The intended Friday Funny was originally written last week, and I may still bring it to you in the future, if my mean-ass editor allows. However, a recent news story prompted me at the last minute to write something from scratch for this week. I wish I could say this wasn’t a true story. It is, unfortunately, and it’s the real life tale of how a group of potential Darwin Award nominees might get pro wrestling banned in Indiana outright.
About twenty years ago, a guy going by the name of “Ian Rotten” ran a promotion in Kentucky and Indiana called “IWA Mid-south.” Rotten, a former “deathmatch” competitor, ran extremely bloody spectacles that essentially amounted to consensual assault with deadly weapons. Wrestlers would bloody each other with items ranging from staple guns and barbed wire to thumbtacks and fluorescent light tubes.
Police actually investigated whether the violence at IWA Mid-south shows was “scripted” or if people were being severely beaten against their will. Though Rotten would blame “petty local politics” and claim participants were “acting,” Kentucky’s legislature would introduce new laws so restrictive even World Wrestling Entertainment wouldn’t consider running in Kentucky until lawmakers repealed a few regulations in 2016. All this was due to Rotten’s antics in Kentucky, whether he’ll take the blame or not.
Fast forward to the present day and it’s easy to find out what happens when shady pro wrestling promoters get booted from towns for unsafe or unseemly events. Like the carny in a certain mobile phone company commercial says, when something bad happens, you move to the next town. In this case, the town would be New Albany, Indiana, right across the river from Rotten’s old stomping grounds of Louisville, Kentucky.
A company called “Pro Wrestling Trainwreck” ran a show the night of June 23 in New Albany, Indiana. I am not making this up. The show organizer, a guy named “John Glenn” who is the son of Ian Rotten, named this show “Welcome to the Wreck Room.” Again, I am not making any of this up. I was unable to find footage of the specific show, but the following YouTube video should give you a good idea of what this train wreck was like. The video is quite graphic in its violence.
Apparently so much blood spilled during this event that the Floyd County, Indiana Health Department “highly encouraged” anyone who attended the event to get tested immediately for HIV and Hepatitis C. Glenn attempted to ease community fears by telling fans through a Facebook post his wrestlers were regularly tested before performances and that while the show might have scared some people, all his performers were “clean.”
That didn’t stop a number of New Albany residents from demanding stricter regulation on wrestling events, including the father of one injured participant. The City Council recently weighed an ordinance banning “extreme wrestling,” and some community members wouldn’t mind an outright ban on pro wrestling in New Albany altogether.
My mean-ass editor recently said something that sums up this entire New Albany debacle quite nicely:
Bad facts make bad cases, and bad cases make bad law.
I’d add in this situation when a group of jackasses decide to do something stupid, they’re inviting local and state legislatures to make bad laws on subjects about which they know nothing. And that’s how you get more insane legislation that will eventually make it a felony to get a nosebleed as a cut man during a licensed boxing match.
Which I’m sure is a regulation in some state’s boxing and wrestling commission, but that’s a story for another Friday.