So the whole crux of the argument seems to be "Lawler didn't die, therefore its not as big a deal." I fail to see how that makes it OK, myself. If someone gets cancer and survives, does that suddenly mean its cool to rip on them?
Most of the time in storytelling, they might use an issue like a heart attack as a plot point, but because its a fictitious heart attack they're talking about, its seen as fine. In this case its different because the heart attack in question actually happened. That's what people are offended by.
I myself don't care about the heart attack, but that there are many better ways to convey edginess than going this route that makes them appear low brow. Also, couldn't they have put some time in between this angle and the heart attack? My God, his first appearance back and they're making it into an angle. That just screams exploitation. "Gotta strike while the iron is hot!"
The issue is-where do we draw the line? "Eddie is in Hell" was incredibly offensive because he died. Vickie probably gave the OK for the story. Why is that so bad but this isn't? At the same time, this plays off a real life situation. Katie Vick was totally made up, but that was also incredibly offensive. What are the parameters for what is and isn't offensive? Its all personal choice it seems, but are there guidelines for what is unanimously considered offensive?
I wouldn't say that it isn't a big deal at all. The fact that Lawler fell to a heart attack is a big deal and the fact that he got well enough to return is also a big deal. It's a blessing that he pulled through. It isn't okay to make fun of someone who suffered a heart attack, the same can be said about someone who recovered from cancer, but it's hard for me to feel any offense towards it outside of the show because this was done with Lawler's consent
. I won't call someone a pussy for being seriously offended by this segment because people take things in differently than others, but I still disagree that this crossed the line.
I never saw it as exploitation so much as a way to shock people and it worked. I'm sure that the angle could have worked with some time put into it before the mocking, but the fact that it happened on an emotional return gave more fuel to Punk's villainous juvenile heel character.
As far as the "Eddie is in hell" bit, I wasn't watching wrestling when that happened. However as disrespectful as that statement would be if Orton voiced it outside of the show non-kayfabe, it happened within the show. A fictional character said something hateful and disrespectful towards another character within a story. The words were said, but there was no truth to them as far as reality goes. To me, at least, the real world event doesn't even take precedent because everyone involved with the WWE mourned Eddie on his tribute. I feel the same way about Lawler's heart attack.
I'm sure that in time the WWE will be able to produce more elaborate angles to fit yours and others' tastes, but I thought that this was a good way for the company to start in a new and possibly better direction.