Many people have talked recently about what TNA needs. These talks have included such things as a break out star, breaking up the factions, keeping aged talent out of the main event scene, refocus on the X-Division, etc.
Even I have called TNA out on some of these issues but something that grinds my gears about TNA, and something that strangely no one has brought up, is that they have yet to establish a wellness policy.
As of right now, TNA has no wellness policy at all, not even one in basic form.
I find it difficult to believe that a promotion that is recognized as the second largest in the world has no wellness policy when several independent promotions in my hometown of Rochester have established policies in an attempt to increase their credibility.
This is something many do not recognize TNA for. Normally when any wrestler is noted to have steroid or drug issues the media almost immediately, whether it has to do with them or not, turns to WWE. After the Benoit issue in 2006, WWE established a wellness policy after congress started getting on their back.
To date that wellness policy has been solidly enforced. Many have looked at Rey Mysterio’s suspension as an act that makes the WWE wellness policy credible. I, however, have seen it as being credible since the suspension of Booker T in 2007. However I am getting off subject, there are a number of reasons TNA should establish a wellness policy including:
1) Sends a Message to Pro Wrestlers Everywhere
As long as TNA lacks a wellness policy the promotion is basically offering an open door to anyone that uses steroids, human growth hormones or painkillers. Many of the "washed-up" WWE talent entered TNA after having issues with any of the three aforementioned products.
Angle has been noted as having a reliance on prescription painkillers after his neck injury. There has been a lot of talk that Kevin Nash relies on painkillers for his knees as well. Booker T was negotiated his release after being suspended due to steroid issues. When Scott Steiner made his way to WWE in 2002 he was asked to undergo a steroid test. Current free agent Eddie Fatu, whom is rumored to be making his way to TNA soon, was noted as having steroid issues which led to his release from WWE.
Do I honestly need to continue?
If TNA establishes a wellness policy, and enforces it, it sends a message to wrestlers and promotions everywhere that steroid use should not be tolerated from anyone.
2) Increases Credibility
If you are a fan of TNA you want to see the company succeed. However if you are anything like me, you do not want to see the company succeed due to wrestler putting their future health at risk by using steroids or prescription painkillers continuously.
If TNA establishes a wellness policy it increases the respect that fans have for the company and may even attract viewers. Believe it or not I know several people that refuse to watch TNA because they are disgusted that they have not established a wellness policy.
I also know a few independent circuit wrestlers that refuse to work for TNA for the same reason. If Dixie Carter really wants to make TNA stronger I feel this is where she should start.
3) Helps to Prevent a Possible Incident
I feel everyone reading this knows what I am referring to when I say this and I know that there is no one that wants something as awful as that to occur ever again. The pain and the chaos of all of it, the criticism of pro wrestling and pro wrestlers everywhere, the way the media made its goal to destroy pro wrestling...imagine all of that again.
4) Helps to Prevents Future Losses
We have lost a number of wrestlers in the last three years due to the past steroid use. Among the more recent cases is Andrew "Test" Martin, but there have been ones that just hit home and pull at wrestling fan's hearts everywhere such as the case of the late Eddie Guerrero, and ones that we feel there was so much more they had in them like "Mr. Prefect" Curt Hennig.
Just think of your favorite TNA stars....how young are most of them, 30-35? How would you feel reading "dedicated to the memory of______" across the screen in the next 5-10 years?—I know I don't want to.
Now just to clear things up I am not accusing everyone on the TNA roster of using/abusing steroids and painkillers, but I do feel there may be a few. I don't want to hear rumors, if there are confirmed people I don't want to know.
I just feel TNA has been around seven years now and it is time for them to establish a wellness policy in order to preserve their own future and the future of their stars.