Originally posted by Chris Dailey, 30th, April 2000

Welcome back to the early return of Breaking The Walls Down. It feels good to be back writing the column. This column is early because my dad is coming to pick me up tomorrow and I don't know how things will be at home with my computer being connected to the Internet. I wanted to make sure I had my column out as promised in case anything happens. Well, I finished everything with school. Sixteen years of formal education and I'm finally done. I don't plan to stop going to classes, though. I still want to go to night class and become certified in HTML and learn networking. Anyway, sorry to veer off the path there, onto, Bits and Pieces.

Bits and Pieces

First and foremost, the banner this week comes from Doug. I can't say enough how I love Transformers, so thank you Doug. Hey, make sure you check out Doug's Saturn site, it is really, really good. You can do so by clicking the name, Death Valley:The Saturn Fan Site. He did an excellent job on this site and you can see he put a ton of time into it.

My thoughts on David Arquette as the WCW champion are not very good. WCW messed up big time. You can't tell me this will bring better ratings to WCW, you just can't. I'm sorry, but this outshines Vince as WWF World Champion, Chyna as I-C Champion, Sgt. Slaughter as WWF World Champion, Shane McMahon as European Champion, and David Flair as U.S. Champion. At least the aforementioned people are wrestlers to some degree.

All I can say is props to Hogan. Yes, I said it. I always said I may not like him, but I respect all wrestlers. Hogan has been showing me lately that he wants it, he wants his federation to be on top again. However, I'm not going to go into the underground plot ideas and start hypothesizing that Hogan is doing this to quiet his critics, so he can prove that he can still compete with the younger guys. I'm not going to say he's doing this to impress Russo, so he gets a good push to the world title. O.K., I said that, but we'll see. Yes, I am happy to see what Hogan has done, but it's hard to forget what his ego is capable of.

And now, onto the column.

The Realness of the Fakeness of Professional Wrestling

I received plenty of e-mail asking me to post my paper on the review of the "Hell in a Cell" match between Mick Foley and The Undertaker. I will post it below and then write in the professor's comments and grade. I'm going to leave in any mistakes and such, so I can give you an exact copy of what I handed into her (some of those mistakes are just bad, but every paper always has some form of mistakes). I was supposed to write this article for all readers, so you will see things explained that I would not normally explain in my column.

"The Realness of the Fakeness of Professional Wrestling"

Professional wrestling, itís not your fatherís wrestling anymore. In fact, W.W.F. (World Wrestling Federation) owner, Vincent K. McMahon, prefers to call wrestling "sports entertainment." The issue of whether it is real or not is not even an issue anymore. We know the matches are scripted. However, what most of us do not know is the reality of professional wrestling. To put it mildly, "the realness of the fakeness of professional wrestling" is a subject most skeptics arenít even aware exists. Now that professional wrestling is known to be fake, the wrestlers feel the need to make it real. Yet, in the quest to make it more real, when does "real" become too real? Many wrestlers take "bumps", which are bad falls or hits (i.e. chair shots to the head, being put through a table, thrown over the top rope onto concrete, etc.). Also, some wrestlers work "stiff," which means they punch, kick, and do other moves for real, severely hurting either themselves or their opponent. Whether or not a wrestler works stiff matches or takes bumps, is up to the wrestler himself. This is rarely done because of injury, but when done, it is usually to make the match more entertaining for the crowd.

There was one match where the bumps and the stiff moves were too real to belong in the ring. This match has had wrestling fans, wrestlers, and stunt professionals talking about it for two years, and for, undoubtedly, many years to come. I had watched this event live on Pay-Per View, so I was familiar with the event. When I thought of the event, "King of the Ring 98," I reflected upon the match in horror, upon what a man had done in that match.

Mick Foley, the main subject of the match, is known for his unique style of wrestling. Foley has wrestled on a bed of nails, thumbtacks, barbed wire, glass, fire, ladders, chairs, tables, Singapore Canes, and just about any other weapon he could use. When asked why he would want to do this, he simply replies with a heart-warming smile and says, "Because I am no Hulk Hogan. I donít have a muscular physique. I needed something that would set me apart, and I found it." "It", referred to as "hardcore wrestling" in the professional wrestling world, has left his body nearly crippled.

Foley walks with a noticeable limp these days. He can no longer get down on his knees and play ball with his children. Heís a loving and devoted father, but the "sport," as he calls it, has destroyed his physical being. When asked why he would compete after it has become obvious he needs knee replacement surgery, he simply says, "Because of my fans." Indeed, but the match I witnessed that Foley performed in "for his fans," almost killed him.

At "King of the Ring 98" a match took place called "Hell in a Cell." The name fits the structure. The structure is a cage with four corners, so it surrounds the four-cornered ring, and it has a top to the cage. The cage is made of a metal mesh that resembles a chain-linked fence. The structure is about eighteen-foot high, giving the enclosure inside a cold, metallic feel. The combatants to enter this structure were The Undertaker (whoís character is supposedly a dead man living that wears a completely black outfit to compliment his long black hair) and Mankind (Mick Foleyís character, whoís dark twisted life has culminated into a psychotic, inhuman being, which is reflected in his brown mask, brown outfit, and white collar and tie). The descriptions of these menís characters are the only entertaining part of this match. The match itself was not sports entertainment, but simply a sport.

