Feature: Steve Anderson on Wrestlers Rescue


â<80><9c>We all complain about it, we all say, oh, man, we don’t have any healthcare, we don’t have any pensions, we watched our heroes and the people we looked up to our whole life wind up broke or injured or dead, and it hurts us, we always complain about it. But there’s a difference between complaining and doing something about it.â<80> — Dawn Marie

I remember meeting Dawn Marie a few times during ECWâ<80><99>s heyday. She struck me as perhaps the sweetest â<80><9c>divaâ<80> youâ<80><99>ll ever meet. Always ready with a smile on her face and a kiss on your cheek. If you are a wrestling fan in or around Piscataway, New Jersey on Sunday, September 14th, attend the Wrestlers Rescue fundraiser. Being in Minnesota, I wonâ<80><99>t be able to make it, but I will be there in spirit.

Passion is a word that is thrown around a great deal in the wrestling business. Dawn Marie has passion and it is directed at those older wrestlers who can no longer provide for themselves. Wrestling was their passion. It was all they knew. It was all they did. Now, they canâ<80><99>t. Fans gave them their cheers, boos and other reactions. Now, they need our help in a different way.

I always encourage fans to attend independent wrestling shows. They are far away from the bright spotlights of WWE and TNA, but remain the lifeblood of this business. Those wrestlers are the foundation and future main-eventers. It also provides an opportunity for those who are no longer under that bright spotlight to earn a few more bucks in an industry they love.

Cheers are cheers and boos are boos, no matter if youâ<80><99>re wrestling in Madison Square Garden or the local Armory. It brings certain members of the older generation of wrestlers to life and puts a sparkle in their eyes. Yet, to see them is sometimes heartbreaking. Yes, you are rubbing shoulders with a hero or villain of the past, but their physical condition will surprise you. Years of banging and bumping in the ring has taken its toll.

They have difficulty ambling to the ring and maneuvering through the ropes to cut a promo. They sit, many times in solitude, at a ringside â<80><9c>gimmick table,â<80> selling pictures, tapes, and other remnants of a bygone career. Younger fans fail to recognize them. Older fans may be few and far between at any particular indy show.

You can see it in their eyes. They once wrestled for big money on high-profile pay-per-views. They held championship gold. They flew first class. They stayed in nice hotels. They were taken care of. Now, they handle their own luggage and forced to change with everyone else in a makeshift locker room.

They are just trying to make the best of things.

Their mission is twofold, which divides that long-held passion. Stay in the spotlight they long for and make some much-needed money.

Not all older wrestlers are in this predicament. Some took care of their money and put it away for the future. Others chose not to. You can chalk it up to bad investments, scam artists or any other nefarious act out of their control. And, yes, you can chalk it up to financial responsibility. But when you are riding the gravy train, you never think its going to end. The money machine seems endless. Now, they are on the outs, with no money, no industry job prospects, and no healthcare.

Lord knows I can be as cynical as the next guy, but I believe we should help wrestling veterans in whatever way we can. They gave their blood, sweat, tears, and bodies to entertain us. The least we can do is give a little back. If youâ<80><99>re in the area, run, donâ<80><99>t walk, as the wrestling announcers used to say.

Or at least plunk down some money at their gimmick table next time theyâ<80><99>re in town.

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