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OOLD SCHOOL  
Wrestling Under the Influence:
What's the Big Deal 

May 15, 2003

by Rick Scaia  
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com

 

[NOTE FROM THE PRESENT DAY: It is, I know, my tendency to use these "flashback" columns to illustrate some past column that either has present-day significance or which made me look particularly smart by predicting something that would not come to pass for months or years.

Well, different vibe today.  In the wake of Elizabeth's death, and still only months removed from Curt Hennig's passing, this 1997 "gem" is one of my old columns that seems least responsible and intelligent in retrospect.  How much of that was just me using the nWWWo-alter-ego of "Big Daddy Who" as an excuse to be an ultra-opinionated asshole and how much of it were my honest feelings?  I truly do not remember as I sit here today.  All I know is that right now, I would continue to allow the individual the right to do whatever he or she does as long as it doesn't affect his/her performance on the job... but I don't know that I'd go so far as to endorse conspicuous consumption as a way of ENHANCING performance.  Alas, though I believe what follows is something that has relevance today, it was not one of my finer moments...]


"Big Daddy Who?" (a/k/a Rick Scaia) Opinion Column
Originally Published by nWWWo.com on December 31, 1997

This week's column is going to address a topic very near and dear to my heart: BEER. Other topics, such as BOURBON, GIN, VODKA, and maybe even POT or PILLS may be tangentially related. But for the sake of brevity, I'll just use "beer" as a word meaning all mood-altering substances a reasonable person may imbibe.

Why beer? Well, a few weeks back, there was this big to-do over whether or not Curt Hennig was drunk on Nitro. "A few too many pre-event cocktails?" we wondered. I may have made a little joke about it at the time, but there were others who were much more serious about "getting to the bottom" of the deal.

Before too long, we had complicated scenarios in which Curt Hennig had drunk himself under the table at some backstage holiday bash, needed to be propped up by various NWO personalities during an interview segment, only to return backstage to take a 30 minute power nap and drink coffee so as to be able to perform in a match later on in the show.

The accusations flew fast and furious. It got to the point where Eric Bischoff had to come on the internet to not only declare that Hennig (a) wasn't drunk and that (b) anyone who said he was was a totally irresponsible piece of garbage. Now, it'd be real easy to take issue with Bischoff here, possibly on the grounds that Hennig may well have been drunk despite Bischoff's denials (afterall, Eric is the same guy who fabricated a story about having Nitro on Canada's TSN live every Monday when speaking to Bob Ryder). But that's not the point.

The point is that Bischoff should never really have had to bother with a public statement. I mean, this isn't the 1920's. We aren't in the midst of prohibition. Anyone who tells you complete abstinence -- from ANYTHING, not just alcohol -- is a virtue is probably a just a damned pussy (or a raving religious fundamentalist).

But somehow, in the minds of wrestling fans, the idea that Curt Hennig may -- GASP! -- have had a half dozen beers backstage while celebrating the holidays has the makings of a scandal. We're appalled at the thought. We can't believe that this kind of boorish behavior can be tolerated.

Whatever.

If you want to get upset about something, get upset about the fact that -- for whatever reason -- Hennig's performance that night seemed to be impaired. If the guy did indeed have a brew or two, it's no big deal. But if the guy had enough to visibly effect his ability to do his job, then THAT is what we should be talking about.

And hell, a discussion of beer and wrestling would be terribly incomplete without mention of the Dirtbag's Champion, the Sandman. Here's a guy who brags about drinking 12 beers before even leaving the locker room (this is one boast I'll believe, BTW), and has another 3 or 4 on his way to the ring. Is this wrong? Remember, he smokes a cigarette or two during his entrance, as well. Is he the spawn of Satan? 

HELL NO. He's my favorite wrestler.

This is a guy who doesn't just drink his beer, but he can handle it, too. I'd go so far as to say that any criticisms of the Sandman's habits are TOTALLY misplaced because the beer -- if anything -- probably ENHANCES his performance. No joke. I doubt he'd do half the crazy stuff he does if he was stone cold sober in the ring. 

Speaking of Stone Cold, we just about wet ourselves with glee when Steve Austin emptied two or three beers while tailgating on a recent RAW. Why wasn't he condemned as a sinner? Afterall, actually drinking beer on RAW was just the next obvious step for a character that epitomizes the typical barroom tough guy: if ever there was a guy who could be characterized as having "beer muscles," it's the insanely macho Steve Austin. [I won't even get into Austin's unfortunately expanding beer gut.]

By the way, if you're gonna get all worked up because you think I'm suggesting EVERYONE should drink large quantities of beer and be glorified for it, save your breath. You're missing the point. All I'm suggesting is that by existing standards set by wrestling fans, it could be argued that Curt Hennig's only mistake on that fateful Monday night was that he didn't bring the beer with him to the ring. And that it sure as hell didn't have the makings of the scandal people made it out to be.

Then again, that's only My Own Damned Opinion......

E-MAIL RICK SCAIA  
BROWSE THE OO ARCHIVES

"Big Daddy Who?" Rick Scaia is a bourbon man himself. Stammer to your e-mail program of choice and shoot some words over to bigdaddywho@hotmail.com if you wish.


  
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