Like the National Football League, its big brother in bloodsport, WWE — North American pro wrestling’s oligopolist — was opposed to the public conversation of traumatic brain injury before it was in favor of it. And like the NFL, WWE now is spreading its corporate beneficence with great calculation. See “WWE funds research into treatment of chronic brain trauma,” USA Today, May 16, http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/2013/05/16/wwe-concussions-chris-nowinski-research-sports-legacy-institute-cte/2178667/.
Pro wrestling by adult entertainers is not as serious a public health problem as football at all levels and ages. Wrestling does not enjoy, for example, vast subsidies of its developmental system by public schools. And even if we were to believe, erroneously, that both pro wrestling and its distant cousin, amateur wrestling, were as dangerous to lifelong mental hygiene as football — which it is not — wrestling simply is not as popular a participation sport.
That is not to say that the public relations offensive spearheaded by Paul Levesque (“Triple H”), WWE honcho Vince McMahon’s son-in-law, is without gaps of logic or honesty.
For one thing, there’s the issue of chair shots to the head. Levesque notes that WWE doesn’t allow them. Great. But why should anyone trust this messenger? Levesque himself delivered a cranial chair shot to the Undertaker in their exhibition at the 2011 WrestleMania show. When some observers made a fuss about it, the company announced that the boss’s daughter’s husband was being “fined.” They didn’t say the amount of the fine or how the transfer of funds was being executed. Did Vince and Linda McMahon tell Stephanie McMahon Levesque to tell Paul to tell the wrestlers under him that they were just kidding?
See “Vince McMahon ‘Fines’ His Son-in-Law Triple H for WrestleMania Chair Shot,” April 6, 2011, https://concussioninc.net/?p=3860, and “Vince McMahon and Triple H Thread the Needle on Cranial Chair Shots – Will the Old Sew-and-Sews Get Away With It?”, April 8, 2011, https://concussioninc.net/?p=3878.
We also have reported at length on how Stephanie lied to the staff of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform when said she was “not aware … of” a concussion ever having been sustained by a WWE performer in her experience as a company executive and high-level TV character. See “Did Linda McMahon’s Daughter Commit Perjury in Her Congressional Testimony?”, August 24, 2010, https://concussioninc.net/?p=2786.
Vince himself told CNN in 2007, in the wake of the Chris Benoit double-murder/suicide, that WWE was banning chair shots to the head — just as a precaution, mind you. Yet Shawn Michaels wielded one of the most vicious and flush such blows imaginable to Lance Cade on the WWE’s flagship TV show, Raw, a year later, and Cade was dead of complications from a painkiller addiction less than two years after that. (So contrite about the Raw incident was WWE that the company immediately auctioned to sicko collectors the chair with the dent in it.) See “Outrageous Death of Linda McMahon’s WWE Wrestler Lance Cade: A Resource Guide,” August 26, 2010, https://concussioninc.net/?p=2813.
Finally, let’s note that when the Michaels-Cade atrocity occurred, Dr. Joseph Maroon — NFL-Pittsburgh Steelers-University of Pittsburgh Medical Center-ImPACT “concussion management system” entrepreneur and fabulist — was already half a year into his term as WWE medical director.
For more, read our 2012 ebook UPMC: Concussion Scandal Ground Zero, available on Amazon Kindle at http://amzn.to/A0Hq2g, or by direct order as a PDF file by sending $1.49 via PayPal to email@example.com.