WWE | Pro Wrestling

WWE Needs to Ground the Flying Objects at Ringside

Everybody loves to see destruction, but sooner or later, some of it has got to come to an end.

Nothing will whip the crowd up into a frenzy like going down to ringside and throwing things around. Like chairs. Like monitors. Like…other wrestlers. Folks tune in to pay-per-views sometimes just to watch the Spanish announcers table get pummeled to pieces.

Brock Lesnar has made his living throwing things around, both in and out of the ring. On a couple of occasions, adrenaline has kicked in, and he got a bit too…well, let’s say, enthusiastic. One night, a folding chair he threw into the ring almost cleared it. A few more inches further and it would have sailed into the crowd.

Monday night at the Raw show in Chicago, Lesnar finally hit paydirt, if we can call it that. During his latest ringside tirade, he picked up the monitors from the announcer table (not the Spanish one because that was nowhere to be found) and heaved them into the ring. Only one of them reportedly went over the ring and into the crowd.

According to WrestlingInc.com., which posted a fan’s video of the action, the monitor sailed over the ring and went into the crowd. Reports conflicted on actual injuries, but thankfully, none of them were serious. The video has since been pulled from the site, but WrestlingInc.com reported the WWE camera crew went wild checking to make sure if everyone in that section was OK.

Obviously Lesnar did not mean to miss his mark. He just got a little overzealous and was caught up in the moment of beating on Mark Henry. But what happened should serve as a wake-up call to WWE and any other promotion worth its weight in salt that perhaps the ringside violence needs to be curbed a bit. It’s one thing to RKO, Pedigree or even Batista Bomb someone through the announcer table. It’s basically a Hollywood-style prop just waiting to collapse under the weight of a wrestler.

It’s something else, though, to start wildly throwing things at ringside in the proximity of fans. The monitors look – and probably are – inexpensive, but they still can do some serious damage. So can those steel chairs. Shucks, anything at ringside turns into a missile if it is thrown hard enough. And guys the size and strength of Brock Lesnar can throw things pretty hard.

It goes beyond throwing things, however. Several weeks ago, the WWE storyline called for Randy Orton to dive into the ringside crowd and beat up John Cena’s father. Other programs have had wrestlers throw each other over the ringside barricade and fight their way through the crowd.

They know what they are doing and where they are going because those moves are choreographed. Fans don’t, though. If two wrestlers are beating the tar out of each other in the seating area, the fans are going to clamor to be close to the action. Some have gotten a bit too close – CM Punk accidentally punched a fan not too long ago.

In sports and in sports entertainment, fans live to be closer to the action. Why do you think courtside seats at basketball games are more expensive? Sure you get great views, but you also pay for the risk of possibly being bowled over by the players. And those moves aren’t even choreographed.

Twelve years ago, a young girl was killed at an NHL game in Columbus, Ohio when an errant puck veered off the ice and into the crowd. The NHL responded by raising the glass walls around the rink higher to protect against future tragedies.

I am not proposing WWE or any other wrestling promotion erect glass walls around the ring to protect the fans from flying chairs, monitors or even wrestlers. After all, interaction between the performers and the fans has been extremely crucial to the industry’s success. Fans love shaking hands with and high-fiving their favorites along the ramp and at ringside after the last match of the night.

But maybe, just maybe, it’s time to let the monitors and the chairs serve the purposes they are intended to do at ringside and not become flying objects. The only things that the fans should go home with are T-shirts and fun memories, not bruises and abrasions.

Bill Atkinson is a contributor to Camel Clutch Blog and the owner of WrestleWatch. Follow Bill on Twitter at @BAtkinson1963, and visit WrestleWatch at www.wrestlewatch.com.

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