Fresh Linen Scent: The Clean Sheet Volume 1, Issue 3

Fresh Linen Scent: The Clean Sheet Volume 1, Issue 3 by @olskoololfool

Welcome to the wrestling “newsletter” with #NoDirtHere: only fun, “what-ifs?” and positives...The Clean Sheet!  A rotating series of mini-features here will highlight all sorts of things in the world of pro wrestling: people making change in the sport, charity and fund-raising efforts, trail blazers of the present, a bit of fantasy-booking, my personal fan experience and much more!   So breathe deeply, relax and inhale the wonderful scent of fresh linen: The Clean Sheet.

The Soapbox

Every once in a while and hopefully not real often, you will see an appearance of The Soapbox. Like all of us, sometimes I gotta get things out there and off my chest, so this will be that space in the Clean Sheet.

There is a couple of different things I wanted to share here.  One is a bit about the origin, vision and mission of this “newsletter”, the other, a bit of brain spew after a moment of reflection.

The goal of the Clean Sheet is to highlight all the good in pro wrestling: charitable works, positive change and positive growth of the pro wrestling world as a whole.  It was inspired by another website honestly and I’m not going to call them out.  I actually planned on pitching this idea to said website…and my inquiry got left “on read”.  The second person I made inquiry to was Bob, scared that the idea wouldn’t be on-brand for this site.  Turns out I had no reason to be scared and my concept was welcomed with open arms.  With a bit of hindsight, I’m now 100% sure the Clean Sheet ended up where it was supposed to be all along.

While this year has been horrible in the world and in the world of pro wrestling, I hope my corner of the internet here on bumwinebob.com can be a push pin, piercing black construction paper.  Every time the pin comes out, a little light comes through.  Every issue puts the pin in a few more times and hopefully, one day, only light remains.

To close up and step off The Soapbox, a quick Twitter rant I went on after my mind had been opened up to what pro wrestling could look like and could be. This was posted the night of September 9th:

“I gotta get this out before I crash for the night.  If there is anything I have learned being a pro wrestling fan over the last few weeks it's this:

Think. Outside. The. Box.

After seeing Wrestlers Lab on Twitch, Drags and Dropkicks tonight, AIW & GCW over the weekend...this has been hammered home. Give a diverse cast a stage. Present new concepts. Highlight charities and causes. Make wrestling a better place.

Think. Outside. The. Box.

Make a brand. Control it. Shape it in an image you wanna see in this world. Work within the confines of this messed up rock hurtling thru space, but damnit...

Think. Outside. The. Box.

I'll try to do the same and keep my mind wide freaking open for all of it.”

Good Hands: The Big Ones Edition!

Although much of the wrestling coverage on this site covers the independent companies, I would be untrue to my mission of highlighting the good if I didn’t occasionally mention what WWE & AEW are up to.  For this edition of Good Hands, we will focus on the charitable efforts of the two biggest wrestling companies in North America at the present.

WWE

There is a giant list of organizations that are supported by or have partnerships with WWE.  For most, Make-A-Wish Foundation is probably the first that comes to mind.  John Cena is the all-time celebrity record-holder for wishes granted with over 650 as of May 2020.  Countless others on the rosters have made wishes come true as well.  The WWE has been partnered with them for the past 30 years.

In September & October of every year, Connor’s Cure & the Susan G. Komen Foundation are featured prominently on their programs.  Connor’s Cure was established by HHH & Stephanie McMahon in 2014 as a non-profit focused on pediatric cancer research & treatment. Connor’s Cure is now partnered with the V Foundation as well.  The Susan G. Komen Foundation focuses on breast cancer research & treatment.  Special items for sale, auctions and more go on during these months for both organizations.

The Tribute to the Troops show is always a yearly highlight, supporting and showing appreciation for the Armed Forces of the U.S.  Shows have been held in Iraq, Afghanistan and stateside.  The event was held but did not air on television in 2019.  No plans for a 2020 show have been announced as of yet, understandably so due to COVID-19.

The WWE also partners with Special Olympics, Boys & Girls Club, Starlight Children's Foundation, Be a STAR, GLAAD, NSPCC, Beyond Sport, Ad Council, Girl Up, UNICEF, Concussion Legacy Foundation, American Red Cross, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Hire Heroes, Soldier Strong, USO Washington/DC-Baltimore and Americares.

AEW

Early on after AEW’s inception, the Fight for the Fallen annual event was established.  In 2019, it raised funds and awareness for Jacksonville’s Victim Assistance Advisory Council. The organization "coordinates cooperative efforts among social service, criminal justice, mental health and other agencies to provide assistance to crime victims and their families”.  In this year’s edition, the focus was on Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund and Feeding Northeast Florida, both of which provide a range of health and well-being services for those struggling during this time of COVID-19. There was a $1 Million donation from the Khan family, benefit t-shirt sales and a donation drive during the show which was held on Dynamite.

AEW also partnered with Kulture City early on.  AEW’s live events are Sensory Inclusive Certified (tm), with sensory toolkit bags available for checkout at the merchandise stands. At PPV events trained staff and sensory break rooms are also there for those who have need for them.  AEW have also run benefit t-shirt sales to raise funds for this organization as well.

My First…Barbed Wire Match

A Six-Man Tag Team Barbed Wire Cage match: The Fantastics (Bobby Fulton & Tommy Rogers) & Terry Taylor defeat The Sheepherders (Butch Miller & Luke Williams) & Jack Victory.  Taped for UWF TV on May 25, 1986.  Aired June 7, 1986.

A roughly 10-foot high wooden frame surrounded the ring that night in Tulsa, OK, and it was adorned with barbed wire strung horizontally all the way around it at roughly 8-inch intervals.  Why was such a contraption needed?  The Fantastics and Sheepherders feuded through much of 1986 in Bill Watts' UWF, a rivalry that kicked off when Luke & Butch lost the titles to Tommy & Bobby at the end of March.  Just three short weeks later, a double DQ between the teams threw their chances at the Crockett Cup out the window.  Other contests often ended in double count-outs or more double-DQ’s.

The time to up the stakes had come, the standard rules were not going to cut it anymore.

I first laid eyes on this match when I was 12 years old on a Saturday night.  An independent TV station out of Milwaukee would show Word Class Championship Wrestling and UWF back-to-back late, believe that block started at 10 PM. I had seen many a bloody brawl before and plenty of steel cage matches but this was a different animal, a brand-new level.  In the 6 ½ minutes that aired I was treated to close-ups of faces getting poked by the barbs, the wood frame wobbling about rather uncomfortably and precious little wrestling. On a recent re-watch, I counted four whole wrestling moves in the entire segment.  It was a vicious fight, plain and simple.  Each of the 6 men were busted open by the end; visceral, visual proof that a war had just indeed occurred.

For better or worse, depending on one’s perception, I believe this match opened me up to be more receptive to extra violence, ultraviolence, deathmatches and beyond.  At a much more basic level, it taught me that wrestling can be quite a few different things.

If you have events/fundraisers that you would like to see highlighted in the Good Hands section or are an athlete/company/promotion who would like to take on the Forward Five Interview, please reach out to us at either @olskoololfool on Twitter or by e-mail, olskoololfool@gmail.com

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