Tagged in: concussions

Who Will Stand With Baron Corbin?

I’ve met a number of wrestling promoters over the last few years. You know what they have in common? Limited resources. The promoters I know are not millionaires. Most of them have jobs outside wrestling to pay the bills for themselves and  (in many cases) the promotions they run. They aren’t doctors either, and they don’t all have the means to have even an off duty paramedic standing by if something goes wrong.

The wrestlers who work for these promoters understand this. They understand the risk they take every time they step in the ring, no matter where they are or who is running the show. Everyone understands that bruises, strains, broken bones, torn ligaments, infections, and yes, concussions can and will happen. They don’t hold the promoter liable because they take responsibility for their own actions.

This is their love. This is their passion. They do it in spite of the risks for the love of the business.

That said, if a promoter is a billionaire, if that promoter has unlimited resources, if they have the means to put on multiple live broadcasts every week, if they have their own TV network, if they have millions of subscribers paying for that network and shelling out billions more on T-shirts and videos and other swag… that promoter has an obligation to the men and women they employ to provide the best healthcare and the best information about health and wellness to the people they employ.

If the story now out about Baron Corbin being “punished” for calling out a so-called expert on concussions for not speaking the truth, it’s another black mark on the biggest promotion in the business. The WWE treats wrestlers as independent contractors. They do this to avoid having to provide health insurance for the wrestlers. Translation: when you see the WWE live or on TV, you are watching non-employees risk their bodies, their brains, and their well being in order to make millions for a corporation that will not pay their medical bills if they get hurt.

Baron Corbin has every right to call BS when he hears it. The wrestlers and fans should call BS as well. WWE is not a side venture run by a man or woman who puts on shows weekly or monthly in addition to working their 40 hour a week job. This is what they do. This is how they make money, hand over fist. For once in his wrestling career, Baron Corbin is the babyface, but it looks like Corbin could become another casualty, another name swept under the rug for defying the corporate line.

Independent promoters don’t have the means to provide the best of medical care. Independent wrestlers know and accept the risks they take working for said promoters. There’s no excuse for a company the size of WWE to withhold the best of care and the best of information from the men and women whose sacrifices make their profits possible.

Who’s going to stand with Baron Corbin, inside the WWE, or out? Better get off your butts quick. We’ve seen what happens when you defy the company line.

The Heroic Choice of John Wayne Murdoch

The last time I saw John Wayne Murdoch, he was falling backwards through a table on the shoulders of Shane Mercer from the top turnbuckle. Murdoch is as hardcore as they get. There’s no bump, no height, no foreign object that scares him. But of all the brave things John Wayne Murdoch has done in the ring, none compare to what he did last week.

Just a few days after the great Daniel Bryan announced his retirement due to concussions, Murdoch announced his departure from the same business. It may not be retirement for Murdoch just yet, but it will at least be an extended absence. Like Bryan, Murdoch is suffering from severe post-concussion symptoms. It scared him enough to go to the doctor, and the doctor’s diagnosis convinced him he needs a break from the business he loves dearly.

John Wayne Murdoch does not have an “angel” like Bryan has in Vince McMahon. There’s no billionaire promoter paying him not to wrestle. He has made this impossible choice on his own, and he deserves all the credit in the world for doing so.

As much as we know about the human body, especially the brain, there’s no bravery in fighting through head injuries. No matter how high your tolerance for pain may be, it’s not worth it to continue destroying something that can never recover from the damage caused by concussions. There are plenty of ways to stay involved in pro wrestling that no one should continue working past such a dangerous point of no return.

If you see John Wayne Murdoch at a show or on social media, thank him for all he has given to the business, then honor him by sharing his story with someone else. No one wants to see a promising wrestling career cut short, but we need more men like Daniel Bryan and John Wayne Murdoch to show the world that there are some things more important than stepping into the ring.