I’ve been watching wrestling since 1996, since that time I’ve seen some amazing things happen. Beginning with Booker T and Eddie Guerrero winning world titles and deserving superstars rise to the top. When I speak about the amazing happenings of the sport, then I also have to speak about the terrible ones.
The terrible being the number of wrestlers who have passed away and the circumstances surround their deaths. When I was younger, I wanted to be one of those wrestlers. I wanted to be a technical wizard like Chris Benoit, a “Perfect” wrestler like Curt Henning and a wrestler who “Lies, cheat and steal” like Eddie Guerrero. On the other hand, I question my dream of becoming a wrestler because of the aftermath of everything. The everything being the negative aspects of the sport. The negative forms of the sport ranges from the drugs, backstabbing, sacrificing, and the physical effects on your body. I’m not saying wrestling is the only sport where this is happening. It happens in basketball, soccer, and especially football. The difference between those sports and wrestling is the amount of passing involving wrestlers.
When revaluating my dream, I ask what is the most common cause of death involving a wrestler. Heart failure, overdose, suicide, and incidents in the ring. Knowing these factors is wrestling worth my life. That’s too broad a question to answer. Instead, I ask what lead to those heart failures, overdosing, suicides, and incidents in the ring. Was it taking necessary drugs, the business being too much, or something bigger? Are the major promotions putting the life of their wrestlers before the sport or is it the other way around. After the passing of Eddie Guerrero, it was discovered he passed away from an enlarged heart from the years of substance abuse. After his passing, WWE started their wellness program. Why did it take so long for a major promotion like WWE to start a wellness program? Before Eddie’s passing, several other major past WWF/WWE wrestlers passed away from drug or heart problems. What took WWE so long to begin a wellness program and why other promotions haven’t took notice. Of course, the cost having wellness program in a independent promotion is expensive, but what should be the alternative solution. Will the health of the wrestler lie on their person? When promoters ask wrestlers to put on a show and entertain the fans, the wrestler will comply with the promoter. However, if that wrestler gets injured in his/her match, the promoter should assist in the health of the performer. Why? Taking everything in mind for that night, they were an employee of that company. That man or woman went out there, and fought, bleed, scratched for your promotion and left their hearts in the ring. When wrestlers pass away from the sport I loved since a child, it hurts my heart. Especially if the company they worked for could have helped them before the end.
Despite everything when wrestlers speak about wrestling, mostly all of them speak about as a career, not a job. A career they trained years to obtain and a career they allowed to improve or destroy their bodies. When I hear a wrestler speak with passion when discussing this sport, and the love from the fans, it reassures me that my dream is worth something. Although, that thought of my life going into the sport still dances in my head.
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By Jerrod Sullivan