I almost feel like it’s my fault.
A common trend during my life is that most things I touch turn into fecal matter. One of the reasons I don’t get as emotionally devastated as other folks during this #SpeakingOut moment is because I’ve been let down by my favorite wrestlers before. If you’ve been following my 30th Anniversary Celebration, you know that Steve Austin was somebody I was high on before he got to the WWF. He will be a big part of the next few editions of that column, as he was the biggest star at the time and I was early on that bandwagon. Stone Cold Steve Austin was one of the biggest stars in the history of the wrestling business, and I still feel lucky that I got to witness most of his career as it happened. I even inducted him into the 411 Wrestling Hall of Fame, and Steve read it & appreciated it. Certainly a highlight of my writing career that I won’t forget.
However, I was also there for the bad moments. He had some issues with domestic abuse. There were multiple incidents with multiple partners. Many fans (I don’t say “wrestling fans” here because it’s an issue with multiple forms of entertainment, sports & politics) excuse this type of behavior when it involves somebody they like. I’m not cut like that. I don’t excuse domestic abuse by anybody. If a friend of mine happened to be an abuser and it was proven, I wouldn’t excuse it. I can’t excuse it from a favorite wrestler either. I can still appreciate their work when they did it, but when Steve Austin’s domestic troubles were in the news, I wasn’t out there making excuses for him. That’s not my deal.
Another of my early favorites was a man known as the Canadian Crippler. I haven’t talked about Chris Benoit yet in that series, but I know he’ll be a topic soon enough. I still haven’t seen many men better in the ring than Benoit. Dude was a top-notch professional wrestler between the ropes & delivered the type of matches that I love to see. I went through a phase where the matches were all I cared about, & Benoit was one of the folks I knew could always deliver on that end.
When he did what he did, I was emotionally devastated. At the same time, I never denied it. Hell, there are still people out there that deny it. They want to blame Kevin Sullivan, or the drugs or whatever other excuses people came up with. And, sure, CTE is a brain disorder, and I’m sure it affected Benoit’s thought process during the later stages of his life. But at the same time, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that Chris Benoit was a jamup guy.
Fortunately, I can’t put Sammy Guevara in the same category with Austin & Benoit’s issues yet.
He topped the first Fave Five I’ve done in years, so of course something bad was going to happen. As far as we know, he hasn’t actually abused anybody. The only thing he’s murdered that I’m aware of is the Fozzy song “Judas”. However, the fact that he would use the term “rape” as something he would like to do to a female wrestler is certainly reason to ring some alarm bells. That’s what he did on a podcast recorded back in 2016, where he commented that when he was at the WWE Performance Center he saw Sasha Banks, and, well, I’ll let you connect the dots.
Maybe I’m just a prude, but I’ve never thought that talking about raping people was acceptable. I’ve seen plenty of people trying to excuse it, and it doesn’t work for me. Rape is one of those things that you just don’t joke about. It doesn’t get a great reaction from people with no experience with it, and it turns off anybody that does have that experience. Fortunately, I have no experience with it. If I did, I’d probably go off on you worse than I did that shithead Brandon Stoud in this week’s News From Cook’s Corner.
I don’t care if Sammy was 23 years old, or 22, or 21, or 12 years old. He should have been raised better than that. From what I gather, a lot of people should have been raised better than that. I wasn’t making rape jokes at that age because I knew better. The only time I can remember even making a reference along those lines was on a fantasy football podcast where I was three sheets to the wind & the Voodoo Penguin was pausing for some reason & told me to fill some time, so I blurted out that we all remember Eli Manning for raping a cat. On television. Then I immediately realized how stupid that was and went right to quoting the famous instance where Brock Lesnar told Paul Heyman to say something stupid.
We all say stupid things.
I would say that the instance I credit myself with there wasn’t as creepy as Sammy saying he wanted to rape Sasha Banks, but it was certainly as awkward & messed up. Fortunately for me, that podcast will never appear on Eli Manning’s radar. This did appear on Sasha’s radar.
And as I learned on Monday when I clicked one of those random Facebook links, Sammy & Sasha had interacted on Twitter last week while talking some smack about the Wednesday night ratings war. Sasha & Bayley’s main event match with Shotzi Blackheart & Tegan Nox did a better overall viewership number than Sammy & Chris Jericho taking on Chuck Taylor & Trent, so Sasha said that she & Bayley were better than Le Sex Gods. Sammy took that as an occasion to compare Sasha’s look to early Ricochet, and there was a little back & forth that was what it was.
Which would have made it real easy for Sasha to let Sammy get cancelled after those 2016 remarks were re-posted to the Twitter & exposed to the mob that has rightfully emerged after all these revelations lately. I won’t make any excuses for the things Sammy said back then. I know we’re supposed to act like 23 year olds are newborns, but if 23 year olds have any type of proper teaching from anybody they should know better. I mean, I don’t remember anybody ever telling me that rape was funny.
Unlike many we’ve seen lately, Sammy actually felt bad about it. He contacted Sasha about it to apologize. It would have been easy for Sasha to let the guy twist in the wind. Nobody would have batted an eye. Instead, Sasha took the opportunity to have a talk with Sammy about how she felt about it and how those types of comments weren’t acceptable. It’s the type of emotional maturity that people wanted us to believe that Sasha Banks didn’t have, for whatever reason, last year when they were making up stories about what happened at WrestleMania.
— $asha Banks (@SashaBanksWWE) June 22, 2020
What this shows me is that Sasha Banks is ahead of the game. She understands that it’s more productive to try & educate these misled young folk than to snuff them out. If there’s one thing that’s become obvious to me during this whole experience, it’s that young people aren’t taught how to act. It doesn’t fall under teachers’ jurisdiction, and far too often, parents are willing to pass the buck to others.
To be fair to the parents that try, sometimes the kids just don’t listen. That’s why we need a chorus of voices, and too many times that just isn’t there. Not only is the education system failing America, but the system outside education is too. It’s a sad situation, and I wish I could tell you it’ll get better.
There are people that do know. Too often, they’re outnumbered by the people that don’t. That’s been a problem in wrestling for years, and that’s why it’s important for us to drum out as many of the abusers that we can during this time where full attention is on it. If there are folks that aren’t abusers yet but show signs, we need to sway them away from the idea that abuse is cool. If this experience turns Sammy Guevara away from the road to being an abuser, that’s a great thing for the wrestling business.
The guy has the charisma to do great things. He could be a great star for AEW someday, or for WWE if they were to sign him away eventually. He won’t be a great star if he wants to rape people. Maybe he would have been back in the day, but we’re getting away from “back in the day” and that’s a good thing.
Here’s hoping that Sammy figures it out. Here’s a ton of respect to Sasha Banks for doing her part to help when she didn’t need to. That’s Legit Boss level stuff.