Real Concussions in Fake Wrestling Leading to Big Changes
Concussions are becoming a major topic of our time, particularly in sports. While it was always known that concussions were something to be wary of, nobody was really certain of the long term affects a concussion has on the brain. The Sports Legacy Institute (founded by a former WWE wrestler) has done ground-breaking research that is setting off a lot of alarm bells. We now know that concussion-related brain damage may have been a factor in both the suicide of NFL star Junior Seau and in the murder-suicide committed by WWE wrestler Chris Benoit.
To those unfamiliar with how pro wrestling works, it may sound odd to talk about concussions. After all, pro wrestling is fake. What many don’t realize is that there is a certain amount of real pain involved. In order to make things look real in the ring, many wrestlers have to take a certain amount of actual punishment. It was commonplace 15 years ago for wrestlers to really hit each other in the head with steel folding chairs (the noise it made always got a big reaction). Those “chair shots” caused a lot of concussions. WWE is like a live stunt show, and when things go wrong people get hurt.
The weird blurring of fantasy and reality is a big part of the charm, to the point that people actually bet on it. While something like NFL betting is obviously a simple wager on the outcome of a legit sport, WWE betting is all about the viewer figuring out where a storyline will go. This is pretty much impossible because real life WWE honcho Vince McMahon changes his mind on creative stories constantly.
What’s even more interesting is that for the past year, late bets have been rolling in on big matches on the day of pay per views. Reporter Dave Meltzer has been following this for quite some time. Apparently, WWE staff are quietly making a killing betting on matches once Vince McMahon has finally made up his mind hours before a show.
34 year-old Daniel Bryan has been a phenomenon for the company, which made his sudden retirement so shocking. Typically, a wrestler doesn’t break down physically so soon. Bryan himself didn’t agree with the WWE doctor’s assessment of the status of his brain, which raised eyebrows as the WWE doctor in question is Joseph Maroon, a former NFL doctor with a bit of a controversial past.
Bryan got outside opinions of other respected doctors. At first the news looked good. But then he revealed that he’d had a number of seizures, including one in his last televised matches.
No fan can say in good conscience that Daniel Bryan should be wrestling now. There have been so many tragedies in the business already, including Owen Hart falling from the rafters to the ring.
What’s interesting is that the company just put Tommy Dreamer, a man who claims to have had over a dozen concussions, on live TV just one month ago doing all those “hardcore match” things that gets guys hurt.
Apparently there’s still a lot of work to be done.