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  #1  
Old 01-10-2011, 12:20 PM
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Like most wrestling fans, I wasn't watching the TNA Pay Per View last night. Somewhere in between being anxious for the Royal Rumble, being excited for the February UFC PPV (especially the Bader vs Jones match up), and watching my Green Bay Packers defeat the Eagles (Go Pack Go!), it must've slipped my mind. That said, I damn sure checked Wrestlezone.com this morning to learn what I had missed. Matt Hardy debuted and beat RVD? More slipshod booking designed for cheap excitement and zero direction.

But tell me this - what in God's name was Jeff Hardy doing with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth?

Listen, I get it. WWE is going the PG route and cleaning things up (language, partial nudity, for example) whereas TNA is trying to be the 'edgy' promotion with its mild expletives and violence. That's their marketing strategy - differentiation. It makes sense. But at the same time, you have to draw a line with some things, and smoking should be one of them.

1. In almost any arena in almost any state, smoking is illegal to begin with. Fans are told not to smoke prior to the event, it is printed on the tickets, it is on signs outside. Most arenas have designated outdoor smoking gates where those in need of a nic-fix can go and breathe in each others filth. It's your right as an American citizen to die a slow death while simultaneously contributing $4 per pack in tax revenue. But how TNA was able to portray smoking in the arena after explicitly telling fans not to is sickeningly hypocritical. And I understand that the cigarette may have been a prop, and that fans can go see a broadway show that depicts smoking, but that brings me to point #2.

2. TNA is still packaging its product as "professional wrestling" as opposed to WWE's "sports entertainment." At least it seems that way, I'm no expert on TNA. But they've historically packaged their wrestlers as 'athletes' and looked for fans to react to them as such. In that same vein, why TNA would want the champion of its promotion to be seen heading to a major title defense doing one of the things that most hinders long-term athletic endurance baffles me. When The Sandman smoked in front of 250 laid off truck drivers back in ECW in Philadelphia (couldn't resist), it made sense, because he wasn't a professional athlete coming to the ring to wrestle and submit another professional athlete. He was a dude who busted himself open with a beer can and battered opponents senseless with a kendo stick. Hardy is supposed to be the top guy in the #2 promotion in US Wrestling and he's got a smoke in his mouth.

3. If this is another way for TNA to take Hardy's real life addiction problems and turn them into part of his character as a "life imitates art" angle, then it's even more deplorable. Dude has real demons, get him help, don't send him out this way. If Hardy did it on his own volition, stop the match and strip him of the title.

4. Hardy has FANS. Young ones. Probably the only reason Hardy got the run he did in WWE was because he still managed to connect with young fans thanks to his vivid colors, high risk maneuvers, and fun 'against all odds' persona. Some of those young fans may have followed him to TNA, and now their hero is smoking on his way to the ring!? How irresponsible is this?

I try to give my readers a little bit more than just wrestling chat, preferring to juxtapose the fake world of professional wrestling with REAL cultural issues. A few months back I railed against fans who thought John Cena should turn heel, and I did so by comparing him to Tim Tebow and other guys who are who they are as much on their clean image and community influence as on their athletic talent. I have to invoke Tebow once again. Many football experts don't think Tebow can make the transition to a decent NFL quarterback, but that doesn't mean he's not still this humble, hard working, all-American kid. The Broncos recognized that when they drafted him, and while they may not have gotten Peyton Manning's arm or football IQ, they got a kid who won't derail their franchise with drug use, attitude, or (paging Plaxico Burress...) guns.

We don't know if Tebow will be a GOOD quarterback. At least we know he'll be a GOOD citizen and a GOOD role model.

With TNA, we get neither. It doesn't look like TNA, as currently constituted, will be a particularly GOOD promotion. The least they could do is take the high road with how they depict their talents. Shoving a cig in someone's mouth - your champion for that matter - reeks of desperation and classlessness.


