In the "Attitude Era," the now-WWE faced controversy for the sexual and violent natures of their shows. Many thought they had taken care of that with the so-called "PG Era."
However, I saw something that caused me more concern than any middle finger "Stone Cold" Steve Austin flipped with Wade Barrett's treatment of John Cena on the last two episodes of "Monday Night Raw."
Now, I'm not a John Cena fan per se. He's entertaining - don't get me wrong, and I understand the longtime "SuperCena" character has had its place.
But this isn't about him going to Nexus, turning heel, or staying the same. This is about the storyline they are putting him and Barrett into since the "Hell in a Cell" Pay-per-view.
When not on B/R, I spend a lot of time studying the news. Recently, there was the story of the Rutgers student who was bullied into committing suicide.
In Ohio, Mentor High School made news by having its fourth student bullied into suicide in the last two years...in separate instances. And nationally, cases of face-to-face and cyber-bullying are on the rise.
In simple terms, bullying occurs when the victim must put the interests of the bully ahead of his or her own. You don't even have to hit someone to bully them.
It starts when the victim's fear of the bully takes over the wishes and plans he or she has for himself. He loses friends, not wanting to get involved.
It is complete when the victim thinks there is no recourse, no help, no remedy to make it stop.
It's tough to make a connection between the WWE and bullying. After all, it's the one place you're allowed to fight back, no matter how much it's lopsided against you.
In fact, they encourage you to fight back when you're in the ring...a luxury I suppose doesn't happen in many hallways. But like I said earlier, it's when you believe there is no remedy that the bully truly wins.
The current storyline has taken all remedies away from Cena with this "Do what Barrett says, no matter how trivial and/or cruel...or else" thread. Then the "Anonymous GM" adds a subtle "cyber-bully" effect to boot.
In short, it's like the principal emailing the beaten kid, saying "Have his money ready tomorrow or face suspension." Lastly, it showed long-time compatriot R-Truth turning on him.
There is no recourse, no help, and no way to make it stop.
I'm not saying this is going to cause a wave of mass childhood depression. I also know that there are parents who do the right thing and help kids understand it's just a show.
But, as I said before, there's a growing problem of bullying in our country. It happens in some of our schools, with overwhelmed/apathetic and undersized staffs.
Or even worse, it happens in homes by a sibling with a compliant or over-worked parent, if not the parent abusing the kid themselves.
And if the parent is part of it, he (or she) will probably be attracted to violence-based entertainment like pro wrestling with bullied kid in tow.
The WWE would have to be outrageously stupid or ignorant to understand that this happens within their "universe," and that some of the kids who buy these characters do so as possibly the only vicarious escape from the unfair cruelty that is real.
To take the best example of this, Cena, and force him through the same thing in front of them is just classless and irresponsible.
There's a way to turn Cena heel, a way to have him join the Nexus, or a way to have him deal with this, but not this way.
Not this way.