Hack-Man Vioilence in Wrestling Page

Last updated 16 September 1999

How do you respond to criticism that wrestling is too violent for children?

Submitted by Alton Dreyer oif Cincinnati OH


Heck, I can't agree with that sentiment at all. Wrestling saved my life when I was young. If it wasn't for positive role models like Dusty Rhodes and Stan Stasiak, and a promoter by the name of Don Owen, I don't know where I'd be right now. I won't deny that wrestling is violent, but there's no gray areaof morality in this sport. We're the best role models in sports.

STAN HANSEN: "Hell, I make all my kids watch every rasslin' show. And I quiz 'em about it at dinnertime, too. Yeah, current events with Big Stan. One wrong answer equals one lick of the belt. I used to smack 'em around with the belt what holds my pants up, but now I can use my world championship belt to chop a few welts in their scrawny butts. Toughens 'em up hoss.

Editor's note

The belt Hansen is referring to is the AWA World title he held at the time, when the AWA was still in operation.


Kids ought to see violence. As much of it as possible. It'll give "em street sense. The best example for kids I ever saw was in Canada a long time ago. Tarzan Tyler was beatin' up some pretty boy, and the guy's 12-year-old little brother ran into the ring to save him. Tyler bodyslammed the kid to teach him a lesson: Don't get involved in anything you ain't tough enough to control.


I've read some of that criticism from psychologists and sociologists. I know theri hearts are in the right places, but they're mistaken. As a broadcaster, I try to put hideous violence in perspective for our younger viewers. I don't think they should be shielded from, say, the sad reality of Kevin Sullivan; they have to know the consequences of evil in order to combat it.


They tell me fans under 14 years old used to be banned from wrestling matches in New York State. To me, that's ridiculous. Wrestling is no more violent than any other contact sport. Most wrestlers don't battle to maim or cripple, and they're the ones who are cheered by the kids. A clean pinfall over a rulebreaker shows kids that they, too, can triumph over adversity without taking the easy way out by chaeting.


Kids? Yeecchh! Kids are supposed to be angels, right? Kids at the matches are holy terrors, man. Most of the filthy names I hear come out of the foul mouths of babes, 10-year-olds who drool over the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. And their parents promise to buy 'em chocolate chip ice cream if they hurl abuse at me! Brats are too violent, for wrestling, not the other way around!

ABDULLAH THE BUTCHER (via interpreter):

Children? Braised on a spit is best. Cooked is best, because junk food diets of American youngsters spoil fresh meat. Nutrition for body of Sudanese steel like mine. Prefers uncooked chicken, lamb, vital organs from beasts of burden. This much is energy muscle feed, unlike spoiled meat of humans who sit their muscles at television screens. Still, children are tastier than wrinkled, dried-up grannies.


Yo, I appreciate the concern that I hear from mommies and daddies about lettin' the wee pals watch wrestling. It ain't pretty sometimes. But when I think about all them pediatric wards in hospitals I've been to, and the little fella in a wheelchair who gave me an oil portrait of Willie Nelson for my last birthday. He don't think rasslin's a bad example for the kids.


I was lucky enough to grow up as a Von Erich, part of a family that cherished wrestling and all it stands for. But I don't know what I would have done if I hadn't been exposed to wrestling at an early age. I wouldn't recommend this line of work for most kids, but if you're tough enough to take the bruises and fair enough to handle the feuds without turning bitter, there is nothing more rewarding.


During the course of a long career, I met a lot of kids and their parents. I never saw a child who was negatively influenced by our sport. I like to think we stand for something noble in the hearts of men, a striving for honor and decency. Children realize that it is unprincipled men who cause terrible violence in the ring. Fan favorites inspire them to learn the right lessons about life.

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If you have any comments, I can be reached via email at Hack-Man@twc-online.com