In 1989, Downey’s producers invited several pro wrestlers to answer the criticisms of Jim Wilson, a former NFL lineman and NWA wrestler, who’d made a name for himself in the ’80s by appearing on newsmagazines, blowing the lid off of the shadier side of the wrestling business. In the ’80s, the wrestling community was still fiercely committed to the principle of “kayfabe”—never breaking character when the cameras are rolling—so naturally, Downey’s guests hooted and hollered, and threw water at Wilson, threatening to kick his ass if he kept spreading his “lies” and “sour grapes.” And Downey didn’t try to constrain them, either. Instead, he played the part of instigator, trying to goad Wilson into agreeing to wrestle his angriest critic: David “Dr. D” Schultz, who’d become famous himself a couple of years earlier for slapping 20/20’s John Stossel on-camera. Wilson, meanwhile, just took the abuse, having been in this world long enough to know that if he calmly made his points during the few seconds he got to talk, then maybe someone on the other side of the camera would listen. He certainly wasn’t going to sway anybody in the studio, which was packed with wrestlers, wrestling fans, and Downey fans, all more than eager to work themselves up into a lather over nothing, if that’s what they were called on to do.
Created 1 year, 6 months ago.
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