Redshot Revolver: Why Wrestling Deaths Cannot Be Blamed On The Promotion

Joe Burgett Senior Writer IIIAugust 9, 2010

It has been a little while since the last big pro-wrestler death, and most would like to keep it that way. In one of my previous articles, I spoke of how the WWE was trying to help their wrestlers in life more and more to make sure that they avoid what has happened in the past.

In that article, the Kings and Queens of the Forgotten, I spoke of how sad it was that wrestlers came upon tough times. It wasn't just a killer on the wrestler, but their families as well, which is even a bigger pill to swallow.

But imagine if that wrestler dies and leaves his family without a mother or father. That is the realization I have come across over the past few months. During my hiatus, I read articles, books, medical journals, watched TV, etc; I guess the same thing many other writers do.

In any case, I realized that when it comes to wrestler deaths, it is hard on that wrestler's family, but it is also a big blow to the company that he was associated with.

The WWE is obviously the most popular wrestling organization in the world, and they have had a few people die under their watch. Most of these deaths were drug related, and only one (that I can think of) was caused by an error—the death of the great Owen Hart.

The likes of Mr. Perfect, Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit, and others all died as a result of past or current drug abuse. Only one, Benoit, had a brain issue that likely caused him do what he did.

And the most surprising thing of all was not what the wrestler did or how he died,  but the whole world outside of wrestling fans themselves—and even some fans, too—being so eager to blame the organization for the death of the wrestler.

This is just illogical and blatantly stupid.

There is a cornucopia of things and people you can point the finger at before the organization.

When a wrestler dies, I always think the wrestler is to blame for his death.

Morons who despise wrestling and want to kill it point their fingers at the WWE and other wrestling organizations in saying that they are all 'roided up guys playing with each other, and there is no reason wrestling should be around.

I despise Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe the most for his hatred toward the product. Anytime a discussion is brought up about wrestling, especially a wrestling death, he blames the entire organization, instead of the person truly at fault: the wrestler himself.

I remember when Eddie Fatu, the Samoan-American professional wrestler better known as Umaga, died last year. He was released from the WWE last year for failing the Wellness Policy test, but the WWE wasn't going to release him originally. Rather, he was offered a paid trip to rehab so that he could work out his troubles.

Fatu turned it down, and was then released because of it. A few months later, he died.

The WWE did all they could do to help him, yet the wrestler refused to accept it. Still, because he wrestled for Vince McMahon and the WWE, we heard people blaming the WWE for his death. And why? Because he just wrestled with them and they should have been with him 24/7 making sure he didn't use drugs?

Actors die all the time, many because of overdoses. Yet we don't blame the film industry for their death. So why is that the case in wrestling?

Sure, Vince McMahon owns the most profitable wrestling business of all-time, and he likes to push certain types of guys. Not to mention, he makes you work almost 300 dates a year (it used to be more).

Many do choose to use drugs to get bigger and to get a push, or even to numb some of the pain from falling on a hard mat 40 times a night for most of the year.

But they have that option, of which the WWE never offered. THEY chose to use drugs; no one forced them to do so.

The WWE has tried to help out performers, though.

They added the Wellness Policy to catch people using so they could in turn try to help them. They have not once released a talent simply for failing a drug test; they always offer them rehab for the second violation, then if they choose to keep them on the roster, after they decline they will release them for their third violation.

According to the policy, they have to stay out of the WWE for exactly 365 days before they can be rehired. And once brought back, they are on a one strike rule.

The WWE use to make wrestlers work over 300 dates a year, but has since diminished that by 50 or so dates, which some may think is nothing. But if you ask a wrestler and tell me what they say about that, they'll love 50 days off.

The WWE also pays their talent well, better than any other wrestling organization. It's a stable income, and one of which some would kill for.

The WWE also doesn't hire a wrestler with a certain health issue or drug problem. It's why Nigel McGuiness (TNA's Desmond Wolfe) didn't pass the tests to get in, as a matter of fact. Wolfe wasn't on drugs, but had some sort of health issue the WWE didn't want to take a chance on. They asked him to get it taken care of before they would sign him.

There are many others they have taken similar steps with.

They want people in their company who can work with them without a problem. It's so funny how many tests wrestlers have to undergo as a result of past deaths in their business; but it's so necessary.

Yet no matter how many tests they do, it seems wrestlers will still violate the policy somehow.

When a wrestler dies—and there will be others in the future that do, I'm sure—we shouldn't blame it on an entire organization or the business as a whole. We should blame the wrestler if he dies of anything other than a natural cause.

I for one am tired of seeing people under 50 die in the world of pro-wrestling. But, it happens because of drug abuse.

If we are to get anywhere in the world, we need to take care of ourselves and not expect others to do it for us. Next time you are given the opportunity to do something you feel is wrong, but think can help you in your career, don't do it. There are others ways to be a success—the right way.

Look at people like CM Punk, Cody Rhodes, Chris Jericho, etc. These men are normal and never used drugs to get ahead, instead harnessing their talent to move up the ranks. If you have talent, it doesn't matter if your the size of Hornswoggle, you'll still see success.

But what do you think? Am I wrong for thinking that the blame of someone's death in wrestling should be on the wrestler and not the organization they were connected to?