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
As we're seeing on the MTV show Tough Enough
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.
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.