Dave Meltzer Still Ain’t Ready for Reform

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World Wrestling Entertainment’s Linda McMahon is losing her race for a U.S. Senate seat – in no small measure because of her association with the industry’s pandemic of young deaths, which has been publicized at new levels during the McMahon/Richard Blumenthal campaign.

That might embolden a journalist to renew calls to investigate and clean up wrestling. But not if you’re Dave Meltzer, publisher of the biggest fan publication, the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Meltzer, like the bulk of his readers, wants other people to take wrestling more seriously … until they actually do.

“It’s going to be difficult,” Meltzer writes in the November 3 issue of the Observer, referring to attempts to refocus Congress on occupational health and safety issues at WWE and other promotions, “because Congress was heavily criticized for wasting its time when it looked at steroids in baseball, and if baseball is considered a waste of time, imagine the criticism Congress would get for looking at pro wrestling. When they did have the hearings a few years ago, they were in private, a year after they were done a report came out that was quite negative. But then nothing was followed up on.”

Meltzer is mostly accurate (though there were no public hearings in 2007, only private interviews of the McMahon family and others by staff investigators for the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform). But most of all, he is incomplete – guarded. Real analysis would at least tip its hat to the possibility that, as a consequence of the 2010 election season, there is much greater reason than ever to expect Congress to follow up on the report that Congressman Henry Waxman punted to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy in January 2009.

C’mon, Dave, you can jump into the pool. The water is fine.

Irv Muchnick

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Concussion Inc. - Author Irvin Muchnick