The Crucifix

Happy to be officially back in my normal Monday slot and with something to get off my chest (which Eric S. will point out to you is a fat chest. I am honored that Eric thinks of me when he thinks of fat golfers though). So let’s get right to a little investigation of Phil Mushnick.

Some of you may know Phil. He is a hefty oaf of a man who writes for the NY Post. His job, you see, is to watch TV and complain about what he doesn’t like. Now most people would say that is what we at Inside Pulse do in our respective zones. However, the glaring difference is that we actually have real jobs and do this as somewhat of a hobby. Then there is Mushnick, who actually gets paid for doing it. Am I a tad jealous? Yes, but that is neither here nor there. My problem with Mushnick stems from his constant criticism of WWE and what they do.

It’s quite simple actually. Phil Mushnick hears about a wrestler or wrestlers that have died recently and says “STEROIDS AND DRUGS!” He hears about dumb angles and figures it is the constant sickness of WWF/E (Yes, he’s been attacking THAT long). The thing that bothers me the most is that Mushnick tries to pass it off as if he watches these shows when he doesn’t. Because if he did, he certainly wouldn’t have printed this dribble in the Sunday edition of the Post:

“The New York Times this summer discovered that Vince McMahon’s prime time pro wrestling shows can be – even by the modern standards that McMahon helped to lower – excessively disgusting. Yep, the Times was aghast to learn that the WWE would exploit the war in Iraq to perform beheading angles for the amusement of its mostly young audience.
Of course, the WWE, known as the WWF before it was forced to change its initials, has been similarly entertaining kids in prime time for, oh, the last 20 years.
Next thing you know, The Times might discover that scores of pro wrestlers – many of them primetime TV performers – have dropped dead from job related narcotic drug and steroid abuse over the last, oh, 20 years.”

Ok, never mind the fact that any of you reading this have already discounted almost everything in Mushnicks writing here. Let’s get to the core of this and see what Mushnicks problem/error is. On December 10th of 2004, Mushnick wrote this:

“Now that both President Bush and Sen. John McCain have grown angry-loud on steroids, vis-a-vis MLB’s scandal, perhaps they should also throw some focus on their own ranks.

For starters, subpoena Calif. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger; get his sworn testimony as to how much his admitted steroid use fueled his fame and fortune, the kind that could parlay muscle-man championships into movie stardom, then his election as Governor.

Then bring in former President Bush and ask him how he could have appointed Schwarzenegger, of all people, to head the President’s Council on Physical Fitness.

Then subpoena ex-Gov. of Minnesota, Jesse Ventura, another admitted user, for his testimony as to how his steroid use, as a pro wrestler, enabled the fame and fortune that allowed him to become Governor.

Then subpoena someone from the State Department and ask him/her how the WWE is annually provided clearance to travel abroad to entertain our troops. Steroid use is — and has been for years — a sotto voce prerequisite for pro wrestlers. WWE boss Vince McMahon is an admitted past steroid user.

And why, if, as Bush and McCain claim, steroid use among ball players is a health issue as much as it is an integrity and legal issue, is the health of pro wrestlers, scores of whom have dropped dead over the last 25 years, less important than the health of baseball players?”

Now in The Crucifix on December 20th I wrote, angrily about Mushnick in response to that:

“How does someone who looks and writes like a three-toed sloth get away with bullshit like this? Look at his picture in the NY Post…one main reason he is coming out against steroids is this: HE WISHES HE WAS ON THEM. Now he has come out against Vince and WWE time and time again over the years, likely because he wasn’t loved as a child or he got pissed off when Pedro Morales won the title. I don’t know.

