Got a wrestling fan in your house?
With Monday Night Raw broadcasting its landmark 800th show from the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa tonight, little boys all over the area are gearing up for a late night of grown men wrestling in a steel cage. You can see it on TV on the USA Network starting at 8 p.m.
Wrestling puts parents like me in a tough position because the smack talk, fighting and, in recent years, sexualized images of the female wrestlers really turned me off. Yet the audience for this stuff seems to be highest among the 8 to 12 year old boys who find it funny, not admirable.
You can read my interview here with one of the biggest stars in the WWE, fellow Tampa Bay resident Chris Jericho. He assured me that the brand is changing and defied me to find a time in the last year where there were sexual images, swearing or blood. "The WWE always mutates with what evolves and society, now its more of a kid friendly product," he assures. Since I haven't watched the show closely in the last year, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt on that. The show still seems mighty edgy for kids.
But Jericho, who I found extremely funny to talk to and well versed on a lot of subjects, also had another point worth noting. As a parent of young kids himself, he polices what they watch and while he may let watch some of the shows, he plans to edit out any content he doesn't like. He has the advantage of knowing what's coming next to hit the fast forward button. We civilians would have watch this stuff ourselves and then edit it for the kids.
Here's an excerpt from that interview:
TIMES: Is it true you took the stage name Chris Jericho because of your Christian faith?
JERICHO: It's one of the reasons but there was German heavy metal band Helloween (Walls of Jericho) that I liked. I actually considered the stage name Jack Action.
That sounds like a porn name!
I know, good choice huh? You could be talking to Jack Action right now.
You have young kids, are they are wrestling fans?
I have a 5 year old son and 2 year old twin daughters
He's more interested in sharks and the girls are too young. His cousins are 10 and 8 and they are huge fans. That seems to be the age group,
There's been criticism over for years that wrestling is a bad thing to let kids watch, that it's too violent and now in recent years it's gotten much more sexualized with the Bimbo Brawl and crotch shots of the female wrestlers. Doesn't that conflict with your personal beliefs or bother you as a parent?
It's one of those things where you are in charge of what kids watch and don't watch. There's certain elements that I won't let them watch. Plus, nowadays it's very PG-13, especially with John Cena and other guys are kind of heroes to kids. The WWE always mutates with what evolves and society, now its more of a kid friendly product. If you'll notice in the last year you won't hear swear words, you won't see any blood.
What about what they do with the female wrestlers?
I guarantee that did not happen in the last year, it's been a very specific attitude.
Would you let your daughters watch it?
Not right now, but at 8 or 9 I would let them with limits. I also wouldn't let them watch a Terminator movie either or Indiana Jones without editing out the parts I don't want them to see. That's my job as a parent. I should monitor and police their viewing as best I can.
--Sharon Kennedy Wynne
Photo credit: WWE
Tampa's ChrisJericho performs a signature move