With so many wrestlers abusing substances, getting injured and dying young, one place to point the finger at is the tough road schedule that they endure.
A lot of fans are unaware how many days their favorite WWE superstars work a week. Some assume that they only work one night a week based on the fact that they only see them once a week on television.
That’s not the case at all. The wrestlers are on the road about 3-4 nights a week. It’s not just three or four nights of work like other people. It’s three or four nights of work in a different city each night. While it’s true that the WWE does schedule shows pretty well by having shows in nearby areas, it still doesn’t take away from the fact that these wrestlers spend four straight nights in a four different cities.
Add that up through the year and you have thousands of miles traveled and hundreds of hotel rooms for each performer. Don’t forget that these performers aren’t sitting there doing office work. They’re in the ring throwing their bodies around. While the outcome of the matches make be predetermined and “fake,” the physical toll on your body is very much real.
As with any other occupation that requires you to be on the road constantly, there are plenty of temptations that come across your path. Drugs, alcohol, sex, and other vices are readily available for these superstars in just about every town that they visit. Some are even tempted by one another as Edge and Lita had an affair together while traveling on the road. Both were in relationships at the time, but with the convenience of being away from home, the temptations proved to be too much for both individuals.
There’s also the temptation of looking good to get ahead in the company. Lots of wrestlers have readily admitted to taking steroids to enhance their looks. It’s an unwritten rule in wrestling that those with great bodies have a better chance at moving up the ladder.
The WWE drew a lot of ire from wrestling fans for placing restrictions on wrestling moves than the performers are allowed to do. Management has eliminated what they feel are high-risk moves. Wrestlers are not permitted to utilize the piledriver, the shooting star press, and a few other moves. While the moves restriction does help out a bit, it does make the matches a bit less exciting.
What would really help decrease the risk of injuries would be a lighter schedule for the performers. Instead of every performer being required to work about 200 shows a year, have them working 100-150 shows a year. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the WWE has to cut down on shows. Keep the same amount of shows. Just rotate the wrestlers’ schedule to include more time off.
TNA’s Lighter Schedule
TNA has established themselves as an alternate work place for the wrestlers. TNA wrestlers only work once every two weeks for the company when they tape TNA Impact. They also work the occasional house shows, pay per views, and independent wrestling shows.
Guys like Kurt Angle have already experienced and benefited from the shorter schedule that TNA requires. They’re still able to maintain a good income because they find other wrestling gigs in between television tapings. Guys like Chris Jericho, and the Big Show are able to walk away from the WWE knowing that if they really needed to, they can always work for TNA. TNA would be a source of income for them while they’re pursuing other careers (Chris Jericho), or getting back into shape (Big Show).
TNA does have an easier schedule for the wrestlers, but that doesn’t mean that temptations and injuries aren’t there either. It’s just not as bad. Officials at TNA need to figure out how to keep a balance as they have also begun to tour significantly more than before.
WWE really needs to figure out how to rotate the wrestlers so that they can get some more time off to keep themselves in the best condition possible.
Pavitar Sidhu is a guest columnist for OWW and the lead writer at The Wrestling Cafe. Check out the site at http://www.thewrestlingcafe.com/.