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From: Matthew
Dear rajah.com,

An article appearing in the Cleveland Plain Dealer recently negatively discusses wrestling saying they aren't real athletes. I'd like to see the writer say that to Olympic gold metalist Kurt Angle, olmpic weight-lifter Mark Henry, Ultimate Fighting Champion Ken Shamrock, etc. The article is primarily a book review of Mankind's and The Rock's books and is far from favorable. The article is below.

Have a nice day!

Are you ready to read?

Two - count 'em - wrestling bios climb high on the best-seller list

Tuesday, February 08, 2000


I hope you're sitting down while reading this. OK, I'll just come right out and say it:

In these two best-selling WWF wrestling bios, by Mick "Mankind" Foley and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, both men freely admit that professional wrestling is fake! Promoters decide who's going to win before the match even starts!

OK, a little joke there.

You did know that, right? It is fake. But here's the best joke of all: These books are selling millions of copies. You have to admit there is something a bit sweet about these two occupying positions No. 1 (Foley) and No. 4 (Johnson) on the New York Times best-seller list. Can't you just visualize these two slapping the sensitive "Tuesdays With Morrie" author, Mitch Albom (No. 2 on the list), and Frank McCourt (No. 3 with"'Tis") around like a couple of little prison snitches?

Can you imagine these two sitting around the Algonquin Round Table head-butting Dorothy Parker and pile-driving Robert Benchley? This coarse, vulgar and surpassingly wrestling phenomenon has been, sadly, pervading popular culture for some time. Fortunately, we must be approaching some kind of saturation point.

Or maybe I'm being optimistic. It's the highest-rated show on cable television. Five million television sets in this country are tuned to the wrestling program "Raw Is War" on a weekly basis. Another 5 million homes watch another rope opera called "Smackdown." And, according to Newsweek, the WWF is projecting total sales of $340 million for this year, up from $250 million last year.

Not true athletes So what about these books? Let me put it this way. Most of these wrestlers are guys who couldn't cut it in the NFL. Similarly, nobody was chasing after these people to star in television shows, movies or on the stage. So they are not really athletes, nor do they qualify as actors.

Would you be surprised if I told you these wrestlers are not real big in the writing department either? I'll go ahead and say it: I've read better autobiographies than these. However, none of the other books had as many pictures, or such large type, or were printed on that brite-white typing paper the way these two books are. So they have that going for them.

What we have here are incredibly well-paid human cartoon characters turned authors. Personally, had I known there was such an opening, such a job description and it paid that well, I might have applied for it myself.

"The Rock Says ... with Joe Layden" mercifully came in under 300 pages with lots of pictures and graphics. Johnson tells the story of being a third-generation professional wrestler. He opens with quotes from the two big Willies: Willie Shakespeare regarding greatness and Willie Nelson on the subject of being a liar. Interesting choices. There's a little delusional grandeur going on there, but that's no surprise either. Dwayne's a bit stuck on himself and rather humorless to boot.

Johnson's grandfather, Peter Maivia, was a 5-foot-10, 320-pound Samoan giant (literally and figuratively) in the wrestling ring of the '50s. His dad was Rocky Johnson, another career pioneer in the wrestling world of the '60s and '70s. Young Dwayne failed to get picked up by a pro team after playing college football for the Miami Hurricanes and after a short and unsuccessful stint in the Canadian Football League, decided to follow in the family spandex. And look how well he's done.

Blow by blow "The Rock Says ..." is padded by third-person descriptions of many of The Rock's matches. And I'm talking blow by blow. Call me an old fuddy-duddy, but I just don't think these fake matches play well when retold on the printed page. They read like the dream diary of someone who ate a pepperoni-and-anchovy pizza just before bed.

Mick Foley, the author of "Have a Nice Day" who began his career as Cactus Jack, wrote his own book. No co-author there. If you don't believe me, or him, go on and read it. He talks about his life. His injuries. In fact, he talks a lot about his injuries. This guy has taken more spills than Evel Knievel. He lost more of an ear than Evander Holyfield did to Mike Tyson. And this is in a fake sport. Excuse me, sports-entertainment. Imagine if it was real.

