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Saturday, July 30, 2005
Pro Wrestling--- WWE Continues to Mislead Mainstream Media about Terrorism Storyline
With the extremely offensive Mohammad Hassan character having been removed from WWE television at the not-so-optional "request" of UPN executives, WWE has continued to mislead the mainstream media about the terrorism storyline that caused this whole controversy in the first place.
The most recent example of this comes in an article by ABC News, which once again repeats the claim by WWE spokesperson Gary Davis that there was simply no time to edit that particular episode of WWE Smackdown before it aired on July 7th. In fact, both the Torch and Observer have reported that WWE and UPN could have edited the whole segment out of the show if they really wanted to, but they didn't think the segment would be as big of a deal as it turned out to be.
Proving once again that WWE truly doesn't get it, Gary Davis also inexplicably said in the article, "There's no question in our minds it was the unfortunate timing of that segment being on July 7 that was the ultimate issue with it." So, in other words, it wouldn't have been that offensive if it hadn't aired on July 7th. WWE still doesn't understand that even if the bad timing didn't exist, this would have still come across as a tasteless angle designed to exploit terrorism in order to draw money for the company and cheap heel heat for the Hassan character.
The ABC News story also inaccurately portrays the nature of Hassan's removal from WWE television. The article portrays the situation as though the controversial sketch "convinced WWE to finally have Hassan... taken out of the game permanently by the Undertaker."
In fact, it was not WWE's decision at all, as reported by the Observer. When UPN "asked" WWE to never use the Hassan character again, WWE had no choice because UPN has the right to cancel any show that brings the network excessive negative publicity, which WWE Smackdown certainly did in this case.
WWE spokesperson Gary Davis said in the article that Hassan's removal was just WWE "tying up a storyline" and that they have "done this with other characters as well," despite the fact that this is the first time that UPN has ever "asked" WWE to never use a character again while that character is in the middle of a big push on television.
Gary Davis also said that Hassan's last appearance at the Great American Bash was a "respectful way" for WWE wrap up the character's run in WWE, which is entirely true if by "respectful" you mean "producing a commercial for a pay-per-view in which you re-play the original terrorism storyline, only you add the Muslim Call to Prayer as background audio." If that's what you mean by "respectful," then yes, they certainly did end things with Hassan respectfully.
Gary Davis also repeated the oft-used line, "The whole point of the storyline and this character was to point out the injustices Arab-Americans have suffered since 9/11."
It has seemingly become second-nature for WWE spokespeople to deceive the mainstream media, with one glaring recent example coming when Gary Davis actually told a reporter at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that Matt Hardy really hasn't re-signed with WWE, and that Hardy had merely agreed to a pair of one-time appearances. (That's what made it so strange when Hardy appeared on the following week's episode of Raw, apparently meaning that Hardy agreed to make three one-time appearances, and I suppose that this Monday's show will be Hardy's fourth "one-time appearance.")
Hulk Hogan Makes Unintentionally Hilarious Appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live
The award for best unintentional comedy of the year has to go to Hulk Hogan's appearance on the Friday night episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live. I say this not so much for Hogan's segment on the show, but for the following segment in which the person being interviewed was Jerry Ferrera from the HBO series, Entourage.
After Hogan's segment was over and Ferrera's segment began, it didn't take long to realize that Hogan was going through intense misery to have to sit there on the couch for eight minutes while someone other than Hulk Hogan was the center of attention. Whenever he was shown on camera during the Jerry Ferrera interview, Hogan was nervously glancing around, making pained facial expressions, and even playing with his finger-nails. Pure comedy gold.
During Hogan's interview with Kimmel, the highlight had to be Hogan saying that his WWE Hall of Fame induction segment was only slotted to last ten minutes, but that plan got thrown for a loop when the audience gave him a standing ovation for 20 minutes before he could even start talking.
He also said that he has shown Brooke Hogan some things in terms of how to defend herself, and Nick Hogan is a good boxer, so they're all good fighters in the Hogan family and they could kick the Osbournes' asses. (Linda, Brooke, and Nick Hogan were in the front row of the audience.)
Hogan said that Brooke's date on the first episode of Hogan Knows Best was a "supervised field trip" with not only the GPS system in the car, but also two of his friends lurking nearby, whom Hogan referred to as, "Jimmy Hart and Nasty Boy Brian Knobbs."
When asked how long he is going to continue wrestling, Hogan said that he will be 52 years old by the time SummerSlam takes place, and 52 years old is too old to be wrestling, which I suspect Hogan is saying as part of an attempt to get more money out of WWE for a potential match at the September PPV.
He also said that the match against Shawn Michaels at SummerSlam is a dream match for wrestling fans because Hogan is like the old generation while Michaels is, as Hogan put it, "the guy who tried to pick up the ball and carry it after me, and that didn't work out so well for him, but you know, he tried his best and there has always been that jealousy factor from him."
Jimmy Kimmel said at one point, "Wow, I would never guess that you're 52 years old. You're still so huge!" Kimmel jokingly added, "You must be on steroids!" Hogan said, "No, but I used to be," to which Jimmy replied, "But you're off of them now?" and Hogan said, "Oh, I'm WAY off of them!"
Kimmel then jokingly said, "You know what, I need to get on steroids," to which Hogan jokingly said "Go for it!" and gave a big thumbs-up to the camera. Hogan then laughed and said, "No, no, no, you're taking me down the wrong road with that one, brother." In my mind, painful flashbacks ensued of Hogan's infamous steroid denials on The Arsenio Hall Show years ago.
Unfortunately, there wasn't enough time for Hogan to repeat his usual fairy-tale that Andre the Giant weighed over 700 pounds when he body-slammed him at WrestleMania 3, and that Andre died shortly after the match. This is a line that Hogan appears to feel obligated to squeeze into every mainstream interview he ever does, and the absence of any reference to it in this interview has surely caused a tear in the fabric of the space-time continuum...