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Wrestling is No Place to Raise a Child
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By Christopher G. Palacios

There was the high school kid in the stands at the football game with "suck it" and "DX rules" handwritten on his baseball cap.

There was the elementary school student walking into class with the "Two Words: S**K IT" shirt. And there were the thousands of young children and wannabe adults at the arenas doing crotch chops.

I could look at all of these kids and frown, but I'd much rather frown at their parents.

Wrestling companies (namely the World Wrestling Federation and Extreme Championship Wrestling) are offering up weekly television shows that feature everything from women tearing the clothes off of each other to wrestlers offering suggestions on how to service their sexual organs. I often wonder how any parent can allow their 8-year-old child to watch wrestling, as we know it today.

In a world as desensitized to sex and violence as our society has become, when does a parent finally draw the line? What would Vince McMahon have to put on TV before people finally stop letting their kids watch "Raw Is War"? Considering how little uproar the sight of a crucified Steve Austin has caused, maybe Vince can get away with putting anything on Raw.

And how many times has Extreme Championship Wrestling had segments involving men attacking women? Even Joey Styles admitted on Wrestling Radio that he didn't condone those segments, but he doesn't seem to have a problem cashing his paychecks.

The fact is that companies will do whatever produces the most income. If Vince McMahon cared about the upbringing of your children, he would have stopped Steve Austin from saying "ass" or flipping the bird as soon as it happened. If Paul Heyman were worried about how young males would treat young females, he would not have allowed Tommy Dreamer to piledrive Beulah McGillicutty.

It's at that point when a parent should have looked at what images a child was viewing and simply changed the channel or turn the television off. When that doesn't happen, a parent is basically telling McMahon and Heyman to raise their child. (And if you had the "pleasure" of hearing Shane McMahon's work on "Sunday Night Heat", you know that Vince has spent very little time teaching his son about wrestling commentary.)

It's hard for me to take such a stance against the wrestling business, especially since I grew up watching Southwest Championship Wrestling (now available in the Wrestling Classics video store). Southwest certainly didn't lack in the violence department, but it was nowhere near the levels that we see in today's wrestling. Regardless, my father always watched the show with me, so he knew what I was seeing and decided I was smart enough to watch a show and not emulate what I was seeing. You can bet that my father wouldn't have allowed me to wear a shirt that said "suck it" on it, much less wear it to school.

Unfortunately, that type of parenting doesn't happen as much these days. I know small children who learn more from "Barney" than they do from their parents. I know preteens that see very little of their parents, which means those kids can watch whatever television shows they want to watch without fear of a parent's judgment.

The real problem is the parents that not only allow their young children to watch these adult-oriented wrestling shows, but allow their kids to emulate the wrestlers. Need proof? Look at the line of people waiting to purchase tickets to a WWF show, and you'll see kids giving crotch chops or yelling, "suck it," to everyone that walks by while their parents laugh and egg their kids on.

Quite frankly, the wrestling fan base was scary enough, but the next generation of wrestling fans is so scary that I have no desire to raise a child. The real world was scary enough, but when televised wrestling leads to the infiltration of crotch chops in schools, maybe it's time to take a step back and look at what's going on.

Granted, every single kid that watches Raw isn't going to flip off every authority figure they see, give a crotch chop in public, or give a DDT to a girl they don't like. A T-shirt never killed anyone, no matter how vulgar the message on it may be.

Until then, it's becoming more and more apparent that this is not a country where what a child may experience in his or her life outweighs the perils, evils, and obstacles that the child may meet.

The age of innocence is gone, and people are blind to its departure. Some are even waving goodbye to that era.

You can bet McMahon and Heyman are wearing their elbows out while waving.

Christopher G. Palacios is a reporter for "The Wrestling Lariat" newsletter and 1wrestling.com. Chris has also written for the "Chairshots" newsletter. Questions or comments for Christopher can be sent via e-mail to chrispalacios@webtv.net.

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1998 Wrestling Classics: Frank Dusek, Mark Nulty
1998 Design: Jan Herod
Created: October 1998