Paul Wight's Story

I have to be perfectly honest with you here. For the better part of the Big Boss Man/Big Show angle, I had an uneasy feeling in regards to where this was going. When we first learned that Big Show's father - Paul Wight, Sr. - was diagnosed with a form of cancer which would eventually claim his life, I voiced my disapproval to anybody in the office that would listen. Then when the Federation creative team ended Paul Wight, Sr.'s battle with cancer, I began to HATE the angle.

It wasn't until watching the funeral segment on SmackDown! this past Thursday that I realized I needed a good swift kick in the ass. Late last year, the World Wrestling Federation launched its "Get It!" campaign. And I was one of the people who sang its praises. Finally, the Federation was taking a more real-life appraoch to wrestling. I "got it." At least I thought I did.

The idea behind "Get It!" was to inform people that the Federation was no longer just "rasslin'." Rather, it is a form of entertainment. As a form of entertainment, the Federation would take on more entertaining and creative story lines. For example, Val Venis became sexually involved with nearly every woman on the roster, and the Godfather came to ringside with a number of scantily clad hos each night he competed.

I couldn't have been happier. The World Wrestling Federation was finally putting things I wanted to see on TV - sex and women. I remember watching Terri Runnels pop out from under Val Venis' sheets on RAW. I think my reaction was: 'Wow, that's entertainment.' However, somewhere along the line, I stopped "getting it." I, like many other fans of the Federation, began to mistake the Federation's new attitudinal approach with an excuse to put half-naked women on television. I failed to realize that the creative team's goal is to actually bring all aspects of reality into wrestling - not just sex and women.

One year after the launch of its "Get It!" campaign, the Federation has written its first death into the story line, and fans everywhere are voicing their disliking of this angle. However, what many fans are thinking - much like I was thinking before I kicked myself in the ass - is that the Federation is entertainment. It's not real life, and it's not just sports. It's entertainment. Very similar to how sitcoms and soap operas are entertainment.

Any Melrose fans out there? Remember Kimberly? Well, for those of you who don't - Kimberly was a character on Melrose who was diagnosed with cancer, much like Paul Wight, Sr. Then, also like Big Show's father, she died. Then, it got even more entertaining when she came back before finally dying again. Don't worry, I think we've heard the last from Big Show's father. Anyway, the point is that people watch this stuff to be entertained, much like people watch the World Wrestling Federation. This isn't real life. If people wanted to see real life cancer tragedies, they could go to their local hospital. Instead, shows like RAW, SmackDown! and Melrose offer people a chance to be entertained in a harmless manner.

I know this is a lot to digest. However, I feel it is important to make the realization that the World Wrestling Federation is no longer just "rasslin'." I also feel it is important to realize that the Federation's "Get It!" approach to sports-entertainment doesn't just mean that half-naked women are going to walk around ringside. Instead, it means that the Federation is going to put out the most entertaining, real-life product possible. That means cancer, too. It may take some getting used to, I know. Even I had to sit down and think about it before accepting it. However, the sooner you accept it, the more entertaining the show will be for you.