Thursday, September 13, 2012

Rant #804: Blurring Fantasy and Reality

Something happened on Monday evening that thoroughly blurred the line between fantasy and reality.

Professional wrestling has never been held up as the bastion of reality. Its made up storylines and planned matches have turned as many people off as it has turned people on to this so-called sport, which is actually more of a performance, although athleticism is used as a backdrop for all the nonsense.

Anyway, on the long-running Monday Night Raw series, WWE wrestlers were participating in a tag-team bout when all eyes seemingly turned away from the bout and to the announcers' table.

Using "the show must go on" axiom to the hilt, the match continued, but no one was watching it.

Long-time announcer Jerry "The King" Lawler, a former top-level professional wrestler and now announcer who sometimes laces up the boots for bouts, passed out at the table, and medics rushed to his side.

Minutes earlier, Lawler, 62, had just participated in a match where, among other things, he jumped off the top rope several times against much, much younger opponents.

With the world that the WWE created--where fantasy and reality are ofen so blurred that one runs into another--many in the crowd thought that Lawler's passing out was part of the storyline, just another chapter in the live show that would lead to something else.

But lo and behold, this wasn't fantasy.

Lawler stopped breathing as he was attended to by the medics.

He was rushed out of the arena, and taken to a local hospital in Montreal, Canada, where he is today.

He suffered a heart attack, has had a stent put in, and is in critical condition, the last time I looked.

As for the show, since it is live and beamed to a worldwide audience, the show had to go on.

No announcing was done, although Lawler's broadcast partner, Michael Cole, shined during his finest hour, giving updates on Lawler's condition to the stunned audience.

I wish Lawler the best. I was never a fan of his as a wrestler--you might remember that years ago, he pile-drove comic Andy Kauffman in another incident that blurred fantasy and reality--and I never liked him as an announcer.

But he has been a major personality in pro wrestling for four decades, and he doesn't deserve to go out like this.

Pro wrestling has often been knocked as being the most artificial of ventures, but in this case, real life won out.

I just hope that Jerry Lawler does too.

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