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THE DAILY LARIAT  

  
by Dave Scherer

5/5/00 - Page  [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]   

 

Mike Johnson Reporting

Wrestling Observer Live 5/04 recap with Jim Thomas of New York State Senator Tom Libous' office regarding legislation of Drug Testing of Wrestlers.  Buck Woodward spoke with Thomas yesterday morning and the transcript is up on the Newsline as well as in yesterday's Daily Lariat.

Dave Meltzer and Bryan Alvarez begin the show by introducing Jim Thomas. Meltzer asked him to go into detail about the legislation. Thomas says there has been a lot of misinformation about it, and explains that several people in Libous' office are wrestling fans and they want to help the industry. They want to add a drug test to the wrestler's physical for New York.

This would be the same drug test that boxers who fight in New York have to take. The drugs included would be marijuana, steroids. There is no timeframe on testing in the bill yet. Yet are meeting with the WWF and several local promotions to work out details. Thomas says their goal is to help wrestlers who need help get treatment, not punish wrestlers or the promotions. He said if the promotions do it internally, they would drop the bill tomorrow, but Thomas says that all the Leagues claim they have testing "but it's a farce."

The bill is in print in the Senate. Meltzer says the biggest short term problem in wrestling especially with deaths are painkillers. Thomas agrees and says everyone learned with Kerry Von Erich's death that painkillers are a serious drug.

Thomas says the WWF has been very responsive. They have not heard a thing from WCW, but have heard from several independent promotions. He hasn't heard from ECW.

Licensing for wrestlers is not as strenuous as it is for boxers. Boxing has a few more tests and have more "invasive" procedures.

Meltzer mentions that a suspension in NY would be an Athletic Commission suspension, and Thomas agrees. Meltzer asks if other state commissions would honor suspensions and the like. Thomas says it's a good guess that they would but it is too early to know anything as they haven't spoken to them.

Meltzer asks if there will be a grace period, because when the WWF testing in house, the WWF gave 5 months notice and half the wrestlers "still failed the test." Meltzer said that by the summer of 1992, they were as clean as a wrestling promotion was in the modern era, until they did away with the testing.

Alvarez asks what exactly the WWF has said. Thomas says that they are willing to talk to Libous' office and see where they stand. Meltzer says he is sure it will go to court at some point. Alvarez says that they pulled out of Oregon when they tested, and he thinks they will pull out of New York. Meltzer disagrees because if they pull out of New York, it would be a huge national story, and they make more money in NY than anywhere else, and would cause them to possibly lose Madison Square Garden. Meltzer says that every media outlet in the country is going to say that the WWF is afraid to run NY and run off sponsors.

Meltzer asks about what kind of oppositions they have received so far. Thomas says all they have heard is criticism and some fans complaining they are trying to take wrestling away. Meltzer says some fans in Oregon think the government banned Oregon or something.

They ask about Independent promotions. Thomas says they understand that there are different levels of testing, and that the smaller groups may not be able to absorb all the costs of testing. Right now, the promotions would pay for the costs.

Thomas says they are treating this like an industry, not as a sport. He says that Vince McMahon's comments relating it to Broadway and the circus do not matter, as while this is not a sport, the participants are doing physical activities and brings up the injuries to Steve Austin, Goldberg, Darren Drosdov, and others.

When asked about the difference in wrestling and other sports, Thomas says that in the last few years, quite a few wrestlers have died because of drug abuse, and since there is a lot of smoke, something needs to be looked into. Meltzer says that in other sports if someone died, it would be all over, but in wrestling, it is overlooked, talking about how little publicity Bobby Duncum, Jr.'s death received.

They talk about the reaction to the fans, and Meltzer says that an industry that could be related to wrestling is rock music. Thomas says that if someone could figure out how to legislate rock music, it'd be the coup of the decade. Alvarez says Bodybuilding, but not more than rock music. Thomas exits the show.

Alvarez says that this will be a totally different scenario than Oregon. They talk about how long pot stays in the system, and how they can get around it. Meltzer says if they are being tested by their own personal doctor's, it will be a joke. They will need to have the test at the arenas and monitored.

They talk about Thunder. Meltzer said that the show had a story but the execution wasn't there and it wasn't entertaining. He said the battle royal was horrible with too many weapons that no one is selling. They talk about Konnan and Rey Misterio, Jr. aren't in the promotion on Monday, and on Thunder, Konnan is in the Battle Royal. Hugh Morrus is "fired" on Monday and then is announced for the PPV.

They talk about David Arquette not being over at all, and how hard it will be for DDP and Jeff Jarrett to have a good match. Meltzer says that if you saw "Ready to Rumble" the logical thing to do was for the bump through the three cages which cannot be done in real life. Alvarez says the bump off the light stand tells the fans there will be another bump on the PPV.

Caller asks about Bob Ryder saying Meltzer is on the WWF payroll. Meltzer said he spoke to Ryder about it, and Bob said it was never stated and it was blown out of proportion. The caller than said that Ryder had said that in the past, Meltzer worked for the WWF.  Meltzer then said that was true, that he had.  Meltzer says in 1987 for a little over two months, he worked for the WWF by researching Japanese information for them. Meltzer says he also testified for the Florida State Athletic Commission when they had hearings on regulations which Vince McMahon asked him not to do, but did, so he says there is no way he is biased to anyone. Meltzer says that when people think there is a feud between two people, they stop looking at the facts, and assume everyone is ripping each other.

Meltzer is asked about Diamond Dallas Page's book. Meltzer says he hasn't finished reading it, but it was too much for him because DDP kept trying to say it was harder for him to move up the ladder because he was Eric Bischoff's friend. [I can see that point, although I enjoyed the book. The biggest drawback to the book for me is that there are pieces written or credited to be written by a million different people, so there is no flow to it. Think of a text version of A & E Biography with a million people tossing their comments in.]

They go over the lineup for the Brian Pillman Memorial Show which you can see at Pillmanshow.com. They also have an awesome Pillman shirt.

Caller asks about comments Lodi/Rave makes on his page about Lenny Lane. Meltzer was unaware about it. [Scherer had a link to this a few days ago, where Rave basically said that he had heat with Lane for not being straight with him about giving WCW his 90 day notice.]

They go into an odd conversation about horrible gimmicks, talking about the Ding Dongs and Big Josh with dancing Grizzly bears.

The 8/13 WCW PPV, formerly Road Wild is tentatively scheduled to be called New Blood Live. [A great name]

Upcoming Guests:
Monday: John Muse talking about booking
Tuesday:Lance Storm
Thursday: Joel Gertner, tentatively scheduled
Friday: Jim Cornette
May 25th: Live Broadcast from the Pillman Show

I can be reached at AgentCLPT@aol.com. Check out my columns here on the site!

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