Old school wrestlers from back in the territory days, before WWE swallowed up the wrestling universe piece by piece and became a billion dollar publicly held company, will tell stories about fans (mostly in small backwater towns, where the average IQ was slightly above that of a turnip) who would get so angry with heel ("bad guy") wrestlers, that they would try and hurt them in any way they could as said performer tried to return to the dressing room from the ring post-match.
Acts of aggression from fans would include, but certainly not be limited to, punching, scratching, slapping, and yes, stabbing. Yes, in many towns there were fans who took the outcome of a scripted match -- and even more, remarks from a villain wrestler -- so seriously that they would try to literally kill him.
I'd like to think we've advanced as a society, but truth is we probably haven't. At least not in South Africa, it would appear.
WWE is currently on an overseas tour that included a stop on Monday in Cape Town, South Africa. One of the wrestlers featured prominently on the tour is Randy Orton, who is generally speaking among the more popular wrestlers right now in WWE. He's been flipped back and forth so many times, though, from babyface to heel and back again that I kind of forget what his character is right now, I just know he typically gets a big reaction anywhere he wrestles.
Now, I have no idea what American city Cape Town equates to, so it's tough for me to snark on the town as a whole. (Perhaps my droves of South African readers can help me out with that.) At any rate, at least one South African fan was channeling his "old school MId South, bumblefuck Louisiana fan" persona, as he apparently had a big problem with Randy Orton.
Big enough to jump in the ring and try to castrate him with his forearm.
Check it out:
The first question that comes up after something like this (or anything that remotely brushes up against the world of professional wrestling) is "Is this part of the act?" For their part in addressing the issue, wwe.com at the very least is putting forth the appearance of treating this like a real attack, issuing the following statement on their website the day after it transpired:
WWE.com has learned that Randy Orton was violently attacked by an audience member during a SmackDown World Tour Live Event in Cape Town, South Africa, yesterday evening. Footage of the attack was captured by a WWE fan and posted to YouTube, and shows the perpetrator striking Orton from behind. The matter is currently under investigation by the local authorities, and the South African fan is being held in jail pending criminal charges. The extent of Orton's injuries are unknown at this time.
So, for what it's worth, WWE appears to be treating this like it's a rogue fan gone wild. Put it this way -- the involvement of the "local authorities" in a foreign country would probably compel me to wager against Joey McNutshot showing up on Monday Night RAW this week to "explain his actions" or reveal that he's actually Randy Orton's long, lost cousin, Ballcrusher Orton, son of Barry O, and he was getting revenge for losing the potato sack race at the family reunion in 1994!
A few interesting Zapruder notes from the video:
0:14 -- There's the nut shot from the interloper, and the only thing here that makes me think it could be staged is that dude went with the tried and true wrestling "nut shot" method of forearm-to-taint. If he really wanted to make an impact, he'd have buried a full fist into Orton's ball sack like a battering ram knocking down the castle wall in Braveheart. So he's either got really bad aim, a really poor grasp on the male anatomy, or it's a work.
0:25 -- "Ohhhh...I got this on CAM-UH-RAAAHHHH...." Congrats kid! Your first viral video at like age 10. You're on your way! Also, Orton gets a single kick in on the guy's head as authorities escort the intruder to jail. That's a little disappointing. A fan entering a wrestling ring is generally considered "fair game," and I'd have penciled Orton in for at least four or five good licks, although in a foreign country, he probably showed the proper restraint.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
0:42 -- Orton's opponent that night, Big E Langston enters the screen briefly and he's having to be held back by security, presumably from tearing the dude's head from his torso. That's one more very subtle "kayfabe" break that would indicate that this is an actual douche bag fan trying to make himself part of the show, not a WWE "work."
0:54 -- Orton with the double birds at the intruder! "Stone Cold" Steve Austin says "THAT'S GIMMICK INFIRNGEMENT, SON!!"
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 Yahoo! Sports Radio from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and nationally on the Yahoo! Sports Radio network Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon CST. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.