Warm regards,

Chris "IrishCanadian25" Fitzpatrick

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  #2  
Old 01-10-2011, 12:36 PM
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I'm gonna do this ST style, though I plan on keeping it short and sweet.

1. Cigarettes are a Legal drug in our society

2. Spike TV is the "Network for Men"

3. Any child with a proper upbringing should be able to tell you that smoking cigarettes is bad for your health, thus any child watching TNA and seeing hardy smoke on his way out the ring should know it's the wrong thing to do, thus garnering hardy some extra heat.

4. If we as a society expect Pro Wrestling to teach our children the differences between right from wrong, than we've already lost.
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  #3  
Old 01-10-2011, 01:03 PM
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I didn't see the show, I only read the results. But from what I gathered from reading the results, Mr. Anderson had just been through a grueling Number One Contender's Match with Matt Morgan, and that he got his title shot immediately after the match. This was to ensure that Jeff Hardy could easily retain the belt for Immortal. So Hardy was probably not worried about the match one bit and felt he had it in the bag. What better way to show that someone isn't worried than by having smoke a cigarette?

It doesn't bother me at all. He was showing he was confident he was going to make short work of Anderson and wasn't bothered by facing him. He's a heel, anyways. Little kids shouldn't be looking up to him for life advice. To me, smoking the cigarette made Hardy's heel character more developed, if that makes sense.
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  #4  
Old 01-10-2011, 01:20 PM
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Sorry Bearded One-der, it doesn't make sense. Not to me, at least.

The New England Patriots just had a week off. The NY Jets played a tough game at Indy. Should Tom Brady waltz out of the tunnel this weekend with a Marlboro sticking through his helmet?

Pro wrestling may be the only mainstream athletic activity where stuff like this is 'okay.' This is why pro wrestling will never be more in society than the bottom rung. Facts are facts.

Hardy wants to show confidence? Strut to the ring. Do pushups when you get there. Don't fucking smoke.
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  #5  
Old 01-10-2011, 01:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IrishCanadian25, PHR View Post
The New England Patriots just had a week off. The NY Jets played a tough game at Indy. Should Tom Brady waltz out of the tunnel this weekend with a Marlboro sticking through his helmet?
You comparing professional sports to T.V. entertainment. Whether they want to be categorized as such or not is irrelevant. Pro wrestling is scripted, Pro sports are not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by IrishCanadian25, PHR View Post
Pro wrestling may be the only mainstream athletic activity where stuff like this is 'okay.' This is why pro wrestling will never be more in society than the bottom rung. Facts are facts.
Looking at it as a Athletic Activity is problem number one, they may do athletic things in the ring, but it's in the name of entertainment, not competition. When you order a wrestling PPV, you know before hand that the outcome is scripted; because it's not an athletic competition, it's a scripted form of entertainment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by IrishCanadian25, PHR View Post
Hardy wants to show confidence? Strut to the ring. Do pushups when you get there. Don't fucking smoke.
Is Hardy a face all the sudden, those aren't very heel like qualities.

Smoking is bad for you, but thank god it's not Jeff Hardy's responsibility to teach our nations youth about what's right and wrong.

Any child who was watching this PPV hopefully had a parent teach them about what's right and wrong before leaving it up to Hardy on a Pro wrestling program that is aired on Americas channel for Men.
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  #6  
Old 01-10-2011, 01:32 PM
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Just a thought here... but do we know if it was even a real cigarette? Hollywood's been using fakes with herbal properties and no nicotine/tobacco for years (just watch five mins of the show "Mad Men"). Not saying that this matters much if you're issue is more with Hardy's example for kids, but ultimately this was an ACTOR playing a VILLAIN on a SCRIPTED TV SHOW. We've seen rape, murder, and every other atrocity being depicted on television, so why get bent out of shape over a smoker?

