In Defense Of Protecting Your Melon…

I may very well catch a little flack or heat for this, but I’m not really sure if I care or if it even really matters anymore.

Now before I get into this rant, let me first clear up that I absolutely love professional wrestling. I have ever since the first time I saw it at the age of nine. Even though the wrestling business and landscape have changed drastically numerous times since then, it’s always been a pretty big part of who I am. Maybe even the biggest part.

Even though I haven’t competed in a couple years now, my brain is always going into overdrive with different ideas, new moves to try, spots and combinations, gimmick ideas, and promos. I assume it’ll probably always be that way.

I have to admit, however, that the recent events surrounding the death of Chris Benoit and his family have taken some of the fun out of wrestling for me. Not to mention the all-too-stale state of mainstream wrestling in general.

Even moreso, a recent appearance former WWE star Christopher Nowinski made on Bryan Alvarez’s Figure Four Daily podcast on the long term effects of head injuries on athletes has me questioning how my own concussions and whatnot are going to affect my long-term health.

I will sheepishly (and shamefully) admit that there was a time when I would see stars after taking a hard blow, or even suffer a full-blown concussion and wear it proudly like a badge of honor. I remember one show where I came down with a bad migraine headache (which seem to run in my family), yet still went to the ring and ended up trading it for a concussion after an opponent caught me in a most amatuerish way on a risky dive to the floor.

I remember the first two years of my career diving off of whatever the highest place was in a given building onto opponents. Throwing myself down bleachers and taking hard, unprotected chairshots to the head. I wonder sometimes now, at the age of 30, if I am all the more dumber for it, or if I just have whatever that condition medical students get when they read about ailments and then think they have all the symptoms themselves.

I was never the type to throw my hands up when I saw a chair coming straight for my head. Okay, I lie. One time when I had stitches in my head from some minor cosmetic surgery, I tossed my hands up, not looking to reverse the effects of several hundred dollars of surgery that Canadian healthcare didn’t cover. So really I wasn;t being smart, I was just being cheap.

Perhaps the best thing I ever did for my in-ring carer was stray away from some of the more “hardcore” antics that dominated my first two years in the ring. I wouldn’t get the big huge “pops” from the crowd, but I proded myself on getting my message and story across without having to resort to the more violent style that I once embraced.

Not to belittle those who like to swing chairs, crash through tables, go through glass, or land on thumbtacks. While that may not be MY thing, you can’t question their guts. Then again, where does it being a matter of guts end, and the senselessness or real danger begin?

I guess all I’m trying to say is that with the results on the study into Chris Benoit’s poor, battered brain being released, let’s all try to wrestle a little smarter and protect one another (and ourselves) a little more to ensure that there’ll be many more entertaining, exciting wrestling shows to come…as well as long, fruitful careers for all involved. 

Of course, there’s a giant, hypocritical part of me that just says to myself “geez, maybe all those veterans in the dressing room when I was starting out were onto something when they told me to slow down.” And now in 2007 am I trying to say the same thing to others?

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