Call it desperation, call it ignorance, or call it negligent, but TNA Wrestling continues to ignore the evidence and continue unprotected chair shots to the head. Less than a month after the WWE has banned chair shots to the head, TNA Wrestling continues to script angles involving unprotected chair shots to the head. The lack of responsibility from TNA Wrestling on this epidemic is just downright sickening.
I will be the first to admit that I am not a big fan of the TNA Wrestling product. However, I watch TNA Impact week to week to keep up with the news for the blog and my radio shows. Most weeks I watch TNA Impact I am horrified by the product, but this week was a bit different. I found myself cringing watching Rob Terry get nailed on top of the head by chair shot courtesy of Homicide. Ironically as Homicide was crushing Rob Terry’s skull with a chair, Mike Tenay is screaming in the background that I should “call my friends” and let them know Impact moved to 8. Yeah, that’s exactly what I was going to do.
Chair shots always existed in pro wrestling, but they became more regular in the 1990s with the emergence of ECW and hardcore wrestling. A big appeal of ECW over the WWE and WCW was that fans could see a more real wrestling product. Nasty chair shots to the head were a part of the appeal whether it was Balls Mahoney nailing Masato Tanaka numerous times with chair shots or Tommy Dreamer and Raven crushing each other’s heads while the other was defenseless.
[adinserter block=”1″]Years later in the wake of a rash of pro wrestling deaths, the Chris Benoit tragedy, and the Andre Waters suicide, pro wrestling has come under fire for the use of these steel chair shots. Former wrestler Chris Nowinski has led the charge by producing evidence which includes research on the late Andrew Martin’s brain to ban these kinds of chair shots. In a bit of a surprising move, the WWE saw enough to become convinced and banned chair shots to the head last month. Apparently TNA Wrestling thinks they know better.
Every time someone nails another wrestler to the head with a steel chair in TNA Wrestling, it is almost as if TNA Wrestling is giving Nowinski and his team the finger. TNA Wrestling is in the midst of a downward spiral for a variety of reasons and is getting slaughtered on Monday nights. Whether this is a cheap attempt to satisfy a miniscule base of hardcore fans or an attempt to offer something fans won’t see on WWE RAW, TNA Wrestling continues to script angles involving chair shots to the head. Not only did TNA Wrestling just do this on Monday, but they have done this several times since moving to Monday nights. It has gotten to the point that I not only dislike the TNA Wrestling product, but I have to say that I have become to hate them as a company because of this.
I think the biggest surprise in all of this is that it is happening under Dixie Carter’s watch. I could almost see an ignorant pro wrestling booker or promoter blowing off the warnings for their own personal satisfaction and continuing chair shots to the head. However, Dixie Carter seems like a fairly compassionate woman whenever I hear her speak or read interviews. It is truly amazing that in 2010 Vince McMahon has more compassion for the safety of his wrestlers than Dixie Carter. It is just truly shocking to me.
The irony here is that pro wrestling is supposed to be a worked sport. Fans have accepted worked punches and worked kicks for decades. Up until the ECW hardcore craze, fans were perfectly fine with seeing a wrestler get hit on the back with a chair. Once The Rock nailed Mick Foley numerous times with a chair to the head years ago, the WWE fans became accustomed to something different. There is nothing artful about a chair shot to the head. A great worker or a great wrestling angle doesn’t need it. Well, considering that I haven’t seen anything great in years from TNA Wrestling this all makes sense.
[adinserter block=”2″]Even worse than TNA Wrestling are the independent pro wrestling companies. I worked in the independent scene for years and if you want to talk about ignorance, look no further than indy wrestling. A wrestler barely getting paid $50 is expected by some promoters to take a chair shot to the head. Anything less will get a groan from the audience and an angry promoter who probably won’t bring the wrestler back. Even the other wrestlers on the card will give a guy a hard time if he puts his hands up to block a chair shot. I would expect better from a company with the resources and minds of TNA Wrestling.
The height of arrogance is that the chair shot comes just a few days after the suicide of Chris Kanyon. Those close to Kanyon speculate that he wrestled through a lot of concussions in WCW. Some close to Kanyon put partial blame of his depression and psychological issues on those concussions. Now it is way too early to determine whether those concussions or brain injuries had anything to do with Kanyon’s death. However, there are enough people working in TNA Wrestling that worked with Chris Kanyon in WCW to understand the corroboration. Imagine the ignorance it must take for these people to continue allowing chair shots just days after the death of a former wrestler that he watched suffer several concussions.
There is no good ending here other than banning chair shots entirely in TNA Wrestling. The government recently got involved in the NFL in order to protect players against hard hits to the head. In 2010 I can’t see anyone in the government raising an investigation against TNA for this and that is really a shame. Eric Bischoff and Vince Russo love to tell everyone how smart they are and how brilliant they are when it comes to writing wrestling. There is nothing brilliant about writing a chair shot to the head into your script. Do you think TNA Wrestling will be taking care of these guys in 5-15 years when they are walking around like vegetables without a pot to pee in?
The person responsible for writing these scripted chair shots needs to either be fired or seriously reprimanded. There is no good reason for these chair shots to continue in TNA Wrestling or anywhere else. As a mother and businesswoman, Dixie Carter should know better. As human beings, Eric Bischoff, Hulk Hogan, and Vince Russo should know better. And for the sake of their health and their futures, the TNA wrestlers should know better. It is time for this ignorance to come to an end.