If it was actually a REAL cigarette then I do have a problem with it. I know the things are legal, but for TNA to spend all this time talking about head injuries and anti-bullying and then let their World Champion trot out to the ring willfully damaging his own health in such a worthless way would be a shame. I know willfull acts of self-destruction are part of wrestling, but there's a big difference between plunging off the top of cage and smoking a cigarette. One is part of the show... the other is just a waste.
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Old 01-10-2011, 01:36 PM
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Does anybody remember when Big Show then the Giant in WCW used to come out smoking? I have no problems with the smoking angle because he is supposed to be against everything that is good hence the antichrist of wrestling. You need to let it go I don't want to make this a political thing but, the government overreached with banning smoking in public places. In Wisconsin where I'm from you can't even smoke when you're at a bus stop which makes no sense.
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  #8  
Old 01-10-2011, 01:42 PM
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Frankly, Chris, I think you're barking up the wrong tree here. In fact, if you ask me, you shouldn't really be barking at all.

All of this is essentially centered around a grievance over the morality of showing Hardy smoking (whether it was real or not is irrelevant, as the act was enough). A grievance you're filing on behalf of the better interests of young fans watching professional wrestling — a "sport" where grown men punch, kick and slam one another to settle their differences, where women are generally objectified and where coarse language (albeit not in WWE) and generally unsuitable behaviors for children are ample.

It makes no sense to me to cite a moral objection now when not ten years ago the prepubescent kids on my block were "DX Chopping" one another and telling their friends and parents to "SUCK IT!". Now, I'm sure there were moral objections then, but the premise is simple — if you look hard enough (which is to say you don't have to look very hard at all), you'll find a handful of things to object to citing immorality as concern by watching professional wrestling programming each week with regard to it's potentially negative effect on children.

I stand by my earlier statement still: I didn't think it was overly controversial, but I thought it sold the attitude Jeff carried to the ring well, e.g. "this will be a cakewalk".

The fact he could smoke before a match says "my competition ain't shit", which he obviously thought of Anderson, especially because he just wrestled (and won) the match against Morgan.
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  #9  
Old 01-10-2011, 01:42 PM
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going to keep this short because smoking is a subject that I can go on & on about.

Ummm since when are cigarettes illegal? if they are then it's news to me. It is his life..if he wants to have a smoke(a la Sandman) on his way to the ring then let him. it's his health that is being damanged. not yours. and who knows it could have been a clove cigarette that has no nicotine. And I am sure that TNA officials got the Okay to do this from Universal Studios before hand.
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  #10  
Old 01-10-2011, 01:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smooth Sexual Chocolate View Post
You comparing professional sports to T.V. entertainment. Whether they want to be categorized as such or not is irrelevant. Pro wrestling is scripted, Pro sports are not.
I'm not the only one making the comparison. TNA and WWE do it as well. TNA promotes themselves as "professional wrestling" and how great their "athletes" are. TNA wants to promote itself as an actual sport, but they want the freedom that 'sports entertainment' affords them. They want it both ways. Makes no sense to me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smooth Sexual Chocolate View Post
Looking at it as a Athletic Activity is problem number one,
Tell that to Mike Tenay.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smooth Sexual Chocolate View Post
they may do athletic things in the ring, but it's in the name of entertainment, not competition. When you order a wrestling PPV, you know before hand that the outcome is scripted; because it's not an athletic competition, it's a scripted form of entertainment.
Just because the outcome is scripted doesn't mean there's no room for morality.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smooth Sexual Chocolate View Post
Smoking is bad for you, but thank god it's not Jeff Hardy's responsibility to teach our nations youth about what's right and wrong.
There's a difference between being a role model and gratuitously doing something like smoking when the cameras are rolling on a major PPV.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smooth Sexual Chocolate View Post
Any child who was watching this PPV hopefully had a parent teach them about what's right and wrong before leaving it up to Hardy on a Pro wrestling program that is aired on Americas channel for Men.
Be realistic. Parents don't watch every program the kid watches.
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