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Devils Advocate - Professional Wrestling Edition Part One

By Edited Dec 8, 2016 2 2

When egos collide and it effects the fan base

No matter what your pre-conceived opinions of professional wrestling are, when all is said and done, pro-wrestling is a morality play. Where good and evil collide, and even the guys in between have their fair share of air time.

Pro-wrestling (especially WWE) has one goal in mind, and the goal is to make money. Not unlike any other operating business, the long-term health is to market to a consumer and keep them coming back for your product and/or service.

However, unlike most business', pro-wrestling considers it's main employees "Independant Contractors" and even though that term has become less factual in recent years, it still allows the wrestlers a small degree of input with what they do in front of a live audience.

In yesteryear, the input of a wrestler would be even greater, but with the advent of television writers, agents, and others, their input has shrunk. However, many top names in this unique business still continue to wield some form of power and even though history continually repeats itself, there is still a great list of those who put themselves (and colleagues) before everyone else. It doesn't even stop with politics, some use other means as a way to make it to the top and make sure no one else follows and even in some instances, it's inadvertent, but still to their advantage.

So, without further ado, let's see who fits the Devils Advocate roles.

(Note: Many are famous stories and will be questioned by some. Personal opinions aside, they've made the list due to long standing controversies over the years)

Edge: Canadian favourite Adam Copeland wanted to be a professional wrestler his entire life. During his high school years, he won a competition and received free training in Toronto. Years later, he appeared in WWE and was fast becoming one of the newest stars during the Attitude Era. After many mid-card years, Edge was being tried at the main event level in 2005, but not receiving the fan fare to push him over the top. After a heel turn (wrestling jargon for "bad guy"), Edge continued to compete for the championship but was unable to get the traction with the fans for the desired top spot. It was only after a real-life affair with Lita (Amy Dumas) that sent
the wrestling world into a frenzy. Lita was the real-life girlfriend of fellow wrestler (and good friend) Matt Hardy. After the affair become public due to anger from Hardy's end and worry from WWE Brass that their would be a physical confrontation between the two, Hardy was fired and the fans immediately lashed out at both Edge and Lita in very real fashion. The chants were a deafening, "You Screwed Matt." Whether he originally intended or not, this incident launched Edge to a new level in the WWE that he never had before, eventually winning the WWE Championship.

EdgeLita

Edge and Lita during their "live sex" celebration

Later on as the real-life feud had died down, Edge become embroiled in another controversy. He entered a story line with Vicki Guerrero, who was recently widowed by legendary wrestler Eddie Guerrero. Edge who was an admitted friend of Guerrero in real-life, parlayed his real-life perception of women into the story line "using" Guerrero for control of the Smackdown show. This story line was uncomfortable for fans and even those in the business themselves.

EdgeVicki

Edge and Vicki Guerrero

Paul Heyman: Heyman was known for most of his career as Paul E. Dangerously. He initially started out as a photographer and eventually made his way into the business as a manager. Later on in his career, he eventually become the booker (matchmaker) of the rebellious ECW promotion based out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. During Heyman's time at the helm in ECW, he become obsessed with sticking his collective thumb towards WCW (his former employer) and also the WWE (known then as the WWF). Heyman was known for doing any type of story line that would draw press, such as sacrilegious story lines involving crucifixions, male on female violence, very sexual story lines, and an abundance of blood and violence known as "hardcore". Heyman was also known for sketchy behind the scenes antics such as writing doctors notes for foreign talent with work visas and (according to some) advocating drug use so the talent would be able to compete with various injuries. One of the biggest controversies of his career was his handling of the National Wrestling Alliance, who were looking to regain prominence in the wrestling world through ECW. Heyman double crossed the promotion by having wrestler Shane Douglas throw down the NWA World Title and berate the promotion. This allowed Heyman and ECW (with a lot of press) to break away from the NWA for good and be an independent promotion. ECW continued to operate until in 2001 when they went into bankruptcy. Heyman's final controversy came when he failed to tell the talent (many of which he owed huge sums of money to) that the company folded and appeared on Monday Night Raw (WWE's flagship show) and become a paid talent for their company. Heyman has since left the business and now writes articles for the U.K. Sun and even has his own running video blog called, "Heyman Hustle".