Oh and Phil… WRESTLERS HAVE DROPPED DEAD OVER THE YEARS FROM THINGS OTHER THAN STEROIDS! SUCH AS BEING OVERWEIGHT! YA SCARED, LOOKING DOWN, WONDERING IF YOU’LL EVER BE ABLE TO SEE YOUR SHOES AGAIN, LET ALONE LIVE ANOTHER 10 YEARS? DON’T GIVE ME THIS SHIT THAT WRESTLERS DIE ALL THE TIME FROM STEROID USE. CURT HENNIG = COCAINE…YOKOZUNA = OBESITY…MISS ELIZABETH = SEDATIVES AND ALCOHOL…WANT ME TO CONTINUE? IT’S JACKASSES LIKE YOU WHO SPOUT OUT ALL THIS SHIT ABOUT EVERY WRESTLER DYING DUE TO STEROIDS WHEN IN REALITY IT’S NOT. DAVEY BOY SMITH DIED FROM IT. DYNAMITE KID IS IN A WHEELCHAIR FROM IT. HOWEVER, A WRESTLER IS MORE LIKELY TO DIE FROM AN OVERDOSE OF PAINKILLERS THAN STEROIDS. MAYBE YOU SHOULD TAKE SOME PAINKILLERS TO HELP YOUR ACHING THUMB, WHAT WITH YOU HITTING THE REMOTE SO MUCH. YOU PROBABLY BELIEVE KEN CAMINITI DIED FROM STEROIDS…YOU JACKASS. GET ON A TREADMILL. Sorry for all the bold folks…but I’m RANTING !

Little correlation here…what in the bloody hell does the WWE going to entertain our troops have to do with steroids? Answer: NOTHING. But, by golly, according to Phil we should be subpoenaing the State Department to ask them why the WWE, with its crazy muscle men, is allowed to go overseas to entertain our troops. Mushnick, I’m willing to bet, wouldn’t go overseas to see our troops if the very souls of his family members depended on it. But Vinnie Mac and his “steroid users” go overseas and we should find out why? Piss off Mushnick. Like you’ve sat there and told any WWE guy “Here, pee in this cup.” You generalize due to a trial that took place a decade ago. Don’t tell me anything about talking to Gov. Arnold. He admitted it ass clown, so let it go. You want to start a revolution? Kick Bonds and Giambi out of baseball. But you, Mr. Mushnick, would never come up with such a thing. NO NO NO says fatty Phil. Instead of attacking the people currently in the news for steroids, you attack past admitted users. Probably because you can’t get the grease from the chicken wing off of your fingers in time to change the channel and actually do your job, which is pretty much nothing. “Talk to Jesse Ventura” you say, instead of “Talk to Jason Giambi.” “Call up ex-President Bush” you admonish, instead of “Hey Barry, why has your head gotten 1,000 times bigger in 4 years?”

End of the day, Phil Mushnick is a jackass with a pen. Never loved enough as a boy and with man boobs as an adult, he’ll always find a reason to try to pick on people that are better than him. He looks at a guy like Triple H or Chris Benoit and wishes he could have that body. In the end, he takes the 55 gallon drum of Coke from McDonalds because it’s only three cents more. He even finds the time to chastise things like the Michael Kay Show on 1050 ESPN Radio, which houses three of the best hours of radio every day. Kay, Joey Salvia and Don LaGrecca put on a hell of a show but Mushnick won’t allow himself to hear it. It is probably due to the fact that his man-boobs have penetrated his eardrum, so he just makes shit up. Sorry folks, but I have no respect for a human being getting paid to carry a remote control. Get a job, hippy.”

I have grown and matured since then, so I’m taking a different approach this time, regardless if my above stated response holds true. Come on a journey with me…

Remember way back when WWE sucked? No, not last week. When Vince McMahon was on trial for steroids? Now many of you know that the government tried to go after McMahon for a sex scandal involving Mel Phillips, who was a ring announcer for them. Apparently Mel has a fondness for little boys, which led him to Tom Cole. In an interview given to Chris Yandek, which can be found here, Tom gives the lowdown on how everything came about. Interestingly enough, Phil Mushnick happened to be involved. Not in the sexual part, but with breaking the story, which was one of the biggest media stories in the 90s…

