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  Aug 30, 2001



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SLAM! Wrestling Editorial: The Green Lantern symbolizes willpower
By NICK TYLWALK -- For SLAM! Wrestling

During the many times that the WWF has trivialized and demeaned women over the years, I've remained silent. When the writers decided to dub in voices for Kaientai, I said nothing, even though I'm partially of Asian decent (Filipino actually, but it's close enough). And when a total lack of respect for the dead was shown during the Big Show's infamous "coffin surfing" fiasco, you didn't hear a peep from me. Now, though, the WWF has gone too far. They've made a running joke of my childhood hero, Green Lantern.

What? You don't remember Green Lantern? For Pete's sake, he was a founding member of the Justice League of America. Let me see if I can jog your memory. When I was but a lad, Green Lantern was test pilot Hal Jordan. Given a mysterious power ring by a dying alien, Hal used its immense power to fight evil on both a local and interstellar scale. The ring channeled immense energy -- in a sense, it was the most powerful weapon in the DC comic book universe -- and its only limit was the imagination of the wearer. Okay, it also had no effect on anything yellow, and I'll admit that is a bit hokey.

The ring and its wearer have changed over the years, but the concept still has the same appeal to me. Even though his adventures were often space-faring tales of a fantastic nature, you could see yourself as Green Lantern in a way unlike any other hero. Certainly, he was a lot easier to identify with than Superman, who got his powers because he was from another planet, or Batman, who was way, way smarter than you. But put on the ring, add some creativity and bam: Green Lantern. That's quality escapism for kids of all ages.

So far this has absolutely nothing to do with professional wrestling, but don't click elsewhere just yet -- I'm getting to that. The whole reason I'm even talking about Green Lantern right now is that former WCW cruiserweight and current WWF European champion Hurricane Helms sports a tattoo of Green Lantern's original logo on his right arm. It's obvious that the tattoo was what gave the writing team the idea for Helms' new gimmick, which is a comedic persona that has him dressing in a cape and mask and posturing like a comic book cliche. But look a little closer, and there's something serious to which wrestlers and fans alike can probably relate.

I'm speaking, of course, of willpower. It was the key to many of the battles that Green Lantern won in the pages of his comic book, and the sole reason that not just anyone could take Jordan's ring and do what he did. Green Lantern didn't just overpower his foes. Indeed, his writers often put him in situations where brute force was not the solution. Hal Jordan was the key, as it was his immense willpower and determination that fueled the ring and ensured he would triumph in the end.

As we're seeing on the MTV show Tough Enough and have read in numerous interviews with professional wrestlers, willpower is probably the key trait in getting to the top in sports entertainment. We're talking about an endeavor that punishes its practitioners physically with abuse in the ring, and psychologically by taking them on the road for long stretches at a time, far from family and friends. It's a business that requires people to pay their dues and reaffirm their commitment every day.

To make it to the top of their profession, pro wrestlers must be in it for the long haul. They have to be focused, be willing to make sacrifices and not give up. And that's a definition of willpower if I ever heard one.

So let's end all this nonsense, because Green Lantern should be the symbol of every wrestler who's made it to the WWF. Triple H didn't get to where he is today by slugging his way through people like Superman, and Steve Austin didn't overcome a career-threatening neck injury because he was as intelligent as Batman. Even Hurricane Helms, who isn't exactly at the top, wouldn't be where he is today without willpower, just like his tattoo suggests.

I've never read an interview with Helms about his tattoo, so it's all speculation on my part. Maybe he just thought it looked cool and it doesn't have any symbolic meaning whatsoever. That's alright. It still means something to me.

Reader Feedback

  • Aug. 9:Sing's legacy tainted by Bertha Faye


  • Thank you for the fitting tribute to Rhonda Sing. My family and I missed her days in WWF because we never watched WWF; but we thoroughly enjoyed her stint on WCW and hoped she would return someday. That will never happen now, and it makes me sad.

    Mary Largen

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