Foley's book makes him sound like a big dumb teddy bear of a guy who actually enjoys the occasional rap on the head with a metal folding chair. He's also the literary equivalent of a motormouth - 500-plus pages. There's the distinct impression this tome was the result of a lot of downtime between matches.

Foley can be horribly crude in his book, sexually and otherwise. He can also occasionally be funny. But mostly he's boring, because there was no thought he deemed unimportant enough to exclude from this book.

What is most frustrating is the book's chronological style. You get that "Then in the fourth grade ..." kind of tedium. All I really wanted to know about was what the name "Mankind" meant, and what was the source of his costume, the leather mask and the untucked white shirt and tie. I had to read all the way through page 377 to find out. Talk about punishment.

And here's the local angle: Mankind has a deadly hold he calls the Mandible Claw. He subdues opponents by sticking two fingers under their tongues and pressing on a nerve, which incapacitates them. If you're wondering why they don't just bite his fingers off, WWF head Vince McMahon had the same question. Answer? They just don't.

The move came from none other than Dr. Sam Sheppard, who wrestled briefly down south after he got out of prison. An older wrestler passed it on to Foley.

I wouldn't recommend either of these books for kids. In fact, I wouldn't suggest either of these books to anyone. But they are a cultural mirror of the times.

Political satirist Barry Crimmins says that what is wrong with America today is that people think wrestling is real and war is fake. I have to agree.

[email protected]
Phone: (216) 999-4569

2000 THE PLAIN DEALER. Used with permission

Thank you Matthew. That definitely made for a good read.

From: Kane522539
here is everyone in the wwf now that hasn't won the world title and could u tell me which ones u think will win it in their career farooq, bradshaw, al snow, brisco, patterson, bad ass billy gunn, big bossman, blue meanie, british bulldog, chris jericho, christian, chyna, crash holly, d-lo brown,droz, buh buh ray dudley, dvon dudley, edge, gangrel, godfather, hardcore holly, mosh, thrasher, mattt hardy, jeff hardy, taka, funaki, kane, shamrock, kurt angle, hawk, animal, rodney, pete gas, joey abs,mideon, prince albert, rikishi, road dogg, mark henry, shane mcmahon, steve blackmen, stevie richards, tazz, test, scotty too hotty, grandmaster sexy, val venis , visera, x-pac, chris beniot, eddy guerro, perry saturn, dean malenko

Interesting question. Well, we can take Kane off the list since he's already won it albeit briefly. There are no guarantees but if there ever was one I'd say it's Chris Jericho. The man has all the necessary tools and I'm convinced that he'll be the next MEGA star in wrestling. I'd like to see two of my favorite WWF veterans, The Big Boss Man and The British Bulldog get it, but unfortunately it seems their ship has sailed. Don't count out someone like a Kurt Angle; he's young, he can wrestle, he has terrific mic skills, and he can get the necessary fan reaction. There's nothing stopping him. Chris Benoit is a huge talent, and X-Pac has been around the WWF longer than most on the roster despite his stint in WCW. Will he stay with the WWF in the long term and be able to climb to the top? Ya never know. So I would say those are my top candidates, but let's not forget some of the WWF's younger talent. Test, Val Venis, Edge, Christian, and The Hardyz all have the skill to go a long way. But righ t now they're too young to gage just how far they'll be able to go.

From: BigT
Great site! Got one question, when does the other shows Jakked/metal and Superstars get taped and how do they get people to come to those crappy (not crappy really, but nonaction/wrestling) shows? Really two question, but hey u read it.

Jakked is taped before RAW and Heat is taped before Smackdown. That's why people show up.

From: Emily
Hi. Great site. In keeping with the *new* rules, I will only ask one question: Do you know how long Jeff Jarrett's contract is for the WCW? I want him back! PLEASE ANSWER!

By the way, Matt Hardy is better than Jeff and Christian is better than Edge!

Oh, I like you, Emily. You know how to get on my good side. Jeff Jarrett is one of my all-time favorites and I'd love nothing more than to see him back in the WWF contending for the World Title. When will he back? I don't know. To be honest, I'm not sure when his WCW deal is up; if anyone knows be sure to send it on it. One thing I keep telling myself though: he WILL be back in the WWF. This has happened before ya know... and he's always back. Always.

