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CALDWELL'S TAKE

CALDWELL: The real story on Eugene (Nick Dinsmore) is not questionable TV content, but Dinsmore himself

Feb 12, 2010 - 11:56:42 AM


Staff08Caldwell_120c_169.jpg
By James Caldwell, Torch assistant editor

Much has been made lately about the "Eugene" mentally-challenged character that was introduced on WWE TV in April 2004.

Videos have circulated to Connecticut media members interested in former WWE CEO Linda McMahon's Senate race showing classic, fun-for-all-ages WWE video clips such as Eugene being destroyed by Triple H in a steel cage.

Hartford Courant's Rick Green even went to McMahon's Senate campaign HQ looking for answers from McMahon herself.

"There was never any intent of WWE to make fun of anyone who is developmentally challenged in any way," McMahon said. "It was to show how you can rise above your circumstances. He always had this quality of believing he could be anything he wanted to be. It's a soap opera. It's all a matter of taste."

McMahon added: I don't want you to mischaracterize what my judgment is. Eugene was an example of the different kinds of issues that can be addressed in life. Here was a fellow who really believed who he was and there were no obstacles to him. It portrayed an element in life that gave hope and inspiration to others."

Ah, yes, the "subjective analysis" of WWE programming argument. It's a disarming argument that calms the issue and doesn't grab headlines or inspire voters to sway one or the other.

What might sway voters or at least expose a scar WWE has tried to cover is the real story about the real person who played the Eugene character.

Eugene was played by Nick Dinsmore, who was a three-strikes-and-you're-out victim of the Wellness Policy. Dinsmore dealt with prescription painkiller addiction while with WWE.

"I always rationalized it as my back hurts, my knee hurts, I can't go out there and perform in pain, so I have to do something about it," Dinsmore said in a February 2009 interview. Read the story.)

Even more troubling was WWE sending Dinsmore on an international tour in late 2005 just days after the death of his close friend, Eddie Guerrero, whose death rushed along the implementation of the current Wellness Policy.

Torch columnist Bruce Mitchell wrote in December 2005 about Dinsmore's pain pill addiction escalating at the time and WWE using him as an example weeks after Guerrero's death.

Nick Dinsmore, who considered Eddie Guerrero a close friend and mentor ever since he recommended him for a spot on the main roster, was not allowed to go to the funeral. Instead, he was forced to make the immediate, arduous trip to England, where he was expected to act out his on camera mentally impaired always happy Eugene character anytime he was seen in public. He made it less than a week, then passed out in a hotel lobby from an overdose of Soma pain pills. He was immediately suspended and sent to rehab. Because of PR considerations in the wake of Guerrero's death, Dinsmore's condition and its consequences were immediately made public in a way that had never happened before.

The real stories in Linda McMahon's Connecticut Senate race are not on the surface with TV content, characters, and storylines. Sure, they're part of the dialogue that has to be included because WWE's TV programming reaches impressionable children who still point to their crotches and yell "suck it!" on school buses (just ask my wife, who teaches Pre-K), but the real stories are below the surface.

Dinsmore's story is not the "Eugene" character, but the prescription pain pills, following "the show must go on" mentality following yet another wrestler death that is still prevalent in today's wrestling industry, and pushing his body when it never should have been pushed.

McMahon has yet to account for the real story on a former WWE star after easily talking down the surface-level story.


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