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OOLD SCHOOL  
The Passion of the Wrestling Christ 

April 1, 2004

Compiled, but NOT Originally Authored, by Rick Scaia  
Used to be Exclusive to WrestleLine.com

 

[NOTE FROM THE RICK:   This was probably the most controversial piece I've ever been associated with.  And by "associated with" I mean "accused of having written."  Over the years it has grown to a near mythical status, and all because it was only published for about 6 hours on WrestleLine before being removed.

A couple problems: over time, people began to think it really was horribly controversial.  In reality, it's no worse than anything that's ever been in the Onion, and it was removed from WrestleLine due to Pressure From Above (since SportsLine was/is a publicly traded company and decided they needed to be more careful).  And mostly: people are under the impression that it was an April Fools column, which it wasn't.  It was published on 01/12/2000.  So in an attempt to demystify the legendary "Wrestling Jesus" article, I'm using THIS April Fools day as an excuse to dig it out of mothballs for you all to check out.  The one thing that must remain in the realm of the myth: the author of the column.  He insisted on anonymity back in 2000, and who am I to blow his cover?  Whoever he is.

Sacrilegious?  Controversial?  Funny?  Over-hyped?  You decide...]


NEWS: WCW to Introduce Wrestling Jesus
Originally Published by WrestleLine.com on January 12, 2000

WCW is reportedly set to debut a very controversial character based on an offhand comment Mark Madden made during an episode of WCW LIVE! The character will likely cause widespread controversy among religious groups, even more so than the Undertaker did for his crucifixion skits. 

The character will be called Wrestling Jesus. Wrestling Jesus will be played by Devon Storm once his run as Crowbar is finished. Sting was considered to be Wrestling Jesus, but WCW management decided that Sting was too pious and self-righteous for the role. Storm has the beard and hair necessary to play Wrestling Jesus. He also has that subtly deranged look that Jesus would no doubt have if he were thrust into wrestling. 

The debut of Wrestling Jesus will be accompanied by a gigantic marketing campaign. "What Would Wrestling Jesus Do?" t-shirts and wristbands will be the first items available. 

There seem to be no legal problems about using the name Wrestling Jesus. In an incredible development, organized religion let the copyright for the name "Jesus" lapse. The name "Jesus" is now the property of WCW. "We will let organized religion continue to use the name 'Jesus' as long as it doesn't interfere with what we do," said WCW's Vince Russo. "We don't want to be perceived as sacrilegious." 

While WCW may own the rights to the name "Jesus," it turns out that organized religion inexplicably has a copyright on the term "slapnuts." "Perfect," said Russo. "That sets up Jeff Jarrett as the first feud for Wrestling Jesus." 

The one legal obstacle to the debut of Wrestling Jesus is a potential lawsuit by the WWF, which is expected to claim that the Wrestling Jesus character is based on the opinion Shawn Michaels has of himself as a performer. WWF owner Vince McMahon doesn't see the Wrestling Jesus character as a threat to WWF ratings dominance, since Vince will return to TV soon and everyone knows he's bigger than Jesus. "What a savior I would have made," McMahon was heard muttering to himself while flexing and gazing into a backstage mirror. 

On WWF.com's Ross Report, Jim Ross said that Jesus "was technically still under contract to the WWF, but no legal action will be taken because of our great respect for his phenomenal career. But it's pretty obvious that this is the act of an evil billionaire once again stealing our intellectual property." 

The WWF will definitely sue, however, if WCW markets "John 3:16" t-shirts as expected. "Who's this 'John' fellow?" Ross said. "He ain't no Steve Austin, I can assure you of that." 

Turner Broadcasting Standards and Practices will, surprisingly, allow Wrestling Jesus on TV. S&P may have been confused by a similar character proposed by WCW that was also called Wrestling Jesus but pronounced Wrestling Hay-soos. Wrestling Hay-soos would have been an illegal alien working as a gardener at Ted Turner's mansion who had an affair with Jane Fonda. S&P vetoed that character, but the smokescreen provided by Wrestling Hay-soos may have allowed Wrestling Jesus to sneak by S&P. 

"I'm very disappointed that Wrestling Hay-soos was turned down by Standards & Practices," said Russo. "Now we still have nothing to do with Psychosis." 

When asked whether Wrestling Jesus would be a babyface or heel, Russo said, "Well, I want to let the fans decide. But I think having a character called Wrestling Jesus certainly gives me a little more stroke with the boys. I mean, who's gonna refuse to job to Jesus? Besides Hulk Hogan, I mean." 

Wrestling Jesus will not debut until next Christmas. 

"You gotta bring him in at Christmas, right?" Russo said. "It only makes sense. It gives us time to really put together a storyline. We also have to look for some props for Wrestling Jesus to use, like those trick loaves and fishes, and we've gotta teach Devon to walk on water, and turn water into wine, and to raise guys from the dead. That last one could really come in handy if our ratings keep dropping." 


The arrival of Wrestling Jesus will be foreshadowed by a really bright, blinding spotlight that will shine above the ring for several weeks preceding his debut. Having one of the Nitro Girls play his mother was briefly considered, but Russo decided that none of them would be believable as a virgin. At first, Wrestling Jesus will be accompanied to the ring by three wise men bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and Nitro cologne for men. Later, Wrestling Jesus will be accompanied by The Disciple. 

"We'd like to have 12 disciples, but it's just not financially feasible," said Russo. "So we'll just stick with the one we already have." 

Other than that, booking plans for Wrestling Jesus are still in the works. He is tentatively scheduled to lose a Texas Death Match to Ric Flair on an Easter Sunday PPV, with Flair finally playing the Roman Gladiator character proposed by former WCW president Jim Herd a decade ago. Wrestling Jesus will come back on the third day to wrestle Hogan on Thunder. Hogan will win clean with the legdrop. WCW is still thinking about a finisher for Wrestling Jesus. "The crucifix is too cliched, and the Walls of Jericho is already taken," said Russo. "We're thinking about having him use the brain claw. We could call it the Crown of Thorns, and we could have his opponent juice like crazy." 

The next controversial characters you see on WCW TV may be a gang of four wrestlers in Teletubbies outfits, with Lenny Lane playing Tinky-Winky. The big worry with the Teletubbies gimmick, however, is that WWF fans in the crowd at Nitro may use souped-up channel-changers to switch the TVs in the Teletubbies' bellies to RAW. 

The bulk of WCW's promotion will center on Wrestling Jesus. "WCW needs brand-name recognition, and who has more brand-name recognition than Jesus?" said Russo. "Besides Hogan, I mean." 

WCW may create other characters based on religion. Dean Malenko may become Wrestling Jesus' tag-team partner, Wrestling Moses, while Larry Zbyszko may play the role of Wrestling Judas because he did it so well the first time around with Bruno Sammartino. If WCW feels the need to involve celebrities, perhaps Wrestling Jesus could take on Buffalo Sabres winger Miroslav Satan. 

"We could always use Kevin Sullivan as the Devil," said Russo. "It's his real-life gimmick, and then maybe he would finally go along with some of my booking ideas and not bury me so much." 

When asked if he was worried about the religious implications of the Wrestling Jesus character, Russo said, "Not really. It was Madden's idea, and that fat idiot is going to hell anyway." 

E-MAIL RICK SCAIA  
BROWSE THE OO ARCHIVES

Rick Scaia is a wrestling fan from Dayton, OH.  He's been doing this since 1995, but enjoyed it best when the suckers from SportsLine were actually PAYING him to be a fan.


  
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