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Ignorant audiences have often presumed that like in movies, the blood in pro wrestling is “fake” as well. The notion could not be more wrong.
As almost all of us know it is the magic of “blade job,” a method to make one bleed by artificial means.
Since the days of “Abdullah the Butcher” and “The Sheikh,” exhibitions of crimson has enamored some people and discouraged the rest. This is precisely why the use of blood has been one of the perennial debates in the history of pro wrestling.
Whether it is detrimental to health? Which kind of diseases could be transferred because of this method? And most profoundly, whether the blading is necessary in the first place? Many questions have been asked about blading.
They all are legitimate, but their answers have often been little vague and therefore, so has the stand of wrestling promoters.
Vince McMahon, who has been a vocal critique of blading, resorted to the same method during Attitude Era and Ruthless Aggression Era. If Bret Hart opposed it vehemently, then Ric Flair has bled for past few decades incessantly.
If WCW unofficially banned it, blading was an important part of NWA.
In such a climate and on such a backdrop, when WWE put a firm ban on blade jobs during the initiation of PG era, it was bound to meet extremely heterogeneous reaction.
What I intend to do here is to put forward a supportive argument for the ban on blade jobs. Before moving on with the debate, we need to understand that ban is on “blade Jobs” not on “blood.”
Even Vince McMahon can’t do a thing if wrestlers bleed naturally.
There are several aspects to this issue and we will address each of them concisely.
Purpose of blading and risks involving the process
First of all, we have to understand the basic purpose of blading.
Blading is supposed to intensify the ongoing story. It is suppose to deepen the emotional quotient of the match. The blood is supposed to shock audience and mesmerize them in a slightly sinister manner.
Today in retrospect, one just can’t help but ask one question that has blood lost its shock value? With wrestlers bleeding on any occasion with even a single punch, blood has lost its sickness.
The sights of Ric Flair, Abyss or HBK, HHH during Ruthless Aggression era became a habit. What was supposed to gravitate the emotional response of audience, quite contradictorily desensitized the audience.
In such a scenario, is it worth to resort to a method that is not exactly safe? The question is important and we need to discuss the health hazard related to blade jobs to understand its gravity.
Blade job is done with foreign objects and that alone paves the way for potential risk. Gone are the days of Terry Funk, who could induce blood with one punch. So this is by no means a safe method.
The threat of HIV and Hepatitis is most imminent. We need not discuss the grotesque nature of HIV. Hepatitis is a chronic disease that hampers the liver, and it can be contracted through the blood contact.
One would say that in an organization like WWE, which is the safest pro wrestling promotion, these threats are impotent. Well, it is not true. Tragedies are the most cunning mechanism in this world.
I will just mention one occurrence here, when a potential threat was averted by God’s grace.
In 2006, during a feud, it was discovered that one of the individual involved had hepatitis since he was a kid. The problem was that it was after discovered after a blood-filled match.
This feud, by the way, was not between jobbers. The infected individual was “Cowboy” Bob Orton. The Wrestler who ran the risk of carrying this hideous disease was none other than “the Undertaker.”
If negligence can take place during the angle featuring one Hall of Famer, one of the greatest stars of all time and above them all Randy Orton, you would better question the safety.
Apart from the fact that blade jobs run a risk of infections of many sorts, They could go horribly wrong it ring as well. Let alone appearing too dramatic or gory, they could prove fatal.
See the video embedded here of “Mass Transit incident” in ECW, and you will realize it in five minutes.
There is another pretty bad outcome, and that is demented foreheads of wrestlers. Just look at the picture of Dusty Rhodes and his forehead, the point will be crystal clear. The story of Abdullah the Butcher is wicked.
He apparently cut his forehead so many times, and so deep, that after a point he could hold a coin in that “space.”
In an era of HD telecast such scars and demented features are no less than a peril of superstars. Moreover, in an age where wrestlers make appearances everywhere, it creates a terrible impression. It is an era, where everything scrutinized to death.
So it is a risk better left at the street.
Speaking of scrutiny there is one more aspect, which is rather unnoticed but highly significant. As I said it is a HD Era and camera sees everything from thousand angles. This runs another risk.
A process like blade jobs becomes too obvious at times. There have been instances where wrestlers have been caught on camera with blades.
Such a video spreads like virus on YouTube (see for example the video embedded here). The wrestler in the scene is none other than Kurt Angle.
Such a fiasco is the last thing WWE would wish to happen. When pro wrestling needs a better image, when WWE is trying to target wider audience and to particular children, it is stupid on WWE’s part to allow such felonies.
It is a boggling question that after so many downsides, is it wise to have blade jobs in pro wrestling? But the more apt question would be different, and it is.
Are blade jobs necessary?
Personally, I have not lost anything because of the ban on blade jobs. It had not always been a significant part of pro wrestling. WWE/F had almost no incidence of blading in several years prior to 1997.
It did not take away a damn. WCW had placed unofficial ban on blading. They fired superstars for the act of blade jobs. It did not take away anything from their product either.
What we saw afterwards was the demand of times and efforts of promotions to survive. The time has changed again.
Today, pro wrestling once again needs to attract broader audience. It has to be catered to the last person of society. And in such an endeavor, it is imperative that the right manner is adopted.
The soul of pro wrestling is emotion and story. It blossoms with breath taking display of wrestling in the ring. The common people need to be shown the beauty of this profession, something that we know.
They must witness the surreal sight of moonsault or a sinister impact of Tombstone Piledriver. Wrestling is an art, it is not violence. It should be presented in such a way.
What I wish to highlight is the fact that use of blade jobs in not necessary. It is not needed. This is where I would repeat one line I said above.
The ban is on blade jobs, not on blood. There were several instances in the last year or two when wrestlers bled naturally.
The sights of wounded Batista shoving away trainer or bloodied CM Punk ambushing Randy Orton were to behold. They were natural and their effect was that of a shade of crimson on some painting.
Had blade jobs been in practice, these incidences would have been redundant.
I have embedded one more video here. It is of a match that represents each and every thing that wrestling truly stands for and guess what, it has not a single drop of blood.
People, enjoy the magnum opus of HBK vs. Undertaker at WrestleMania 25.
I rest my case right here, my lord.
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