Heyman

Paul Heyman, pro-wrestlings "Mad Scientist"

Ric Flair: There is absolutely no denying that the "Nature Boy" is a legend in professional wrestling and like most wrestlers who've made it to the top, there are those who question him as both a performer and as a person. Flair started his career in the 1970's, training under the legendary Verne Gagne, promoter for the American Wrestling Alliance. After a couple years in the AWA, he moved onto the Mid-Atlantic Territory (Jim Crockett Promotions) and came into his own as a wrestler. During the 1980's, Flair was one of the biggest drawing cards in the entire industry, holding the NWA World Championship for most of the decade. By the time the 1990's came, Flair and then WCW President Jim Herd (who has very little support throughout the wrestling community) butted heads. Flair refused any direction that came from Herd and left the company....with the NWA/WCW World Heavyweight Championship. Flair cited that he was owed money from a deposit he made to carry the title and wanted his money and even refused to lose the belt to competitors such as Barry Windham and Lex Luger. (Refusing to drop a title is a "time-honoured tradition in professional wrestling and Flair has been critical of this with other wrestlers, such as Bret Hart)

FlairNWA
FlairBigGoldy

Flair with the classic NWA World Heavyweight Championship on the left. On the right, Flair with the second incarnation of the NWA/WCW Belt, which was nicknamed "Big Goldy"

Flair then sent the championship to Vince McMahon and the World Wrestling Federation to begin a story line that he was the "real" Worlds Heavyweight Champion. A move like this is seen as a disappointment in the industry and could cripple a rival competitor and it's wrestlers. Flair began the angle on WWF television, but due to a lawsuit from WCW, it wasn't long lasting. The World Heavyweight Championship was returned to WCW and Flair was carrying around a championship belt from the original Florida Territory (Championship Wrestling from Florida) that was digitized for the home viewers to look like the World Heavyweight Championship. The angle died a quick death when Flair won the WWF Championship and a huge money making rivalry with Hulk Hogan never transpired. Ultimately, Flair's time a top the World Wrestling Federation was short due to a less than stellar feud with Randy Savage. (One match-up between the two was so disliked by WWF owner Vince McMahon, that he actually stopped both of them in mid-match, made them return to the dressing room, and berated them for it being so horrible.)

FlairHeenan

Flair with legendary manager, Bobby "the Brain" Heenan. This was the era that he was the "Reals World Heavyweight Champion."

It wasn't too long after that Flair returned to WCW and continued his career there. (Flair was beloved in the Southern, U.S. markets) Flair went onto to have both on-air and off-air feuds with WCW head Eric Bischoff, Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, and Scott Steiner. Some of the feuds were rather nasty (Bischoff sued Flair for missing a show and kept him off television for close to a year and Hogan became stiff with Flair's son David and hurt him legitimately) Flair seemed to have heat with many in the company and it continued until the company's demise in 2001. Flair wound back up in Vince McMahon's WWE and was more celebrated this time around. It was there that Flair wrote a personal autobiography entitled, "Ric Flair: To Be The Man." He was embroiled in more controversy when he berated Bret "Hitman" Hart for not dropping the World Championship to Shawn Michaels and claimed he used his brother Owen Hart's death to grind an axe with McMahon as well as questioning his drawing power. He then berated wrestling star Mick Foley, claiming he was a "gloried stuntman" and not a good wrestler or draw. Flair also stated it wasn't his fault for making it big in WCW. (Flair was on the booking committee during the 1990's) It was also during this time that Flair physically assaulted Eric Bischoff in a real life altercation in a dressing room and punched Mick Foley in the face after Foley egged him on by offering Flair an autographed copy of his book. Flair finally retired from the ring in 2008 and in 2009 he made a return to the ring headlining against Hulk Hogan on a "Hulkamania" Tour that took place in Australia. (Flair had stated in his book he would never forgive Hogan for hurting his son) Flair has also been very critical of Total Non-Stop Action Wrestling in interviews, but as of this writing he is finalizing a contract to work for them. Flair will now be apart of a company that features Kevin Nash, Scott Steiner, as well as Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff doing promotions for them.

FlairHulkamania

Flair and Hulk Hogan during a "Hulkamania" Tour press conference. 2009.
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Comments

Apr 29, 2010 3:39pm
jcmayer777
Don't forget about part two.

I love wrestling. This article was a good one, with inside info and scoops.
Jul 8, 2010 4:27pm
Travis_Aitch
Wow this is quite an impressive article I love the format and use of pics great work! I'm not a wrestling fan but props on a great article!
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