You got a lot of media attention with interviews with Tom Brokaw, Geraldo Rivera and many other media outlets. Could you summarize what the media attention was like and how it hurt the WWF at the time?
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“Well, when I came forward in 1991 I spoke to Phil Mushnick of the New York Post for about a year and gave him an interview, and I guess when you bring up allegations such as any type of sexual abuse and things like that against a big company like the WWF, the media outlets have to be careful what they do and don’t print because you could be sued. The real more respectable media checks these kinda things, and speaking of Phil Mushnick I sent him wrestling tickets, hotel stubs, receipts, plane tickets of where I went with the WWF when I was 15 or 16 years old so there was no way to dismiss the fact of what I was saying was truthful. When I was 15 and 16 years old I would go with them from Madison Square Garden to Nausea Coliseum to Boston to Baltimore to Philadelphia so you know, sometimes to Washington, D.C. to do shows with them at 15 and 16 years old. There is no way the WWF could say that I wasn’t working with them you know and there is no way around that, and I did work with the WWF so that is what Phil Mushnick did and it took him a whole year to put it all together and once he ran with it every media outlet ran with it. The gauntlet of wrestling talk shows like Maury Povich and all those guys called and wanted interviews and stuff like that. I hired a lawyer and the WWF got a hold of it, and they pretty much came after me to see what happened with me.”

So Phil Mushnick spent a year of his life putting together a story to bring Vince McMahon down. Now many people could have looked at the WWF back in the 1980’s and figured out that people were on steroids. It doesn’t take a genius. But THIS, this was sexual abuse that Vince McMahon knew about and let slide. Aside from the fact that Mel Phillips played with little boy’s feet and it was apparently an open secret that Mel liked little boys, you have to question whether McMahon knew about it. Regardless, Mushnick had a big story that garnered national attention and indirectly led to the indictment of Vince McMahon, so you think he’d be happy right? Nope, because there is more to this little story. From the interview:

During your lawsuit against the WWF you had people following you and private investigators at your house, and you had to go against the Brooklyn Federal Grand Jury and they wanted you to share every little detail of what was going on.
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“I was reading an article the other day online and it did bring a lot of bad memories back. After I had been fired in the summer of 1993 after my initial settlement with the WWF and Linda McMahon and Vince McMahon, they basically prior to me being dismissed in 1993 I went back with them and stuff like federal investigations were still going on. I met with the Brooklyn Grand Jury about two or three times and each time besides being spoken to by federal agents, the WWF and their lawyer Jerry Mcdevit would ask me to shoot information by the federal jury, and they were probing names of people they wanted to speak to at the time. I didn’t understand why they were asking me this information so I did share information with the WWF several times. I think later though it got to the point where I would pick up a paper and read that the WWF was suing the New York post for 50 million dollars. I went to Linda McMahon and asked why you were suing Phil and the post, and she said well we have to do what we can to save our company. I said to them that Phil is a very honorable man and I am not gonna let you crucify him. I then told them from there that I am not gonna share anymore information with them about what the government is telling me as I just want a normal life in the WWF, and I surely don’t want to be asked every detail of what is going on in my life. Things from there just totally spoiled between me and the WWF, and for instance Vince McMahon and Linda McMahon would not take my phone calls anymore, I wasn’t allowed in the back if I was not working that night’s event. I was told not to go to Madison Square Garden anymore and many of these things are unheard of if you’re in wrestling. They blackballed me out of the company because they knew they couldn’t get anymore information out of me.

So WWE, in retaliation and to give the impression to the public that they were wronged, enter into litigation with Mushnick and The Post. More from the interview:

