One of the highlights of this week's WWE Monday Night Raw involved DeGeneration X (or, more commonly, DX) and Hornswoggle, a leprechaun character who has been a bit of a pest of late. However, those involved might've been better served waiting at least another week or two before going ahead with the skit they ran on Monday.
You see, earlier that day in NYC, a teenage girl was struck with a stray bullet while walking home from school, an innocent child walking into the midst of a dispute. I would say it was a drive-by, but the gunman rode a bicycle. With Raw at Madison Square Garden, this unfortunate, real-world incident had an effect on the DX-Hornswoggle angle.
Over the course of the last several weeks, Hornswoggle has been wearing DX clothing, specifically a cowboy hat similar to the one Shawn Michaels wears, and a "DX Army" t-shirt. Triple H had warned Hornswoggle a number of times about gimmick infringement, but the leprechaun wouldn't listen. About three weeks ago, Hornswoggle was served with a "cease & desist" order from DX. He ignored that, too. The core of Hornswoggle's character now isn't so much that he's a leprechaun, but rather, as announcer Michael Cole succinctly put it, a "petulant child".
And that brings us back to Monday at MSG. After Hornswoggle had caused Chavo Guerrero, Jr. to lose yet another match, furthering their seemingly endless feud, DX called Hornswoggle out to the ring. Forgetting that they had conferred an honorary membership to Hornswoggle two years ago, Triple H & Michaels feigned giving him full membership, and, then, in a scene similar to when HHH turned on Michaels 7 years ago, the "Cerebral Assassin" booted Hornswoggle in the gut, and hit his finisher, the Pedigree. The crowd, understandably, booed, but not with any real venom. It might not have been the reaction DX was looking for headed into a triple threat match vs. WWE champ John Cena at Survivor Series on Sunday---we don't know for sure---but given what had happened earlier in the day, the last thing the fans at MSG wanted to see was a child-like character being assaulted.
We do not know for sure if anyone in WWE was aware of what had happened to the young woman while preparing Raw for broadcast. If they were, a case could have been made where they could've waited at least another week or two before having DX "punish" Hornswoggle, if you will, for his ignorance. In fact, I didn't even know about the shooting until reading the paper the next day. Once I did, I was able to better gauge the audience reaction.
Vince McMahon has often been accused of lacking class, tact, etc., but this time, while the usual suspects (i.e. Phil Mushnick) will rip into him for going through with the skit in light of the shooting, I don't think McMahon can be held accountable. If he didn't know about it, and decided to go through with the skit as planned, well, at the end of the day, he comes across as innocent as that teenager who was shot, and the media hounds will be villified for finding fault where it doesn't exist. In the end, there is no one to blame.