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   Thu, June 28, 2007


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A bad example?
Former wrestler says females being victimized
By AJAY BHARDWAJ -- Edmonton Sun
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For 15 years, Edmonton's Kathy Stockton slammed around wrestling rings across the Prairies, the United States and South Africa. But now the retired former Stampede wrestler doesn't even allow her four-year-old son to watch wrestling on TV.

Stockton, who went by the ring name KC Houston, says the new-look wrestling, with its women wrestlers in skimpy bikini bottoms is all about sexy images and goofy story lines.

"I don't watch it," said the 43-year-old stay-at-home mom. "It's not the good, old-fashioned Stampede Wrestling."

Stockton said crowds seem to enjoy when a male wrestler manhandles a female villain.

"They think it's funny," she said.

But the Alberta Council of Women's Shelters says the way wrestling portrays violence against women, with male wrestlers slamming and tossing women about the ring, does little to battle family violence.

"Are these the kind of values we want our young boys to have?" ACWS provincial co-ordinator Jan Reimer said.

She said the tragedy of Edmonton wrestler and WWE star Chris Benoit killing his wife and seven-year-old son is a "sad, sad story," adding it should bring the issue of violence against women to the fore.

"I think in this particular case, when you look at the dynamics around family violence, it's kept behind closed doors," Reimer said, adding it's important to bring the abuse out publicly and show that there are resources women can turn to.

"It's a terrible, terrible tragedy," said Reimer, adding the violence is usually worsened by the use of drugs and alcohol.

Wrestler Joe Zajko, who works independently as the Killer B or Dr. Johnny Fever, was the first to help Benoit train when the wrestler was just 14 years old.

"He was just as big at age 14 as he was now," Zajko said. "He was already bench pressing over 200 pounds."

Zajko said he told Benoit not to take steroids because it wasn't worth it.

"You know, pro wrestling is about being bigger than the next guy," said the 44-year-old Zajko, who wrestled in Japan and now works independently, doing the occasional gig for Real Canadian Wrestling.

Though the use of steroids is common in wrestling, Stockton said she never saw any wrestler actually use them.

"You could always tell when they were taking steroids because they had mood swings," she said.

Nonetheless, Stockton said she was shocked when she heard the news about Benoit.

"He was always good with me," she said.

"He was very into being the best at every move and being the best professional. He was a real good kid."

RELATED LINKS

  • Chris Benoit tragedy news section
  • Chris Benoit biography and story archive