World Wrestling Entertainment, which stages its 28th annual WrestleMania pay-per-view show tomorrow, has not allowed chair shots to the head ever since studies of Chris Benoit’s postmortem brain tissue in 2007 showed that he suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
Once again: WWE does not do chair shots to the head.
Except when it does.
In the fall of 2007, WWE chairman Vince McMahon told CNN that the company was eliminating chair shots to the head.
Shortly thereafter, daughter Stephanie McMahon Levesque, a WWE executive, told Congressional investigators that she was not aware of a company wrestler ever sustaining a concussion during a performance. And Stephanie managed not to burst out laughing while she said it!
A year later WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels smashed Lance Cade over the head with a chair on live television. WWE had Michaels autograph the chair, then auctioned it off. Meanwhile, Cade had a seizure on an airplane from a painkiller overdose and was fired. In 2010 he died before making it to his 30th birthday. “Heart failure.”
OK … The 2007 WWE ban on chair shots to the head wasn’t official; it was just a “suggestion” by the boss in his CNN interview. The formal ban wouldn’t come until after the December 2009 “Tables, Ladders, and Chairs” pay-per-view. Once that was out of the way, the company could move on to its larger humanitarian agenda: trying to elect co-founder and CEO Linda McMahon, Vince’s wife, to a United States Senate seat from Connecticut.
Of course, in 2011 – in between Linda’s 2010 and current bids for elective office – WWE’s “Sheamus” did smash “Daniel Bryan” over the head with a chair at a show in Illinois.
And at WrestleMania weeks later, Paul “Triple H” Levesque – Stephanie’s husband – did conk Mark “The Undertaker” Calloway on the cranium with a chair. The WWE broadcast crew was so proud of this balletic move that they queued up an instant replay.
A few days later WWE announced that Triple H was being “fined” for his egregious violation of company choreographic standards.
Tomorrow Triple H will meet the Undertaker again, in a “Hell in a Cell” match. Shawn Michaels will be the referee.
You just never know what’s going to happen next in that darn WWE!