Lance Cade Death Shows Us the Importance of an Offseason

Ian MaloneCorrespondent IIIAugust 14, 2010

Lance Cade's death is one of the saddest in recent memory for the sport of professional wrestling.

It was only two years ago that some of us thought that Cade would be a future main eventer. He was in league with the right people such as Chris Jericho and Shawn Michaels. 

Instead, he's in league with Eddie Guerrero, Andrew "Test" Martin, Davey Boy Smith, and a much too long list of wrestlers dead before the age of 40. 

Plenty of people will blame the WWE for Cade's death. Linda McMahon is running for Senate in my home state of Connecticut, and this is sure to affect her campaign, and well, it should. 

WWE is not directly responsible for the death of Lance McNaught. They did not provide him with the drugs that caused his seizure back in 2008 nor the drugs that ultimately led to his death yesterday. But, there is a bigger concern that WWE could be doing more to prevent these deaths. 

Wrestling needs an offseason. These performers are out there beating each other up 250 times a year. Anybody who says that what they do is fake hasn't seen the injury reports. The outcomes may be predetermined, but what they do in there is very real. 

Every sports league has an offseason. Major League Baseball may have a grueling 162-game schedule, but the players have a few months off to recuperate from the grind. Each team also has a staff of doctors who make sure that the players are all healthy. 

The National Football League is much more violent than the MLB. Which is why it has an even longer offseason. These players give it everything they've got out there and they need time off. And they get it. 

Professional wrestling is even more violent than the NFL. AND THERE'S NO OFFSEASON. It's utterly ridiculous. It's no wonder that some of these guys turn to prescription painkillers, they don't have any time to heal naturally. 

A forced offseason would do the sport of professional wrestling so much good. A voluntary one would simply not work, since no young wrestler in their right mind would want to ruin a potential push by sitting out a few weeks, even if it meant that they would live to see their grandchildren. 

Wrestlers are treated as independent contractors, which means that they do not get health insurance among other things. But, WWE will pay for rehab for any employee or former employee who needs it. 

But why does it need to come to that? Why can't they take care of their employees before they need rehab?

Obviously, rehab didn't work for Lance Cade. If he was given a few weeks a year to take proper care of his body, he might not have abused drugs and he wouldn't be dead at 29. Heart failure that young is simply not normal. 

I read an interview with Paul Wight, known as the Big Show. The Big Show said that he took about three vacations during his first ten years in the business because he didn't want to miss anything.

While Show is alive and well at age 38, plenty of other people worked the same schedule and weren't as lucky. 

WWE needs to give its employees time off. The number of deaths in the business is sickening and something needs to be done.

Even if it means that we are not entertained 52 weeks a year. It's getting harder and harder to be entertained by these guys, when I know a good number of them are killing themselves to do it.