As for Christian and Edge, I tend to agree with you. People hype Edge as the next biggest star and everything but I personally canot see why people think he is so great when his own tag team partner is outdoing him. Christian is just as good as Edge in every way. It's about time Christian gets some recognition.

From: gwest16
Will the "XFL" be fake, or will it be a legitimate sport????

Oh it'll be legitamite sport alright. Just with less penalties and a rougher attitude. None of it will be scripted.

From: Socram16
Well, the subject may be kind of confusing but I supose it is a legit question. Ever since the Acolytes and the Ministry split, I wondered why they kept their uniforms. And they still had on, till recently the painted symbols on there chests. So even though they aren't apart of any aliance with the Undertaker or any other member of the ministry, why do they still have these symbols and why are they still called the Acolytes. There days of being evil for the Ministry are over. Also, even though I know he played the part of the fake Mankind a few weeks back, what happened to Midian.

Why should they get new ring attire? Yeah, the Ministry has split, but they're the Acolytes. That's who they are. Why should they change their name just because they're no longer with the Undertaker? They've made a successful name for themselves, and they're not about to change their ways now (although the image, which is really what's important has shifted away from evil henchmen to ass-kicking tough guys).

From: J
Hey, Raj, 'Fabe, and everyone down at rajah.com:

It's me, J, back with my latest batch of questions and comments pertaining to the wonderful world of the WWF because the voices in my head won't shut the hell up. For those of you who have been following my little life saga, I'm afraid things didn't work out between me Ms. Gellar, but frankly, Sarah Michelle's fame seemed to come between us a lot, and I had to break it off. By "fame", of course, I mean security team. To get over the loss, I've had to retreat and lick my wounds and other things that remind me of our relationship. That meant wrestling. Lots and lots of wrestling. Here goes:

  • Steve Austin's surgery is complete. He recently went on a radio show threatening to kick Triple H's ass. Psst, Hunter - meet the man in person and tell him you don't want to fight him. When he turns around to leave, you'll have a free shot at his kidneys, and he won't be able to get up! IT'S PERFECT!

  • Well, tables seem to be the order of the day in the tag team division. I can't wait until the Dudleys are flipping through their Staples catalogues and they see the great things they're doing with steel these days.

  • Speaking of tables, they put Terri through one! I've got the medical report right here.(Note to any aspiring paparazzi: put on scrubs and cover yourself in feces, and nurses will believe anything you want them to) It says here that she has irreversible brain damage. Thank God. I thought she'd come back at diminished capacity.

  • WWF New York! Finally a swinging, jumping nightclub geared towards me, a fan! Sure, they'll kick my ass and throw me on the curb if I try to get in, but dammit, it's the love that makes it good.

  • Wow, that Tazz spotlight was hard-hitting. All his friends are dead or in jail. Who the hell elected him to Congress?

  • Congratulations go out to Mark Henry and the little woman. Nine months until she has a reason to whip those puppies out any time she wants! Let the good times ro- wait, it's Mae Young, isn't it? Wow, that baby's going to be... a monkey.

  • Did you see the look on that EMT's face on Raw? It started out as revulsion, but then his face seemed to change. Did he get sick, or is he going to have to challenge Mark for her hand in marriage?

  • Hey, yeah! We're going to need another wedding! If Mae can just get a really heavy, blunt object or some chloroform, I'm sure HHH can hook her up.

  • It wasn't Vince that was the higher power after all. No, sir. The true evil behind the WWF has been discovered. It's... the make-up lady. That's right. The make-up lady. Every time Stephanie's face is caked with another layer of whale fat, she becomes eviller and eviller. She works in conjunction with the costume lady. The shorter the skirts, the meaner the lady. We all thought Tori was okay until she started rearranging her wardrobe. (Note to Kane - 1. When your woman comes back from a holiday with another man, everything is not always kosher. 2. Your ex-best friend wears black and green. His evil friends wear black and green. You spot a green top and black pants layed out Sunday night for the next day and you get ambushed - you have no one to blame but yourself.)

  • Can't help but notice how DX keeps spitting their water all over the place. No, no, fellas. Throat muscles. Not cheek. Throat. There you go. Now try the pudding.

