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  July 7, 1997



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

HHH wrestling with the truth


By SHELLY DECKER -- Edmonton Sun
 When Hunter Hearst-Helmsley struts into the ring tonight, he's not sure who will be his most ardent pursuer - the maniacal opponent a few steps away or the lusting women in the stands.

At least that's the view through the self-absorbed eyes of this 27-year-old, one of the headliners at World Wrestling Federation's Raw is War extravaganza in the Coliseum at 5:30 p.m.

The wrestling superpower is unstoppable when it comes to talking about his (alleged) magnetic sex appeal.

"Chicks dig me the most,'' offers this testosterone-raging hulk of flesh just moments into an interview.

And surprise, surprise - Hearst-Helmsley is very single.

"Why, you interested?" he queries.

Without pausing for breath, and ignoring my shrieks of laughter, he utters: "What are you wearing? Your face isn't all red is it? You must have something good on.''

Somehow this reporter manages to dodge the big boy's normally irresistible rays to try to chat about wrestling.

"Just tell me how many articles of clothes do you have on?'' he asks, adding there's no point in trying to resist.

"I'm like the sun. You know you're not supposed to look at it, but you just have to look. Once you look, you can't stop staring.''

Similar to a freak show perhaps?

But Hearst-Helmsley's wants us to know his passion extends beyond the other sex. He is fervent in describing the joys of climbing in the ring and pounding an opponent.

"You've got to be a showman, an athlete and it's physically a challenge. It encompasses a lot of different things,'' he says.

And like so many things in life, people need to look at pro wrestling in a more appreciative light, he believes.

"People see a bunch of guys on TV in costume, yelling and screaming. I don't think they consider us athletes.

"We are some of the toughest athletes in the world. We do this almost non-stop, 280 days of the year. We don't have seasons or breaks where we don't wrestle for months.''

To suspicious minds he insists the hulking size - lack of neck and all - is the result of hard work, not a chemical fix.

"Does the WWF have steroid users? No,'' says Hearst-Helmsley, who was raised in a wealthy neighborhood in Greenwich, Connecticut.

"Our drug testing program is stricter than the Olympics.''

Whatever you say.

Expect the Coliseum to be jammed tonight as the culturally challenged witness the exciting bashing among the six-man, tag-team match to be broadcast around the world. Proud, diehard fans from all backgrounds will be cheering on the likes of Calgary's Bret "Hit Man" Hart, the British Bulldog and the Undertaker.

Of course, many women filling the stands will be pining for the Godzilla-like Adonis, Hearst-Helmsley himself. Or so he says - you may have noticed by now.

"A lot of chicks come to watch me and they're diggin' me,'' offers the brown-eyed wonder.

And not to keep beating the point, but those barricades lining the wrestlers' entrance are actually designed to protect Hearst-Helmsley from an adoring public.

"We need the barricades, otherwise I'd be mobbed.''

Hearst-Helmsley is a determined warrior when it comes to vying for victory in this battle.

"But it's true. Wait till you come to the show, you'll dig me, too. You won't have a choice."

Ah, like so many feminists, women have little ability to resist the power of men. But, like Luke, the force is strong and this reporter manages to soldier on.

How about explaining the entertainment value of seeing grunting, grown men pretending to maim one another?

Hearst-Helmsley doesn't understand.

"We're entertainment. There's different characters. We have rock music entrances and lights and fireworks and all different kinds of things. It's the greatest show on earth. It used to be the circus, now it's us.''

But when these Bozos enter the ring, clad in their spandex costumes, they insist it's no act. It's the real stuff.

Hearst-Helmsley extends an offer to reach out and touch someone if they suspect the monster-sized men aren't true in their pounding of each other.

"The thing that makes me mad is that they say nobody gets hurt or it's all phoney. I dare anyone to sign a waiver and get in the ring with any one of us and they'll realize in 10 seconds that this isn't fake,'' says the ring's bad boy, who does whatever it takes to win.

He's open to the suggestion boxer Mike Tyson is best suited to the world of pro wrestling after he bit off part of Evander Holyfield's ear during a recent match.

"I'd kill him,'' says big boy. "If biting an ear is his best move, I'll beat him in five minutes. A wrestler would kill a boxer, 'cause a boxer just knows how to throw punches.''

His female sidekick Chyna is a formidable 190-pound boxer with a martial arts and wrestling background. Even if she were bad, he wouldn't pummel Chyna.

"I'd give her a good spanking if she wants it,'' he says in true Beavis and Butt-head form. "Did I mention that chicks dig me?''

More on Hunter Hearst Helmsley