July 16, 2007
I am reaching a level of frustration that I doubt I have ever reached before in my life. The stress and frustration created by the Benoit tragedy and the resulting media coverage has reached dangerous proportions for me and I feel I need to vent now in an attempt to not explode later. I believe I have managed to put behind me the stress and anxiety of the actual events, but am ready to explode with frustration over what is being done after the fact, by both the business and the media as a whole.
I’ve been following as much media coverage as I can and with very few exceptions have had all that I can take. I am ready to scream “ENOUGH ALREADY!” to both the media and those representatives of this industry who seem to be more concerned with spin, denial, and damage control than addressing real issues and perhaps saving lives.
How many times are we going to hear the same people, saying the same things? I think we all get the fact that Chris Benoit was loved and respected by everyone who knew or worked with him, and that his actions that weekend were horrific and unexplainable. I’m not trying to down play what happened or how horrible it was, but continually stating how horrible and inexplicable it was accomplishes nothing. Three people are dead and the media seems content to just point fingers of blame and throw buzz words like “Roid Rage” around instead of looking for solutions. On the other hand the Industry on the whole seems content to just deny and redirect, in hopes of moving past it all.
This is what has gotten to me the most, the denial. We’ve seen countless drug-related wrestling deaths in the last 10+ years and we (me included) have always managed to grieve, accept, and move on. In the past I think we have all managed to look the other way accepting that, for the most part, drug-related deaths are self-inflicted, and those who died had made their own choices and suffered their own fates. That doesn’t wash anymore! Two very innocent people are dead (Nancy and Daniel) and drugs in the wrestling business were at least, to some extent, a contributing factor. We can’t look the other way any more, attitudes about drugs and drug use in this industry have to change and they have to change now, before more people die.
This industry does have a drug problem and people need to start admitting it and addressing the problem at hand. I’m not saying that WWE is at fault here or that it’s roster consists of nothing but a bunch of drug crazed pill addicts and steroid monsters, but WWE’s constant spin that they, “Put smiles on people’s faces” and that they focus on and promote “Entertainment” not “Size” is a bit hard for me to stomach. I was so disappointed with The Larry King show with Cena and Jericho. Yes, WWE does put smiles on people’s faces, and yes they will promote entertainment in addition to size, but neither of those statements have much to do with anything except changing the subject and avoiding the issue.
In my opinion WWE needs to stand up and say, “Yes, drugs are a problem in our industry” and admit that they now realize that their wellness program isn’t doing enough. I truly believe that they implemented that program with good intentions yet they seem to defend it with half-truths and obfuscation. I think this business has been stuck in the old Kay Fabe era of wrestling so long that everyone still spins and denies out of habit. Steroids and pain pill addictions are a very real problem in pro-wrestling as they are in society as a whole, yet no one wants to admit what at this point should be painfully obvious. Now is not the time for denial or even blame placement. Now is the time for change. Now is the time for cleaning up this business, and saving lives. The status quo isn’t working; people are dying.