Since when does Barbecue Sauce cause hallucinations or inebriation?
What's that? It doesn't? Oh. Okay. I must just be
one of the countless victims of *someone's* most recent attempt at wit.
Apparently this week's Ross Report, Good Ol' JR managed to rile a few
people up with this statement: "Strange that so many of the WCW
talents are getting so banged up. Could it be because of the near
half-speed style they utilized in Atlanta? This ain't ballet."
Unlike some of the other writers I've seen take issue with this, I'm
going to come out on JR's side on this one. (maybe *I've* been drinking
Barbecue Sauce, too).
Apparently there was some confusion with this statement because Ross had
just finished writing about injuries to Kane, Triple H, Benoit, Trish,
Rikishi, etc. These other writers think it was bad form to
take a shot at WCW because the WWF "won" the war. I guess
they feel that because the "war" is over none of the WCW
wrestlers should be held to lofty standards. And they certainly
should be made to feel picked on. Maybe WCW was big into
promoting self esteem.
Unfortunately what these people fail to see is the writing between the
lines in this week's RR. See, Kane worked with his injury.
Chris Jericho worked after a concussion. Triple H suffered a major
injury, and Chris Benoit worked for as long as he could with his
injury. Trish Stratus, for her part, hurt her ankle after a spot
where she wore high heels and took a bad turn.
JR took meticulous care to name each one of these injuries
specifically. He is a smart man. He knows what he was
Pointing these injuries out and then taking a shot at WCW was done to
send a message to the right people -- the WCW wrestlers. Kidman
went down with a rather minor injury and didn't even try to work with it
-- like Benoit would have. DDP went down and hasn't even thought
about working through it...
In fact, none of the WCW people ever volunteer to work through
injury. It's a matter of course for them to get a little banged up
and seek time off to recuperate -- whether or not they really need
it. I mean, why not? That was the way things were done in
When I read JR's column that's what instantly stuck in my mind.
Here he had gone through a laundry list of guys lost in battle for months
because they laid it all on the line for the WWF, and then made this
comment about WCW guys. We know the score. We know it
from past Ross Reports. We know it from following events in
WCW. We know, or should know, as well as JR does, that these WCW
guys may as well of been in a ballet down Hotlanta way for all the work
ethic and motivation they had.
So after reading a column from one of the more whiny columnists on the
Internet I put in a call to Stamford to talk about some of the WCW
workers, and to see whether my suspicions were on the money. Sure
enough, I found what I was looking for.
Stacy Keibler and Torrie Wilson both complained of soreness and claimed
minor injuries after Monday night's "match." Several
others have complained recently about being battered or bruised, and
claim to be "working hurt." Shawn Stasiak seems to be
hurt. O'Haire claims to be hurt... I mean, I could go on, but I
won't. You know about Kidman, about Page, about Jindrak -- and
these are just the guys who are on the shelf after really amounting to
next to nothing since being in the WWF. How the hell *did* Page
wind up hurt, anyway? Kidman? It's a mystery to
The thing is, sure some of these other guys are sore. Sure they're
a little banged up. What JR was saying is that in the WWF you don't
bitch about it. You don't ask to stay home when you've got a muscle
pull, or a bruise, or a stiff neck. You work through it. And
he meant to convey that complaining about "working hurt" after
something that seems so minor in the face of Benoit and Triple H's
injuries just makes you look like a sissy.
Like JR said, this ain't ballet.
Jim Ross is in a unique situation. One one hand, as a WWF Big Wig,
he needs to make sure the former Time-Turner employees shed the old WCW
money-for-nothing mentality (ironically this same mentality is still
employed by one of the most vocal JR detractors on this subject).
Jim Ross, as the JR character, also has his Ross Report, where he is
known for treading a thin line between work and shoot. It's also
the conduit between Mr. Ross -- one of the bosses, and JR --
Columnist. He often uses this column to bring sensitive issues to
light publicly. This is a sharp tool in battling complacence among
talent. They know if they step out of line, they will become fodder
for the Internet. Ask Big Show how that feels. Or Mark Henry,
or any of the others JR has focused his cross-hairs on.
In this case, it's obvious that he's going to hint at there being an
issue with sissy workers having a hard time wrestling with
Band-Aids on --because that's what JR does. He presses buttons in
the Ross Report, and always has. But, at this stage, he's going to do so
in a strategic way, without formally embarrassing everyone.
Even when he has "named names" it comes after he's made more
general references to fitness. It's only after those comments go
unheeded that he does it more specifically. In this case, he
need not name the complainers in WCW. He hopes he can send a
message to them this way first -- just as he did when he wrote about
"some workers" needing to work on their fitness, and their
motivation to stay "fit" a few weeks prior to climbing on Big
Show's back about his rotunditude.
He did what he did in this latest column precisely because he knows the
war is over and the WWF won. Because the WCW workers are now his
business, he takes it upon himself to motivate them. Know what else
he's doing? He's giving us the score. He illustrates
examples, both for the wresters in question, and for us of guys who've
gone down, and what it took to put them on the shelf. No one
is out of action because they have a stinger, or because the broke a
finger, or because they're bruised or tender in one place or another.
Everyone respects Benoit's efforts working while hurt. Everyone
knows Triple H. is injured, and could never have worked through it.
People *do* get injured in the WWF, and they do go on the shelf.
Ross naming the big list of WWF employees who are on the shelf before the
WCW crack was done to illustrate the well-known fact that guys who are
suffering ligit injuries take off to get treatment.
He names Jerry Lynn -- former ECW worker who required time off. He
named Triple H -- long time WWFer who needed time off. Jericho and
Benoit -- WWFers who were once WCW people. He named Trish -- a WWF
woman. He's making a point here.
To Torrie Wilson and Stacy Keibler he's saying, look girls... if you have
a legit injury you'll get time off like Trish. You don't, so you'll
To Shawn Stasiak he's saying, look stud... if you have a ligit injury
like Triple H. you'll get time off like he did.
I'm almost ashamed for these other web-writers who took what JR said as
the whole story, and then tried their damndest to paint him as a
hypocrite. That is the last thing JR was doing. The man was
showing tact. He was being classy. He was acting
surreptitiously in order to not cause undue strain on a WWF/WCW
relationship that some people are making more out of than is really
So, understand, my loyal readers, that Jim Ross doesn't have to
tell the whole story. It's easy enough to suss out what he's
getting at if you're not blindly anti-WWF; if you're not consumed with
bias and living in the past where it was WCW Vs WWF for real. Jim
Ross has moved on, and now he's trying to light a fire under the butts of
guys who've spent a lot of their careers getting paid for taking days off
with a sore bum and stiff neck.
Some people don't get that. Some people have never gotten it.
Mark W. Rushford
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