Time to Stop Making Excuses for WWE’s Criminal Choreography

Developing: WWE Reinstitutes Chair Shots to the Head
April 4, 2011
Vince McMahon ‘Fines’ His Son-in-Law Triple H for WrestleMania Chair Shot
April 6, 2011

A guy who signed his email “Chris” sent me this comment on the report here yesterday that World Wrestling Entertainment is again using chair shots to the head, despite public statements and a published “wellness policy” to the contrary:

to be fair, mr. muchnick, if you saw the wm 28 [sic] ppv, you would have seen that the undertake [sic] put his hands up in front of his face and his hands absorbed that fake chair shot from hhh.”

The best answer to this is the excellent item by David Bixenspan at Cageside Seats: “After Wrestlemania, it looks like WWE has unbanned chairs to the head,” http://www.cagesideseats.com/2011/4/4/2090779/after-wrestlemania-it-looks-like-wwe-had-unbanned-chairs-to-the-head.

“Undertaker may have gotten a hand up at the last second, but as hard as the shot hit, that probably didn’t help matters much at all,” Bixenspan writes.

In an email to me, Bixenspan called the Triple H-Undertaker stunt on Sunday night “stupid, careless, and hypocritical” since these were not two independent garbage wrestlers who might feel they need to resort to dangerous chair shots in order to get a crowd “pop.” When the two most respected veterans in WWE do that, “what kind of message does it send to the other wrestlers?”

But here’s the kicker: Cageside Seats uncovered that this was no isolated Vince McMahon son-in-law exception.

On a March 25 WWE show, in Champaign, Illinois, Sheamus hit Daniel Bryan on the head with a chair in the middle of a move called a tope (a kind of flying head butt). Bixenspan: “The spot was made most famous by Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit in their ladder match at the 2001 Royal Rumble, where Benoit took the full force of the chair while rocketing into it.” Bixenspan says the two incidents, in combination, “lead us to believe that chairshots to the head have been unbanned.”

Also yesterday, I emailed all the leading wrestling fan newsletter journalists, from Wrestling Observer‘s Dave Meltzer on down. I have received no response to this message:

What is your published response to Hunter’s chair shot to Taker’s head?

The following don’t count:

* grading this safety policy on the curve based on how good you thought the match was

* the son-in-law exception

* contorted analysis of whether Taker actually got his hand in there to cushion the blow

* above all, snide and ultimately toothless comments about how these people always lie, so what do you expect?

Irv Muchnick


  1. Scott D says:

    I witnessed Wrestlemania27, and while the chair shot was blocked by Taker, that should definitely have not been given the green light to be the focal point of that match. HHH yelling to Taker to stay down, with Taker refusing to sell the chair shot absolutely sends the wrong message to the locker room. Not to mention that these are veteran performers who are looked up to by that very same locker room. WWE as the leader in sports entertainment, should be leading by example, but if you look at the homophobic banter that John Cena was using on The Rock during one of their exchanges on Raw coupled with the same type of remarks WWE announcer Michael Cole made on line to fellow announcer Josh Matthews are what were “The Attitude Era” of WWE. GLADD coming down on WWE, hopefully will make the WWF refrain from such tactics! Remains to be seen. As for the chair shots protected or unprotected, McMahon need to be educated more on the concussion issues, obviously he’s not sold on the dangers!

  2. chris says:

    Mr. Muchnick, on pw torch’s website, james caldwell made reference to an article on wwe’s corporate website which stated that wwe officials fined undertaker and hhh an undisclosed amount of money for violating the chairshot to the head policy.

    While it is possible that wwe is just issuing this statement to save face and act like they are not sweeping it under the rug, at least wwe is stating that a wwe talent putting his hands up to block a fake chairshot is still risky because many talents may not have quick reflexes and the chair shot will actually connect with their skulls.

  3. Crimefighter says:

    Looks like the heat got to them …


    Superstars Fined for Chair Shot

    Pursuant to WWE’s Concussion policy, the stunt of using a folded metal chair shot to the head is prohibited. Triple H and The Undertaker have both been fined for violating this policy at WrestleMania XXVII. WWE penalizes through fine and/or suspension for violation of this policy, which is unchanged and still in effect.

  4. riverstv says:

    Could it not be that Trips and ‘Taker decided to do it themselves, to add an extras edge to the match, and got fined for it. It’s not as if the two don’t have the pull/authority to do that sort of thing if they want to.

    Don’t get me wrong, I hate chair shots to the head, but this is being reported with minds already made up that WWE told them specifically to do the spot. As it is, that was the first chair shot to the head i’ve seen in a long time, so without knowing the full story, my inclination is that it wasn’t done with WWEs full blessing.

  5. Two things in response to “riverstv.”

    Whether Triple H and Undertaker did this “on their own” matters less than whether WWE has given lip service to banning chair shots but really does little about it. There is reason to be skeptical of the meaning of the “fines” or even whether there was even a token exchange of money between Triple H and his father-in-law. And really, what does it mean for these two top moneymakers to have a few hundred or even thousand dollars withheld from their WrestleMania payoffs?

    Second and key point: It has been documented that this is NOT the only recent chair shot to the head in WWE. Daniel Bryan (recipient) and Sheamus did it in Champaign, Illinois, on March 25. Company spokesman has not responded to my email query about that.

Concussion Inc. - Author Irvin Muchnick