It’s real simple: Is being a wrestler worth it? Is being a wrestler worth the countless hours lost with family, the many injuries that will stay with you into you 40s, 50s, and 60s, the instability of looking for a life outside of the ring, the possible drug dependency, and the constant barrage of BS from those who dismiss wrestling and those you work with?
The short answer is no.
Despite what Vince McMahon, Dixie Carter, and countless other indy promoters would have us think, drugs still exist in pro wrestling. Period. Nothing anyone can do, is going to change that. If the "in" thing is to be built like a body builder, than the promoters will ask (or tell) the talent to find ways to get bigger. Now, no one in any promotion is going to outright tell another wrestler, to use illegal means to bulk up. Some do, but most, and I strongly believe in some instances WWE and TNA are guilty of this, offer incentives to build muscle. Plus, with the uncertainty of the business, it would be in the wrestlers best interest to build muscle fast. To not get injured. To be on time all the time. To be ready for the show. To do a great job no matter how messed up you are from the night before. We as fans ask a lot from the wrestlers, and the promoters, ask more. We get a good show to talk to our friends and family about, but the promoters get money, and that’s all that counts. It’s a real simple formula:
Better = Bigger.
Bigger wrestlers = Better matches.
Better matches = More money.
More money = More pressure to be better.
And the cycle continues.
I can hear it now! “But Mike, it was the wrestlers choice to use drugs!” Yeah, but if your choices are use pain pills or being in severe, mind numbing, excruciating pain for days and weeks on end, if your choices are go to the ring looking tired and worn out or taking drugs to be up and ready for a crowd that has waited for you, if your choices are be bigger or be gone…..well, you don’t really have a choice do you?
So is it worth being a wrestler? In my eyes, no. It’s not. However, in my eyes, it’s not worth being a cop, in the military, a firefighter or doctor. And I’m not comparing the people flying around in the ring, to the people fighting wars and saving lives. But I am saying being a wrestler, is sometimes a thankless job. The only thank you that you get is from the fans. Maybe there is that one fan a wrestler touched in a deep way. And that fan will take that memory with him where he goes. But in the end, you are a doctor, because you want to be there. You’re a cop because you want to be one. And you’re a wrestler, because you want to be.