Mankind started at the top of the structure (this in itself is unusual because the match is supposed to start inside the cage where the wrestlers are to be "trapped" until the end of the match) with a steel chair in his hand. The Undertaker (seeing Mankind on top of the cage) climbed to the top and the match started. The crowd, noticing the uniqueness, was cheering at a deafening pitch. Mankind gave The Undertaker two viscious chair shots to the back, the resulting sounds echoing throughout the Pittsburgh Civic Center. Mankind went for what looked like a suplex (throwing your opponent over your head), but The Undertaker reversed it. The Undertaker punched Mankind a few times and then did what has become film for stunt professionals studying the stunt field. The Undertaker threw Mankind off the eighteen-foot high structure. Mankind landed, and went through, the announcersí table, barely clearing the two television monitor, which saved his life. The crowd was ecstatic; they were amazed at what happened. They cheered for the brutality, most seemingly did not care if he was hurt, they just wanted more . . . and they got it.

After being carried halfway through the entranceway, Mankind got off the stretcher and continued (at this point with a dislocated shoulder and a severely bruised kidney). The crowd was at a fever pitch; they were oozing with excitement. Mankind climbed the cage once more. The Undertaker, thinking the match had ended, had started to climb down the cage, but he proceeded to climb back up once he saw Mankind climbing the cage. The combatants exchanged punches and then The Undertaker went for one of his "signature moves" (signature moves meaning he normally does this move to end a match, itís his "finisher"). The Undertaker went for the chokeslam (where a wrestler grabs his opponent by the neck with one hand and then by the back, and the victim jumps up in the air and lands on his back, making it look like the wrestler had lifted him by his neck and slammed him to the ground). However, this was still on top of the cage, not the ground. The cage was supposed to hold that amount of impact . . . it didnít.

Mankind fell to the mat, a twelve-foot drop. He looked like a man bent in half from a car wreck. At first, the crowd was ecstatic, but then they realized the seriousness of what just happened. They were quiet as medics attended Mankind. Mankind suffered a concussion from the fall and a tooth came up and down his sinuses out to his nose; however, Mankind has suffered seven other concussions in his career and lost two other teeth (not to mention the hundreds of stitches, countless broken bones, and the loss of two thirds of his ear). The concussion and the loose tooth were a result of the fall through the cage. As he fell, the chair that was on top of the cage, fell with him. When he landed, the chair landed a split second after he did, on top of his face. In the wrestling world, wrestlers are taught the old adage "the show must go on." To make matters worse, they were live on Pay-Per View, and Mankind felt the need to continue for his fans and for his company.

At this point, Mankind does not remember anything (the concussion made sure of that). However, without remembering, he did something else no one, including myself, will forget. After Mankind recovered from the second fall, with blood poring from his nose and mouth, he grabbed a blue bag from under the ring. He walked to the center of the ring and sprinkled something onto the mat, something metallic that bounced as it hit the mat . . . thumbtacks, thousands and thousands of thumbtacks. However, he would never get to use them on his adversary.

The Undertaker proceeded to chokeslam and then slam Mankind onto the thumbtacks. This makes it twice that Mankindís flesh was pierced by these tiny needles. With hundreds of thumbtacks embedded in his skin, ranging from his arms to his scalp, The Undertaker then pinned Mankind to win the match.

After the match ended, the medics rushed into the ring and attended to Mankind. There were worried expressions on their faces, and they wanted to use a stretcher to carry Mankind from the ring. However, Mankind refused the stretcher and walked out of the ring, with one arm propped around a trainer, and the crowd standing on their feet clapping their hands and chanting his name, his real name, "Foley, Foley".

This is the scene of a man dedicated to what he refers to as a "sport". While I do not doubt his dedication, I am still left doubting what I just witnessed. Could professional wrestling, what we were taught at an early age not to be real, be real? From what I witnessed, I will never doubt "the realness of the fakeness of professional wrestling" again. Sports entertainment, the calling card for professional wrestling today, was pulled into question because of this match. The only entertainment in this match happened before the match even started. The wrestlers walking to the ring with their costumes on gave the traditional, entertaining, view of professional wrestling. The match, however, was real, exciting, and without a doubt, the match of the year, perhaps the match of the decade. Professional wrestling crossed the threshold of being sports entertainment, to being nothing but a sport. If boxing is a sport that allows its competitors to bludgeon each other, why then canít we consider professional wrestling a sport, as well?

Professor's Comments and Grade

You presented it very clearly (referring to a question I had about setting the tone for the environment of the match) -- great set up, clear explanation, excellent recreation of the event. This was not easy to do, and you did it very well. I'm wondering about all the issues -- like brutatlity -- that lie behind this. I know you can't treat everything in one paper, and I don't expect you to, but this really raises a lot of questions. That said, you deserve praise for conveying this as well as you did.

A -

An A - is certainly fine by me. I definitely did not expect that, as the professor liked my subject, but knew nothing of it. I don't want to sound like I am bragging, because this would have been posted if I failed it, but I'm really proud of the way this paper turned out. My professor is on the board for The New York Times, which is one of the more prestigious papers in print, and I'm surprised she actually liked it. She tends to grade on the premise that we are entry-level writes for the Times, so the grade shocked me, because my grades in that class (up until that point) has been an average of a B - to a B.

I do have another column in the works, I just wanted to get this paper column out of the way first. My next topic for my following column is controversial and I need time to think on it. I can't say much more on it, other than the name(s) and federation(s) involved will not be mentioned for fear of reprisal by both parties on myself, Calvin, and LoP in general.
I don't know what my connection to the Internet will be like for next week, so I might take a while getting back to your e-mail. Well, until next Tuesday (not May 2nd, but May 9th), join me as I try to "educate people on the realness of the fakeness of professional wrestling"©.;

Chris Dailey