The WWF sued the New York Post on a story they did on you and later dropped the lawsuit and you had to do a deposition and you were the key witness.
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“When the WWF sued the New York Post I told them I would help Phil Mushnick in anyway I can. I was given a subpoena to appear while Phil Mushnick was being deposed by Jerry McDibit the WWF attorney at the time, he still today is the attorney for the WWF. He had me go down there where they were doing the deposition at the law office of the New York Post. He deposed Phil for about five days, and then Jerry Mcdevit and the New York Post lawyer told me that my deposition would take anywhere from five days to two weeks. They asked me questions for an hour that afternoon, and after that I never heard from them again, and they dropped the case against the New York Post. I would like to believe they didn’t go on with that suit because they knew if they sued the New York Post they would have to put me on the stands and everything that happened would come out about me and the WWF. I almost bet my life Jerry Mcdevit went back to Vince and Linda, and I bet he said hey we can’t have this Tom Cole up on the stands and you probably would be better dropping this suit because if we put him on the stand and he says everything we buried it will come to the surface so let it stay the way it is. If I learned anything from being back there in the WWF that is what pretty much happened.”

Now it is entirely possible that the WWF dropped the case to avoid Cole taking the stand. However, it is also entirely possible that WWF dropped the case because the case being filed in the first place generated enough attention to make people think that the WWF was fighting back because what was said wasn’t the truth. That perception makes people think that The Posts report, more importantly Phil Mushnicks 1 year journey, was utter bull and the WWF would see to it that the world knew that. Let me explain…

Here is the thing about lawsuits: What the public believes is which story gets out first. Here is the ultimate example: The Post reports the sex story. The public goes “WWF BAD!” WWF sues for 50 million dollars; the public goes “The Post lies!” In the end, the WWF drops the case quietly, with only The Post acknowledging that it is dropped. The Posts circulation at that time was horrible, so many in the public never knew the case was dropped and went on their final assumption, which was that The Post was full of shit. Most high profile legal cases are fought more in the media than in the courts, it’s the truth.

So how does this all correlate? Simple. Phil Mushnick despises pro wrestling for whatever reason. That reason may have more to do with his career than anything else. He spent a year putting a story together that would a) garner national attention due to the WWFs popularity and b) boost his career in the process. But it didn’t work out as he wanted.

Over a decade later, Phil Mushnick still works for The Post. His sex scandal story wasn’t good enough for the federal government. The WWF got the perception out that they were innocent. Vince McMahon was acquitted of steroids due to the government’s woefully inadequate case. The WWF reached new heights in the late 90s and went public.

Here is the end game of it all: Vince McMahon won and that is not acceptable to Phil Mushnick. He put everything he had behind this story and it didn’t do anything for him. Vince McMahon won. Phil Mushnick is bitter and has no outlet other than his column. Vince McMahon won.

So he comes out with some more drivel on Sunday about WWE doing beheadings. Which isn’t true. They never did any beheadings, unless Muhammed Hassan’s camel clutch was powerful enough to rip someone’s head off. If that was true, then WWE should hire Scott Steiner again because he could probably make his opponent’s entire body explode with that “dangerous” maneuver. He also falls back on the wrestlers that have died due to steroid abuse and drugs.

Well, let’s go back to my May 2nd column for our patented list:

Art Barr, Louie Spicolli, Bobby Duncum Jr., Miss Elizabeth and Anthony Durante died from drug overdoses. Now lets be generous and say half of the heart attacks on that list are from steroids… that gives us 12 people who have died out of 44. The average age is roughly 38 years old. Influencing that number is a 22 year old that died of cancer, which was not wrestling related.

Now, clinically speaking, risk for heart attack in men increases linearly after the age of 35. One could make the correlation that a person who exerts himself more after the age of 35 as compared to a person that works in an office would be more at risk. Athletes in general are always at a higher risk due to the fact that they push themselves farther than say, oh, Phil Mushnick.

This is not to say that wrestlers are saints, because we all know that drugs run rampant in the wrestling industry. By the way, the NFL is going to suspend Travis Henry for four games for substance abuse. Oh also, Rafael Palmeiro’s season with the Baltimore Orioles is over after he told a panel that his teammate Miguel Tejada gave him a legal vitamin that might have caused his positive steroid test, which came out 5 months after he was quoted under oath before Congress as saying “I have never taken steroids ever. Period.”

Folks, everything is there in black and white. Phil Mushnick is a bitter human being who wants you to read his shade of gray.

Adios and have a good week.