I know I’m going to get blasted for saying this, but the time has come to put the brakes on some unnecessary stuff in pro wrestling.
No, I’m not referring to matches and such. I know some people (and Dominos Pizza, heh heh) freaked out about the AEW Deathmatch between Chris Jericho and Nick Gage last week, but we LOVED every second of it.
I’m talking about the trash talk. Sometimes it goes too far. And for those who are whining, “Well it’s no different today than it was during the Attitude Era in WWE!”, I’m sorry, you’re WRONG.
WWE pushed the limits during that era, but they were very careful NOT to go over the line and when they DID cross it – the Katie Vick storyline – it got pulled back FAST. Same with the crucifixion angle in ECW all those years ago. Sometimes, in the excitement of what’s going down, wrestlers, promoters, and bookers push the line and think it will be OK, when it’s really NOT.
Which brings us to the man of the hour – Max Caster.
Now I’m going to be brutally honest here – I am NOT a fan of his, or The Acclaimed in general. I have watched Caster wrestle for almost a year in ACW now, and for someone who has half a dozen years’ experience, he’s incredibly sloppy in the ring; I cringe every time he tries a move that he probably shouldn’t be doing. More than once, I have watched him do moves that could have left his opponents seriously injured during matches on both Dark and Dynamite. He doesn’t protect the people he’s going against AT ALL, and that bothers me. And on the episode of Dark that aired Tuesday, August 3, he made comments during his rap that were not officially approved by AEW’s Tony Khan, and he got into serious trouble because of it – he made remarks about the mental health problems being dealt with by US Olympic Team gymnast Simone Biles, and also made references to the controversial Duke University rape cases among other things, and not surprisingly, people were outraged. People came out of the woodwork to vilify him, and yes, he should have known better. On the one hand, this IS pro wrestling, and sometimes things like this happen. But on the other hand, Tony Khan would be smart to make sure this NEVER HAPPENS AGAIN.
You see, those remarks drew ire during the Dark taping the previous week, and they had FIVE DAYS to edit them out, and yet they didn’t – why? Tony Khan says he didn’t know about them until the show aired. Fair enough – he’s a busy, hands-on kind of man and can’t be everywhere at once. But the editing team SHOULD have known better. They should have brought the comments to Khan’s attention and inquired about whether or not they should be cut. For his part, Khan stepped up and took the blame for them this week after things blew up, showing what a stand-up, “the buck stops here” type of guy he is. But he shouldn’t have had to do that.
And what about Caster? Four days after the furor began, he has yet to issue an apology or even a statement trying to deflect blame. He has gone underground, as it were. He was not seen at the Dynamite broadcast on Wednesday night, and he was cut from a live appearance by Beyond Wrestling on Friday, where he had been scheduled to main event the show against Wheeler Yuta.
Some people are demanding Caster be fired for the furor. I don’t agree. AEW didn’t cut Sammy Guevara for his crass, unthinking statement about raping Sasha Banks, which had happened a number of years earlier (and which some, including yours truly, believe he was DELIBERATELY coaxed into saying by a podcaster), when he was new and trying to get a foot in the door, long before AEW came along. But they DID suspend Guevara for several weeks, and made him go to sensitivity training. I would suggest the same punishment be doled out to Caster. Someone also needs to make DAMN SURE they go over his talking points, as Khan put it, for what he is supposed to be rapping about; Caster apparently wrote this week’s on his own and didn’t clear it, and that’s what got him into trouble – had he cleared it, he wouldn’t have been doing it, because no way in HELL would Khan have allowed it. And as an aside, like I said above, I personally think Caster is sloppy as hell – maybe a few more months in training before allowing him to return would also help his future prospects.
Again, for the whiners – of course it’s OK to take potshots at somebody – but it should never be about personal problems or issues such as those brought up in Caster’s rap this week. Definitely NOT someone who’s going through some difficult personal issues; Biles has been very up front about her demons and being true to herself brought her back in time to medal in the balance beam at the Tokyo Olympics. Mental health issues are NOTHING to joke about, to take potshots at, and for gods’ sake, rape is COMPLETELY out of the question – it should have ALWAYS been that way, but thank goodness it is permanently verboten now. Potshots should come about from the opponent themselves, or about the state of the world – even politicians are more of a fair target than someone suffering mental health issues and rape victims.
And before some of you out there start screaming – yes, the WWE writers who came up with Charlotte Flair’s similar rant that included comments about Biles on Raw this past week deserve the same kind of treatment as well. It should be equal in every federation when it comes to punishment for stupid, unthinking remarks, even when done in the heat of the moment.
The point in this – it’s 2021, we should be beyond the point where we can’t stop and THINK about what kind of pot shots we’re going to take at an opponent, don’t you think? I know I do..and after this week’s fiascos, so do a lot of other people…
Just my 2 1/2 cents, for what it’s worth….