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  Jan 21, 1999



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READER ALERT: For all the latest wrestling happenings, check out our News & Rumours section.

Blame parents not the WWF or TSN




Mat Matters


Informative views and insights on the wrestling world from SLAM! Sports.

By JOHN POWELL -- SLAM! Sports

 The Winnipeg school board is giving TSN and the WWF a failing grade.

The board is upset with the World Wrestling Federation and their Raw Is War broadcast on a Canadian sports network called TSN (The Sports Network). By now, TSN should be a familiar name even to those loyal SLAM! readers outside of Canada. We've written about a thousand megs on their censoring of Raw and how it has affected viewers here in the Great White North...for good and for bad.

According to the Winnipeg Sun, Raw's controversial "mature" content became a pressing issue when teachers began noticing their students "mimicking sexual gestures and phrases". Translation: kids are doing the DX crotch chop and uttering the "Suck it!" catch phrase.

The board appealed to local cable companies asking them to suspend Raw Is War broadcasts during prime time and in the afternoons.

Gang way, Joel Gertner. I am about to tes-ti-fy!

As a service to the board, I've scrutinized our local television listings here in Toronto and compiled a broad list of other programs the board should also turn their attention to.

Firstly, there's an array of sleazy talk shows on every morning. Maury Povich, Jerry Springer, Jenny Jones and Sally Jessy Raphael parade their freaks, morons and boneheads in front of the cameras. War Of The Worlds and The Equalizer, two shows previously broadcast at night because of their "mature content", air prior to the lunch table being set. As the lunch dishes are cleared away, daytime soap operas pack the afternoon full of wanton sex and violence.

On the occasion that Raw Is War takes to the airwaves live in the evening and not at its usual time slot of midnight here in Toronto, the WWF's competition in the prime time hours are the fantasy-adventure shows The Crow: Stairway To Heaven, Lexx, Buffy The Vampire Slayer and re-runs of the hard-hitting police drama Hill Street Blues and a sci-fi - horror invasion spearheaded by The Outer Limits and Poltergeist: The Legacy.

I dare say the majority of Canadian television viewers don't see this as a problem. There's no public outcry. Citizens aren't protesting in the streets. If the Winnipeg public school board has taken it upon themselves to "clean up" the public airwaves to "protect" children then they should implicate every program and broadcaster they feel are acting irresponsibly and not unfairly single-out Raw Is War or TSN.

But you doubting Thomas' and Tammys say...that's a huge undertaking and anyways, it's not the school board's job. They're in charge of supervising the educational system not regulating television.

My point exactly.

If the worst thing your kid is doing in this day and age is imitating D-Generation X, you should count yourself lucky. That is not to say that such behavior has any place in a scholastic setting. It's disruptive to a healthy learning environment. Wearing a first-edition Austin 3:16 T-shirt is one thing. We should encourage young people to express themselves. It helps them shape their personal identity. However, rude gestures and obscene language during school hours ought to be a one-way ticket to detention. No Get-Out-Of-Jail Free card. No collecting $200 when you pass Go.

Score one for Principal Skinner and the gang, though they shouldn't be partying down in the staff room just yet.

In their crusade to dissuade inappropriate conduct, the Winnipeg public school board fingered the wrong suspects. The WWF and TSN aren't to blame. Neither are the cable operators. It's the parents of these children. They're the ones in control of what their kids watch.

The television doesn't automatically tune itself in unless you're living in the Poltergeist house. Parents can change the channel, turn the set off or ban professional wrestling in the household as my dear old mom once did incinerating my entire collection of Pro-Wrestling Illustrated magazines. And if a parent does determine a program to be "appropriate viewing", it's their responsibility to explain the content of the broadcast.

Like it or not, that's their duty as the primary influence in their child's development.

As he told the Winnipeg Sun, The Jackyl (Don Callis) said it best...too many parents use television as a cheap babysitter. In other words, there are some parents who're as lazy as certain WCW bookers. Being dead tired after a hard day at work is no excuse. There's nothing more important than the proper upbringing of a child. The farcical eighties notion of "quality time" was an easy cop out. An easy way to shirk accountability. As a parent, you're on the job 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Deal with it.

The real questions are: Do we should be really asking ourselves is do we want institutions like school boards deciding what we can or cannot watch on television; and Is the time and effort their spending lobbying against a pro wrestling program appropriate when there's other weighty problems like budget cuts, drugs - weapons in schools and the decline in quality education which all pose a greater threat to our young people?




Agree? Disagree? .E-Mail me your response at jpowell@canoe.ca. Some responses may appear in the next column.


MAILBAG


The previous SLAM! Wrestling editorial

I totally agree on the things you said the WWF should do in 1999. Especially on the subject of Mick Foley. Mick Foley is the god of Hardcore Wrestling ,and the WWF was doing nothing but screwing him over until his title victory over The Rock.

Also unless the WWF gets rid of Dwayne Gill and gets some better talent they should just get rid of the Light Heavyweight division. The same thing goes for the Woman's Division. All the WWF has is Sable, Jaquelin, and Luna as active wrestlers. 3 wrestlers don't make a division.

Logan Greene.




I think you are right about everything except about the WWF not raising the mid-carders. Right now, the main-eventers are at a high. It used to be Undertaker, Austin, Foley, and Michaels. The Rock and Kane joined them and now HHH. Soon to join them will be Shamrock, Big Bossman, X-Pac (he's been working out since in WCW, he's huge), Billy Gunn, and Road Dogg. Gangrel, Edge, Christian, D-Lo, Henry, and Test all have very bright futures as main-eventers.

Alex.




I agree completely with you on the WCW part but I think your making a big mistake with your WWF and ECW solutions there. Yes, the WWF needs more main event contenders but I REALLY DOUBT THAT THEY HAVE TO TONE DOWN THE ATTITUDE!!!

That's why they're on top again because they give what the people want and that's edgy angles and hardcore action. I don't think they need to eliminate the light heavyweight division because they're developing a lot of talent. 1999 may be a good year for light heavyweights.

Now, for the ECW part, again I totally disagree. I think ECW is where they are today because of there hardcore action and because they were not afraid of getting to the edge with the fans and the wrestlers. I say give the people what they want and that's ladder match, cage match and barbed wire match.

Pascal Trepanier.