Of the many reasons that various pro-wrestling companies have gone out of business over the last 100 years, one that stands out, particularly over the last two decades, is an inability to learn from past mistakes.
On Tuesday, August 17th, an article was published in the New York Times talking about head injuries, and how there is a possibility that Lou Gherig never even had the disease that was named after him; he may have died due to brain injuries suffered on the field during his long career. While the theory about Gherig is brand new, you’d almost literally have to have been living in a cave to not be aware of the studies being done on concussions over the last four or five years.
Even if you don’t follow sports, it’s impossible as a wrestling fan to be unaware of this given the the biggest wrestling story of this generation, Chris Benoit’s brutal double murder/suicide over the June 24, 2007 weekend in which he killed his wife and young child and then hung himself with the cables on the lat pulldown machine in his home gym. An autopsy found an astoundingly badly-damaged brain, chock full of the tau proteins signaling a severe case of chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
In plain English, it is no mystery, particularly in wrestling, that head injuries are bad news. Which is why it is very disconcerting to watch the vicious chairshot that Rob Terry takes in the accompanying video, which happened not in the 90s or even pre-Benoit, but on April 5th, 2010.
It’s one thing to bury your head in the sand and not realize that Hulk Hogan in his late 50s isn’t going to be the kind of draw that he was in his mid-30s, or even mid-40s. This is not learning from history, but at least it's an example that involves things like ratings and PPV buyrates.
To not seemingly be aware of the dangers of concussions, to allow a guy to take a full-force chairshot to the head, and to care so little that you don’t suspend either guy or even edit the chairshot off the television program shows a lack of regard for the safety of the performers that borders on criminal. Wrestling often comes across like a Road Runner cartoon where guys get beaten up and come back two hours later without a scratch on them. But the wrestlers aren’t cartoon characters. They’re real people, they have families, they get hurt and all too often they die. To see a wrestling company in 2010 allow something that is so obviously unsafe is extremely disappointing.