Only In America . . . TM

Copyright 2002 Frank G. Van Atta. All rights reserved.


The International Olympic Committee today approved a measure which w ould include professional wrestling as an official sport in the next games. Citing the four-year-old "Alligator Rule," I.O.C. Chairman Mike Muscole said, "Professional wrestling has improved considerably in the last several years, and today's wrestlers are definitely world-class athletes. It is my feeling that the addition of this sport to the games will be good for both professional wrestling and the international sports fraternity as a whole."

The "Alligator Rule" referred to by Mr. Muscole is an offshoot of a rule adopted by all professional wrestling organizations six years ago requiring that matches be held in a ring surrounded by a moat full of alligators. The rule was initially enacted as a publicity stunt because of decreasing gate receipts, but it was such a hit with the fans that it was soon adopted on a permanent basis.

Unfortunately the novelty wore off much sooner than expected. In les s than two years attendance was down below "pre-moat" levels, and promoters were faced with the need to come up with a better gimmick. Given the wrestling community's propensity for the bizarre, this was no easy task. Nonetheless, they managed to come up with a sure-fire method of getting the fans back: they adopted a rule requiring that the loser of each match be fed to the alligators in the moat.

The wrestlers were initially against the rule, but it was enthusiast ically supported by the fans, and wrestling arenas across the country were soon sold out far in advance. There was a half-hearted wrestler's strike, but it ended quickly when the now-bloodthirsty fans threw those walking picket lines into the moats.

"At first I thought it was time to start looking for some other line of work that was a little safer," George "Godzilla" Alonzo, the more cerebral half of the wrestling team known as The Aliens told us. "But then I started thinking about how much money I could make, and I decided I would take my chances with the alligators. Besides, once you've been in the ring with the likes of The Meat Eaters, Terrible Twosome, or Really Giant George, how tough can a bunch of overgrown lizards be?" Like Godzilla, thousands of other professional wrestlers eventually came to accept the rule as just one more condition of employment-and the fact that the job pays an average of $218,000 per year certainly doesn't hurt any.

The effect of the Alligator Rule has been twofold: the quality of pr ofessional wrestling been upgraded considerably, and the alligator is no longer on the endangered species list. Indeed, alligator handbags, shoes, and belts are rapidly coming back in vogue, and sales are brisk across the country.

Hugo the Dwarf, one of the more successful managers in professional wrestling, said that he lost several wrestlers the first few months the new rule was in effect. "It didn't really matter that much, though," he told reporters. "The ones I lost were marginal anyway, so it forced me to upgrade my stable-which will make more money for me in the long run. The only part of the rule I don't like is the paragraph that says any manager caught asking one of his wrestlers to lose a match will get fed to the alligators himself. That does seem a little excessive."

Mr. Dwarf's objection may also be shared by the alligators: of the s even managers thrown into the moat thus far, five were spit back out.

Copyright 2002 Frank G. Van Atta. All rights reserved.