soon. In this humble writer's opinion, the measures being taken now by Congress are an attempt to assuage the public view of a "dirty and corrupt" sport. Yet it is the same public, out crying foul, who are not the ones who watch wrestling and are the first to turn up their noses at its mention and reply with "that's fake."
Now do not get me wrong people, I think what is happening on the whole is good for wrestling, as in the past there had been some very bad cases of steroid abuse, along with a number of other drugs and medical aids. If it can set some minds at ease and save some guys who might have been heading for an early grave, of which there have been far too many, then I am all for it. As well it gives me personally a little hope that there might be an upswing for the athletic little guys to make a comeback!
But in truth, the fact that there hasn't been something like this done before, say when Mr. McMahon was charged in the early nineties, doesn't give me the greatest of hope for the outcome people want. People want to make McMahon a monster and burn him at the stake. But if past history has shown us anything it's that he is smarter than the masses give him credit for and covers his butt. And by default the WWE's butt.
Yes, there will be some job losses. Yes, there will be suspensions, warnings, and some fines and maybe even a conviction or two that result in no more than fines and probations or community service. But the reality is that there is where things will climax. There will not be long jail terms or a "change" in the business or the WWE. The wellness policy, from what I have been told, is sound and adhered to. Thus the only people in jeopardy are the ones who break the policy. The media and public's demon will have to be found somewhere else.
Now some of you will try to call me out and say I am wrong and so on. Hey, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. For me, all I want is people to appreciate what I and many others do, which is go out and entertain them for a few hours. I am sure I will get the odd "yeah you would suck up to Vince. Trying to get a job" or "sure you would say that, juice monkey." But the truth is I am under contract to TNA for another two years. If I wanted a job there, I picked the wrong time totally. And yes I have done some steroids but always safely and never in the ridiculous doses the guys used to take back in the day. To call me a juice monkey is an insult to monkeys everywhere.
My hope is that this stuff does not kill our business any more than it already has been by the crappy indies and untrained guys. But the sad reality is that we, as a business, have already lost viewers and fans galore thanks to this mess. It's up to those of us who eat, sleep, breathe and live wrestling every day to try to regain the public trust and get back some of the old and bring some new fans who can appreciate being physically entertained night after night.
I have loved this business since I was four years old. I have given up everything to continue to follow my dream. Good jobs, relationships (x2) and any number of friends across the country because I love what I do and the joy it can bring people. It shames me that there are the problems there are in the business, but they are no different then any other pro sport or the entertainment industry (musicians, actors). These are the things that will always be constant, with success comes excess. Those who can, will. And when the hammer falls, the least protected will always go down first. It is simply the truth of life. In this job or any other the rules remain the same. A shame isn't it that this is the way of the world?
For those of you who aren't completely turned off wrestling and are looking to get trained properly the CanAm Wrestling school is accepting students. Email email@example.com for more info or to apply.
Any questions or concerns, please email me; I usually enjoy fan emails and will do my best to try to answer as many as I can, time permitting. As well any booking inquiries or appearance questions hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will try my best to reply ASAP.
Well folks, sorry it has taken so long to write again but I needed some time off this summer. Hope you understand. In the mean time and in between time that's it. Another edition of Devine Intervention. Bye now
EDITOR'S NOTE: "Hotshot" Johnny Devine's column will run on Saturdays (or whenever he delivers) on SLAM! Wrestling. Be sure to visit each week!
For more on Devine's career, see his biography in our Canadian Hall of Fame.