Being 2013 the world is a little softer than before; there is much more concern for people’s safety than there has previously and that has infiltrated the world of professional wrestling. It started in the 90′s when too many kids got injured performing wrestling moves at home, so WWE had to tone down the violence. Then more and more former and even current pro wrestlers started having problems later in life. The physical toll of being beaten and battered every night of their life was starting to catch up to them; and it was being made more public than ever before. So of course due to this violence and negative consequences the product being churned out by WWE had to even further watered down. This comes at the cost of the audience, but we have to look at the fact that it is a huge benefit to the performers and allows us to enjoy them for much longer.
I was watching the Hell In a Cell collection today and viewed some of the most horrific shots to different competitors head’s and it is no wonder that the rules had to be changed. Seeing Mick Foley and Kane take steel chair shots straight to the head, not even putting up their hands and it is truly haunting to see. These man have steel wrapped around their heads and crumble beneath the pressure being smashed by it. That’s not even considering the falls from the cell, that’s simply talking about the chair shots. And watching the falls off the cell, Mick Foley’s head making serious contact with the concrete floor below, giving obvious reasoning to no longer have performers falling off the Hell in a Cell anymore. It is upsetting we no longer get chair shots to the head and we no longer get pile drivers, but as a collective WWE universe we need to know that it is better for the performers.
A topic I don’t like discussing is Chris Benoit, but one fact I need to raise is that when he was autopsied, he had the brain of an 80 year old Alzheimer’s patient. Obviously this was a freak case, but because his head was so beat up, it led to Benoit’s faithful day where he snapped. His head was in such condition because his career was built on suplexes which constantly landed Benoit on his head, along with diving headbutts and the like. The intensity of the product has been toned down, but if it saves people from getting to the condition of Chris Benoit, this has to be seen as a positive thing. Even with the watering down of the product since the Attitude Era I don’t believe things have gotten that bad. I am not talking about the stories, but the physicality of the matches, which has definitely declined, but the end result is not that bad. More than anything I believe the policies in place in WWE are more preventive than anything and benefits everyone.
It is a damn shame that Dolph Ziggler has not been able to defend his World Heavyweight Title since winning it because he suffered a concussion. It absolutely sucks that we have not been able to see him wrestle since winning the belt, because I’m sure he would have an even brighter fire than before. But we must think of the alternative, Ziggler wrestling through the concussion and we could potentially lose years off of Dolph’s career that we’ll get to enjoy because Dolph has not been allowed to compete. Similarly with Fandango now, I’m a big Fandango supporter and would love to see him win the Intercontinental Championship at Payback on Sunday, but not if it puts Fandango in jeopardy. I would much rather see Fandango wrestling at WrestleMania 50 than him retire by WrestleMania 40 because he was wrestling through concussions since 2013.
But we’ve had two separate performers receive concussions in the past 2 months, so even with all of WWE’s policies in place, these men are still in danger. What then needs to be done? Should the physicality from bell to bell be even further watered down, or should we just learn to deal with concussions? Personally I believe that performers who have a history of being reckless need to be more seriously dealt with, as the safety of the men in the ring should be valued above all else. Sadly that doesn’t really work either, because the obvious makes sense, the performers who are more reckless are probably less experienced, so right there they should not be pushed to the main event. Like Jack Swagger with Dolph Ziggler and Zack Ryder with Fandango. Catch 22 however, with these men being inexperienced, is the best thing to do really to give them even less experience?