Woo hoo! Psyched today as we are going to venture back to the early days of the internet via another Deadsite! I so love doing these columns, and not just because I blatantly stole the idea from one of my favorite destinations on the World Wide Web, the legendary DinosaurDracula.com. (Seriously, if you’ve never checked out Matt’s work…what are you waiting for? Go now. We’ll be here when you get back.)
Now you may be asking…what exactly is a Deadsite? That would be a webpage that once existed but is long gone, and the ones I cover generally existed in the wonder world of the late 1990s or early 2000s. There’s just something about that time period I personally find so intriguing. It was essentially the Wild West, as no one knew exactly what to do from a design perspective with this new medium, and even if you did, the technology of the day crippled your ability to do so. You want full screen graphics? You ain’t getting ’em on that that dial up modem, pally!
But we all did what we could, you know? Scrunched up graphics with maximum compression or as few colors as possible in a GIF so it didn’t take an hour to load. For me personally, I tried to find stuff I thought only I remembered. For years I legit thought Phantasio for instance was something I dreamed up and never actually appeared on television. So I did a few video grabs and wrote a little story about him, noting that “Fruit Pie was a Better Magician”.
I don’t know what I was more shocked to discover: that Phantasio did compete in a WWF ring or that so many people also knew about him!
Others were trying to do the same thing – find a hook that would have people coming back to learn more. So you had wrestling fans like moi…journalists like Dave and Bryan…and then naturally the major companies of the day. Everyone was trying different things. For instance, the WWF didn’t just have their primary site, but also dedicated sites for various talent as well.
And thus, I am sure you all remember righttocensor.com.
Well then sit back missy and let Pa Paw tell you a tale!
So the legendary Attitude Era, despite having gargantuan numbers likely never possible to be seen again, was a time when not everyone was a fan. There were various folks who felt the envelope was being pushed too far, with rampant over the top violence and female talent generally used as little more than T&A involved in bra and panties matches. Specifically, some groups believed that the company was growing its audience by targeting teenagers who would be very interested in such antics.
And spoiler alert, they were.
To that end, a group known as the Parents Television Council (or PTC) came a calling to Stamford to attempt to put an end to this. Led by L. Brent Bozell, the Council went after the WWF’s corporate sponsors and advised them to pull the plug on any advertising deals. Vince McMahon responded as you’d expect him to: by creating a mock group of do-gooders named the RTC…Right to Censor. And yes, we inducted them years ago.
Now you may wonder why, precisely, the WWF felt it would be worthwhile to promote what was essentially a midcard faction with their very own website. I mean, I know I was when I discovered it. RTC? Really?
Let’s dive in and see what we find.
When I originally saw this image, I almost wrote “that kids is what pretty much every website circa 2000 looked like” but to be fair this thing is sparse even by those meager standards. I am not even sure I could call this a ‘splash page’ – pretty sure I’ve had more hit me from the bathroom sink when I brush my teeth. Regardless, we get some news updates , a single photo, and a side bar of options. Also this ad:
Wait, that’s Debra, right?
The same Debra who so often appeared on WWE television like this? Why if I didn’t know any better, I’d think this wasn’t a real site trying to promote change!
It’s almost like it was being running by WWE themselves!
Well, whaddya know? The text at the bottom confirms it!
To the sidebar we go, and the first item we come to is the Mission Statement. I will say this – if you want folks to roll their eyes and say, “heaven help me, please no”, you need utter no other two words than those. So I guess well played?
There’s too much sex on World Wrestling Federation programming. There are too many people putting other people through tables. There are too many acts which are not even printable on this site. That’s why the World Wrestling Federation needs selective censoring.
These World Wrestling Federation Superstars are not setting a good example. They cater to the lowest form of entertainment, which is morally unacceptable.
Not sure the last sentence there is altogether inaccurate – it is pro wrestling after all. And while I do love it and have spent far too much of my life studying it, writing about it, and just flat out enjoying it there’s not a whole lot of other “forms of entertainment” that I would place below it on the scale. Guessing even though we are all fans I am not the only one here that feels that way.
That or I just lost a big chunk of my readership. Probably a good thing I’ve never looked at site metrics, they’d probably be depressing.
The Advisory Board is next on the list, as we get accounts of all the folks involved in the group. Steven Richards is first, as he was the leader. I’m sure I’ve mentioned it on the site before, but I am a HUGE Stevie Richards fan. Since I first saw him in ECW, I’ve found him to be one of the funniest, most talented, and criminally underrated folks in the business. If you’re ever having a bad day, just hunt down the promo where he talks about having fluffernutter with his ‘girlfriend’ Francine. You can thank me later.
While some would say he was a failure in his role as leader of RTC (and the front page even asks if the group is falling apart due to him!), at some level you have to give the guy props – after all, he turned both The Godfather (pimp!) and Val Venis (porn star!) to his side.
I doubt if say, Steve Blackman for instance was their leader, the group would have had equal success.
MISS Ivory is next, and the text tells us she wants the women in the company to give “short, tight skirts that expose the mid-to upper thigh” the old heave ho. Not sure what’s more amusing – that most women in the company wore far less than that, or that Ivory herself looked her hottest in his school marm librarian ensemble for RTC.
Bull Buchanan was in this group? I legit have zero memory of this. That either means he was overshadowed by the rest or the lady at Wendy’s who gave me a senior discount this week (and I REALLY wish I was making THAT up) was right and I am an old fogey with no long-term memory.
Here we get the story of the Ho Train being derailed as The Godfather becomes The Goodfather on behalf of the group. Not much more I can add here outside the fact that I can’t believe there’s never been a tag team named “Exploiting Libido.”
A team of Godfather and Val Venis was right there for it!
Let’s take a look at what the site dubs “Acceptable Photos”. Apparently the first of which would be a shot of someone in RTC coming out on the entrance ramp. I know I talked about having limited bandwidth, but seriously could you have gotten a shot a bit CLOSER? This looks like something 3 rows from the top of the arena took with his crappy telephoto lens.
I see this shot and…well…I mean, it just seems so unbelievable to me. For whatever reason, even though he worked for the company for years and obviously they had to have met, the thought of them talking and hanging out seems like a completely foreign concept to my noggin.
I almost picture Vince shaking his hand and going, “Really enjoying working with you. It’s Scott, right?”
Sadly, the Acceptable Videos links no longer work. Not to be undeterred, I spent many long hours recreating the 28.8k (!!!!) version of the above video for you:
Sorry for the lack of audio.
Just imagine Stevie saying something into a literal tin can and string that you can barely understand through the cheapest AM radio imaginable and you’ll get the gist though.
Acceptable women? Well, they can be if they have gigantic CENSORED logos upon their entire beings! And you get a whopping THREE pictures! There’s two women I can’t name…
…followed by two more…
…and then a fanny I also don’t recognize.
I mean, mad props I suppose if any of you can name that rear end, but I’m not gonna do any deep research trying to figure it out. Post your guesses in the comments below I reckon.
Last but not least, we get a plea by the group to JOIN OUR CAUSE. Going out on a limb and guessing that not too many folks signed up, but those that did I am sure wound up on a mailing list for Shopzone. I mean they did that when kids sent in cards to wish Matilda would get better back in the day so you have to think…wait a minute.
There was a WWFHOTRAIN.COM?
I don’t know when I will do Deadsites again, but I think I know what I’ll be covering when I do!