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Is there a growing problem infecting the Wrestling Industry? – Inside The Wheelhouse

Matt Hardy mug shotThere is a growing problem in the Wrestling Industry that needs to be addressed. No it’s not steroids and no it’s not drugs, the two constants that have plagued wrestling the last thirty years. The new problem facing the wrestling industry seems to pop up in the news every couple of months and has been a growing concern of mine for the last couple of years. It’s a problem that both the WWE & TNA have faced and dealt with in regards to their wrestlers.

This growing problem plaguing the wrestling industry is wrestler’s getting behind the wheel of car under the influence. Whether it is driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI), wrestlers are getting arrested every couple of months for one of these infractions. And yet despite all these continuous arrests, the wrestling industry has not reacted to the degree they should.

DWI’s and DUI’s are offenses in the United States that are extremely frowned upon. Before anyone gets behind the wheel of a car and handed a driver’s license they are to watch some sort video to put the “shock treatment” into their minds with how dangerous getting behind the wheel of a car under these impairments are. They are simply not tolerated by today’s judicial system or in today’s society.

Therefore why isn’t the wrestling industry doing anything to prevent this or show some sort of punishment to those wrestlers who commit these unethical infractions?

What do Kurt Angle, Santino Marella, Alex Riley, Matt Hardy, Mike Mondo & Jimmy Uso all have in common? They have all been arrested for either a DUI or a DWI. With the exception of Matt Hardy (who by all accounts had many more strikes against him to begin with), they all kept their jobs with their respected companies (WWE & TNA) despite the serious infractions they made.

Many of us who read this blog won’t have the same luck as the fellow wrestlers I have just named. If we were to commit a crime like this (and I hope no one reading this ever does), we would be arrested and probably fired from our day jobs. We are not above the law nor would we ever be. We would not only embarrass ourselves, but our families, friends and places of employment, the social ramifications of an arrest like this are just as impactful as the judicial ones those face when committing these crimes.

Yet the wrestling industry refuses to neither address any of these situations nor make the talents who commit them pay for any type of ramifications because the wrestling industry sees the value of a dollar rather then the value of a life. The message the wrestling industry sends to it’s fans when these crimes occur is a horrible message, especially for those who are repeat offenders on the list of wrestlers I named off the top of my head a couple paragraphs ago.

Look at Kurt Angle for instance. He is one of the best wrestler’s of all-time, I love watching his matches and have respected everything he is done in the ring. But how many times are we going to have to see him getting arrested for some DUI or DWI before we hold him accountable?

What are you trying to tell your audience when a wrestler of his magnitude or lack of magnitude isn’t punished for the crimes they commit?

That they are above the law?

That we see more dollar signs in his eyes then the gleam he has from being under the influence of something?

I can guarantee that part of the audience that watches wrestling on a weekly basis, whether it be WWE or TNA, has been affected by someone who has had a DWI or DUI, had a DWI or DUI themselves or more importantly, lost a family member or friend due to a driver who was impaired. What kind of message are these companies sending to these very people when they are no such punishment to a contracted talent who commits these crimes? What will it take for the wrestling industry to properly address these situations?

Besides the message the wrestling industry sends to their audience, look at the message it sends to their talents. It’s basically telling them that if they go out party really hard and get behind the wheel of a car & get arrested they will still have their job come Monday. Sure there may still be some ramifications but at least they will still be collecting a paycheck every 15 days, so it’s not that bad after all.

Is it really going to take a professional wrestler under the influence while driving to kill an innocent victim before we properly address this problem? Is the wrestling industry really that much of a reactive industry that we need to constantly address areas of concerns when professional wrestlers die, get killed or kill someone themselves? It’s a sad state of affairs when you think about it but it’s true.

The wrestling industry needs to address these situations better or we are going to continue to hear more names hit the “dirt sheets,” the TMZ’s of the world or even possibly our local police reports. DWI’s & DUI’s are not something that should be taken lightly nor “swept under the rug.” They are serious offenses in the Untied States with even more serious consequences. The wrestling industry needs to grab control of this constant issue before it gets out of a control and becomes an even more growing concern.

For more on this topic join Eric Gargiulo & myself for the ThursdayOctober 6th edition of “The Still Real to Us Show” and download the show at www.wheelhouseradio.com and can be downloaded in the “Real Guy Radio” section of the site..”

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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