4/29/2015 • By JOANNE YOUNG | LINCOLN JOURNAL STAR
The future of professional wrestling is (somewhat) secure in Nebraska. State senators now have their official Capitol Wrestling Federation names.
Galen “Hammerhead” Hadley, Bill “King Kong” Kintner, “Lawless” Tyson Larson, Heath “Money Bags” Mello, Patty “The Punisher” Pansing Brooks, Ernie “Lion Whisperer” Chambers.
Lincoln Sen. Colby “Captain Chaos” Coash issued the names Wednesday before he introduced a bill (LB291) on the Legislature’s consent calendar. The bill would remove professional wrestling from the jurisdiction of the state athletic commissioner.
During discussion of the bill, Coash apologized to any children in the balconies or the listening audience as he broke this news.
“In case anyone is unaware of this and Captain Chaos is telling you this for the first time, here is the hard truth: Professional wrestling is not a real sport,” Coash said. “It is not a competitive sport. It is no different than a scripted play or musical act that you would see at the Lied Center, Sokol Auditorium or Norfolk Community Center.”
Professional wrestling has more in common with Cirque du Soleil or the Ringling Bros. Circus, he said.
The point of the bill, brought to the Legislature on behalf of the Pinnacle Bank Arena, Omaha’s CenturyLink Center and for professional wrestling fans across the state, is to remove the Athletic Commission’s 5 percent tax on gross revenue on the broadcast fee for live televised events. That’s exclusive of state and federal taxes.
The bill would help ensure live professional wrestling events like WWE Monday Night Raw and Thursday Night Smackdown return to Nebraska, he said. Professional wrestling has a huge fan base in the state, and “incredible market appeal.”
“Captain Chaos has it on good authority that WWE may not send live entertainment events back to Nebraska because of the additional tax placed on ticket sales that goes toward the State Athletic Commission,” he said.
Last year, two professional wrestling events sold out in Omaha and Lincoln, and the WWE had to fork over $60,000 of revenue, he said.
It would be a travesty, Coash said, if new generations of wrestlers the likes of Macho Man Randy Savage, the Ultimate Warrior, Captain Lou Albano and Hulk Hogan never have the opportunity to provide live entertainment to Nebraskans.
As Coash distributed their own list of names he told senators: “Feel free to speak in the third person and refer to colleagues accordingly for the rest of the day — or session.”
The bill advanced on a 42-0 vote.
Reach the writer at 402-473-7228 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @LJSLegislature.