Steve Cook weighs in with the root cause of the Lars Sullivan debacle in WWE.
If I was to give young wrestlers (including Lars Sullivan) one piece of advice, it would be the same piece of advice I’d give anybody living on Planet Earth in 2019:
Don’t say anything.
That’s easy for me to say. I’m a pretty shy individual. I’ve always had a tough time sharing my thoughts & feelings with other people. A therapist may speculate this has something to do with a lack of self-esteem, that I’m reluctant to share my feelings because I don’t think people will care & don’t really see the point. They’re probably right.
I know I’m not the only one with this issue. One of the great things about the Internet is that it’s made it easier for people like me to be ourselves and put things out there without as much fear of rejection or being ostracized. Sure, there’s always the comments, but it’s easier to ignore an angry comment section than it is an angry classroom full of peers that can make the next few years of life a living hell.
The Internet has changed social interaction. In many ways, it’s replaced social interaction. While I can see how many of the results have been bad, I can also see the good. It’s good that people like me who have some difficulty in social environments can find places where we feel like we belong. The Chairshot serves as one of those places for me, along with the other websites where I write and post. I assume if you’re reading this, you likely have your own places on the Internet where you can do the same. Whether it’s a message board, a Twitter account, a chat group or whatever, everybody has their “safe space.”
There’s always one thing you need to remember…
The Internet ain’t that safe.
WWE Superstar Lars Sullivan wasn’t always WWE Superstar Lars Sullivan. Once upon a time, he was a regular on bodybuilding.com’s message board. Hey, bodybuilders gotta have somewhere to shoot the bull too. If he didn’t know many bodybuilder types in his area, why wouldn’t he find a circle on the Internet? Perfectly natural by twenty-first century standards.
There is one problem with message boards built around one interest. Eventually, they start talking about other interests. Throughout my time on wrestling message boards, I’ve made a habit of not frequenting the political threads. Talking politics leads to talking about other topics that don’t lead anywhere good. You can end up in this “locker room discussion” place where people with “non-politically correct” beliefs feel free to shoot off at the mouth about it.
Lars did that. You can read all about it here. He was more than happy to share his views against racial, religious & sexual minorities with anybody who would listen, most likely because it was the Internet and there wasn’t somebody standing in front of him. It helped that many of the posters there shared these beliefs.
I’ll be honest. As somebody that isn’t racist, sexist or homophobic, I have a tendency to think less of people that are. Too often, I have to turn on my blinders and ignore the fact that way too many professional wrestlers fall into at least one of those categories. Including ones that I’ve praised repeatedly over the years & love watching in the ring.
- AJ Styles often yelled homosexual slurs at the top of his lungs during his 2000s indy matches.
- Kevin Owens used a racial slur in what he called an attempt to get heat by using a movie quote.
- Rhea Ripley recently dropped a homosexual slur while cutting a promo on a fan, but apparently these things are more acceptable in Australia. Though, by that logic, I should also cut Styles some slack since he’s from the American South.
And many, many more.
If you wanted to, you could do some digging on any pro wrestler and find something they’ve said or even something they Twitter liked that you don’t like. Me, I don’t have time to waste on such things. I do think less of racists, sexists & homophobes, but at the same time I realize this is America and people still have the right to make a living.
If Lars Sullivan fails in WWE, it should be because of his failings in the ring & on the microphone. So far, I’ve seen him do one thing really effectively…look like a badass. WWE sure could use more people that do that in 2019, so I see why he’s getting a chance.
I can also see why people are against it. To them, I have one thing to say:
Are we really expecting a company run by Vincent Kennedy McMahon to punish somebody for posting things on a message board that Vince probably would agree with? And yes, I’m including the post where Lars said he would watch a Stephanie McMahon video while pleasuring himself.
There’s going to be some bad publicity in the short-term. But as laughable as it is when I read headlines saying “WWE Hopes Lars Sullivan backlash will blow over”, it’s 100% accurate. Lars might succeed, he might flop. Heck, the flop rate is pretty high in WWE these days, right? People will move on to the next thing soon enough.
When’s the next Saudi Arabia show going down?