  • Kurt Angle, All-American, is the European champ. Great. Off you go. Call us from Lima, mate.

  • I came up with a better name than Acolytes Protection Agency. Get this: "Give Acolytes Money! Buy Life Insurance Now! Get Devastating, Reformed Undertaker Night Knights' Service". Hell, they could even use the acronym GAMBLING DRUNKS. (I'm so smart I could pee myself!)

  • "Yes, sir, Mr. D-Von. I've done some checking, and your next randomly selected target will be yet another helpless tag team tag-along: Rikishi Phatu."

  • Rikishi - God damn, that's a big fat ass.

  • No, really, that's a big fat ass.

  • I mean, I don't want to say his ass was big, but when he wore The Godfather's yellow pants, people yelled, "TAXI!" He's fat, I'm telling you. I mean, when his beeper goes off, people think he's backing up. It's nuts. I mean, he sat on a tack and didn't know till the next week. He's large, I tell you. He's the kind of guy you see sunbathing on the beach and get Greenpeace called to try to roll him back into his natural habitat. He's a growing boy, I tell you.

  • I don't get no respect.

  • Rikishi starts funking out to dance tunes on stage. Madonna does remake of "The Day The Music Died". Coincidence?

  • Confirmed hypothesis last week: X-Pac does smell like salami.

  • This sounds interesting - DXFL. Pardon me if I sound cynical, but won't four guys on a football field be a bit boring? Oh, THE new XFL. Ah.

  • So, WWFE stock is dropping? Really?! My God, how can you doubt the stability of a company that decides who the CEO is by grabbing at a briefcase on a ladder?! What is the world coming to?!

    That's it for now, thanks for bearing through my little therapy session. And if you see Sarah, tell her I won't be crawling back. They broke my kneecaps.



    P.S. Hey, Kayfabe, tell your "friend" that bactine only goes in a wound if you're not allergic to it. Turns out a highly reactive substance in a sensitive bloodstream causes seizures. Where the hell were you during that lecture, doctor boy?!

    J, everybody. I know there's a new one question limit, but J is kind of like the Mailbag Comedian. He'll always be welcome to chime in at length with his thoughts on the WWF.

    And I ain't no doctor.

    From: FunkiBoy

    I would like your opinion on a couple of things if I may? Namely Davie Boy Smith and HBK.

    First off regarding Bulldog (class act) I agree with your previous comments that he is basically treated like shit by the new generation of fans. Although, this is because of the pathetic angles he's forced to work in, he's basically a jobber since his return to WWF. Unfortunately injuries have devastated him as a wrestler, I reckon he's about 20% of the athlete he was. Just for the record The British Bulldog was part of one of the best tag teams in WWF history, has been an outstanding competitor down his career and has held numerous titles on merit. Oh, and still having the physique at veteran stage most other wrestlers can only dream of.

    Secondly I want to talk about The Heartbreak Kid. Now, I also agree with you that he is wrongly thought of as the best of all time by newer fans, can we really say that one single wrestler has been on a different level to some of the fantastic wrestlers we've seen down the years? Every week now I see semi-confirmed rumours that Shawn will be "On the next RAW" Its getting ridiculous. HBK is my personal favourite and the most entertaining wrestler I've ever seen but I've got a major bad feeling about this comeback. Will he ever be the great wrestler he once was? (I use the word great literally) If HBK is going to be a major player again in the WWF and compete in all the top class wrestling this entails I just can't see him lasting more than a few months tops. Just how the younger and now major superstar HHH will feel about being pushed aside if Michaels leads DX again, as has been reported, will be very interesting., how do you think its gonna go down?

    Finally just want to say that Jeff Hardy is the best newcomer I've seen in years, hope he gets pushed, but he really needs to work on his mike skills, thanks for your time.

    It's a shame what has happened to the Bulldog. He was an all time great and the status he has been reduced to is pitiful. I think his last match pitted him against Julio Fantastico. Wow.

    As for Shawn, I hear what you're saying and agree with it, but if he does come back, I don't think he'll have a major role wrestling wise. If he ever does wrestle again I suspect it will be a one or two match deal.. I seriously doubt that he will come back and try to be an active competitor by wrestling on TV each and every week.

    Continue on to Part 2

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