Brock Lesnar's Limited Booking Forces WWE to Experiment with Mandatory Downtime
Brock Lesnar signed a lucrative contract with the WWE earlier this year with one of the key perks being an extremely limited schedule where the former three-time WWE Champion cannot be used past 30 to 40 dates.
This tricky stipulation allows the WWE to involuntarily address a possible future solution to a concern that has proved to create a hazardous working environment for far too long.
That solution is to require that wrestlers go through a sustained period of recovery—known as mandatory downtime—in order to naturally and efficiently heal from the habitual beatings that their bodies take inside of the ring.
The demanding lifestyle of a pro wrestler dictates that the WWE superstars and divas spend upwards of 300 days on the road and in the ring. Perpetually bouncing off of an unforgiving mat multiple times per week is no sensible way to conduct one's career.
Even resident superhero John Cena has had to be handled with care as multiple nagging injuries continue to pile up for the ubiquitous WWE superstar. Cena even went as far as to tease taking time off following his win over Brock Lesnar at WWE Extreme Rules, but the WWE is far too dependent on their golden goose to allow that to happen inorganically.
The grueling schedule of the average pro wrestler accelerates the wear-and-tear process, making injuries a necessary evil that too often seems to open up the floodgates for subsequently disastrous coping mechanisms such as the popular-yet-deadly (and recently banned) muscle relaxer Soma.
It was the arduous and painful WWE schedule that drove Brock Lesnar out of the wrestling business in the first place. Lesnar admitted, during an E:60 interview (seen above), to resorting to vodka and pain pills in order to force his body to keep up with the beating it was taking on a weekly basis.
Marijuana usage is yet another popular alternative for wrestlers looking to deal with lingering pain, with several wrestlers willingly taking a $2,500 hit after testing positive for THC.
Others, such as the recently suspended Evan Bourne, have sought more volatile self-treatment with the rise of synthetic designer drugs, such as K2, that have recently been added to WWE's list of banned substances.
Responsibility and discipline are forcibly written into the language of Brock Lesnar's unique contract, and what has to be prudent usage of Lesnar could prove to be a template of sorts of how to book wrestlers in a safe, effective manner that will preserve careers.
Should the WWE ever choose—or, god forbid, be forced by congress—to evolve its dangerous business practices, mandatory downtime would be a logical next step to address the omnipresent health concerns among pro wrestlers.
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