AS I SEE IT 6/11: Life’s horrors, and the passion to fight them…

Jun 11, 2018 - by Bob Magee

Bob Magee
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets


It tells you something about the state of the world right now, after the news of the last two Fridays…with the murder-suicide involving Chuck (Rockin Rebel) Williams of his wife Stephanie Burtnett…and the news that (despite earlier reports), it was reported that it was the ten year old son who found them…then took the gun out of his father’s hand and put it aside “so no one else would get hurt”….that it wasn’t the last moment I’d see like that. More on this tragedy in a second.


If that wasn’t heartbreaking enough, then came the news this past week about Anthony Bourdain. A brilliant, irreverent, snarky New Yorker some called the Rock N Roll Chef….yet someone determined to see that the forgotten and those he saw as oppressed (ranging from Palestinians to undocumented workers from Mexico and Central America, especially in the restaurant industry) weren’t forgotten. Two of the most beautiful tributes came from one of the most known faces on the planet, then an anonymous tweeter:


First, President Obama tweeted:

“Low plastic stool, cheap but delicious noodles, cold Hanoi beer.” This is how I’ll remember Tony. He taught us about food — but more importantly, about its ability to bring us together. To make us a little less afraid of the unknown. We’ll miss him.”


Then, Alison F, one largely anonymous woman on Twitter, tweeted the following:

“Anthony Bourdain had one of the only shows on tv that tried with all its might to teach Americans not to be scared of other people.”


So, in an irony worthy of Alanis Morrisette on a bad acid trip, what helped to get me out of the sadness about those very tragic events? CZW’s Tournament of Death 17.


Why? I’m not going to recite the match results. I have them posted on my PWBTS site, Gerweck, and elsewhere on social media. Those in and of themselves weren’t even the reason it was so needed an experience this weekend. But the day was an over-the-top, wild, balls to the wall experience as TOD typically is, with pre-show and post-shows at a local sports bar called Ollie Gators…and the tailgate at TOD…which could be said to be tailgating as an Olympic sport. Profane, raunchy, over-indulgent…in other words, good tailgating. Plus some of the psychoviolence which you can see posted all over social media.


Then, there were the two great stories consisting of both real-life and wrestling all at once.


First, longtime death match veteran “Mr. Insanity” Toby Klein, who came out in an old CZW Cult Fiction t-shirt, the faction he’d been programmed with when last in CZW years ago. He used his match at TOD as a legitimate retirement match. He brought his wife and child into the ring, and the entire locker room emptied around ringside. Klein talked about his injuries and “what he did to his body” (drugs and alcohol). He proudly talked about being 5 years clean and sober, and is currently working professionally as a Drug and Alcohol Counselor. He gave a shout out to his best friend, the late Marvin “Brain Damage” Lambert. His story is a real life story of redemption, of real life survival…and moving on to a better day to help others. Despite his darkness, he had a still burning passion and did something to make his life better.


Then, there was the story of the TOD winner, Jimmy Lloyd. His story sounds like a wrestling storyline, but is very real. Lloyd grew up watching CZW at the ECW (2300) Arena, and all the promotion’s earlier venues. Lloyd loved hardcore wrestling, and worked like hell to get taken seriously over the last three years. He had the passion and DID SOMETHING.


Lloyd worked and worked and worked…to the point he had nearly 90 matches last year, with CZW at Dojo Wars shows, GCW, Hardcore Hustle Organization, On Point Wrestling, Rockstar Pro Wrestling, IWA Mid-South….all the way down to DTU in Mexico…anyone who’d let him work, sometimes for a paycheck, other times for a hot dog and a handshake. In the end, the live crowd got the story and loved it.


So, what’s the common thread in all this?


It’s passion…passion in all its forms, whether it’s the passion of someone who defended the rights of the forgotten…the passion that makes men and women do insane things to their bodies to perform in front of a crowd….the passion that makes someone overcome addictions, and turn to helping others who’ve had the same addictions, and for one last time, give one last performance of his other passion.


And it’s the kind of passion we have to have in our own lives…by turning our own passion into helping others….being kinder to each other in a world that often seems so harsh and unforgiving.


At the beginning, I mentioned Stephanie Burtnett, and the two children that have been left behind by the murder-suicide of 10 days ago. To celebrate her life…and to insure children are given security and care, friends and family are celebrating her life on June 23 during a Community Memorial Fundraiser. It’s open to the community and will include a silent auction, raffles, food, family games, and much more. It will be held on Saturday, June 23 between (12 noon-6:00 pm) at the Goshen Fire Company, Station 54 1320 Park Avenue, West Chester, PA . Proceeds will go directly to the Maddison and Colton Care Fund, set up for the children through the Girl Scouts Turks Head Service Unit and Fern Hill Elementary Cub Scout Pack 21, managed by TD Bank. The fund will help assist the children with college tuition and the other aspects of real life.


If you don’t live in the area, you can contribute to the family’s Go Fund Me at this link . Even if the goal for funds has been reached…there will always been the need for more to help them get though what has happened.


If you can’t help with those children, find someone you can help in your own life. If you have friends, family, co-workers who you think even might be having issues…LISTEN. Talk to them. Talk to a person who is down. No one thought Anthony Bourdain would commit suicide. When that person is down, and then they tell you “they’re OK”, know better. Take a walk with them. Buy them a beer or a sandwich. DO SOMETHING.


If you know or suspect someone in an abusive relationship, give them the offer of your help…even if it isn’t easy. As I said last week, understand that anyone who is a victim of domestic violence may feel the need to minimize the situation, even to engage in denial to the public, and show the reality they had hoped for. They do it for themselves. They do it for their children. They do it for their loved ones not aware of reality, or to minimize how bad things are. Find a local domestic violence agency that provides counseling or support groups. Call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) to get a referral to one of these programs near them, Offer to go with them. Again, try to DO SOMETHING.


This was about horror, about passion and caring as the only alternatives we have to strike out against it. I hope it inspires you to do something… to be the candle in someone else’s darkness.


Until next time….

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