Column: Arm Breaker: The Issue With WWE’s Protection Policy


Excuse me while I rant. Excuse me while I let out an emotional response to an injustice the likes of The Shield would love to take down, but cannot. Excuse me if I sound like an overbearing Vickie Guerrero, but I have a problem. It’s not a problem of personal value; rather it’s an issue with WWE and their Protection Policy.

While WWE has been a great wrestling company for over 50 years now, they are not immune to business issues. They have changed many things in their company’s policy that needed to be addressed and made much better. Other times, they didn’t address things until it was too late.

I for one study Public Health, so I am all for WWE putting emphasis on wrestler safety which they tend to want to do more of. But sometimes it can go too far. The same issues have happened in the NFL where you have to watch the kids in college play to actually watch a football game worth a damn. Btw, Roll Tide.

The NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has made it his entire focus to make the game safer. Now, I am fine with the idea of that. It allows players to play without the issue of long term complications. This is a great thing in my opinion.

Goodell made it a major focus to protect the head, but that has transcended from head protection to full body protection. Ed Reed can’t play his Safety position the way he used to, because he may “hit too hard”.

Long are the days of players getting knocked the hell out in the middle of the field because the wide-out went into a brick wall known as a hard-hitting safety. If you hit too hard, you risk suspensions, fines, and penalties that can cost your team the game.

Things like walking on a guy’s head after a play is over is unneeded, but hitting too hard in the chest? Things like that are supposed to welcome, but Goodell has changed too much. So much so, many defenders have issues on what to do during the game.

This has now come over to WWE. WWE has enjoyed making sure drugs stay out of the company. And I for one love this as well. They have also cracked down on head safety which is both good and bad.

They are wanting for hits to the head to be very low risk if there are any at all. We know more about the brain now than we did even 5 years ago.

Even the last year alone there have been breakthroughs with TBIs.

The problem that WWE has with this is that they don’t know when it’s too much, just like the NFL. Eventually it’ll be Saturday Morning Slam on RAW where nothing head hit related can be there. Not even a DDT, sorry Jake Roberts.

Sometimes good is well, too good. WWE used to focus on head hits constantly, and blood was a main focus for talent to have in killer matches like Steel Cage matches, Street Fights, and others. Kendo Sticks, Steel Chairs, and so much more used to target the head in these matches. And it made matches make sense.

Why would you not have blood in a hard fought, hardcore battle?

Without it, did it look real enough? I mean, have you ever had a fight with someone that went a while and not come out with at least a bruise or cut of some kind? With MMA being as popular as it is today, realism is more needed than ever. High Definition cameras also make things hard to fake.

Movies have stunts or language that fits for the character or story. Why did “The Departed” have The F Word in every other sentence? Because what type of mob didn’t curse like this? It was realism that you’d expect in the real world environment of this type of gang. You don’t expect them to be bible thumping people asking if you’d like some sweet tea with your hamburger. But that is basically what WWE gives us.

They used to stop matches at one point to clean blood up when a person got cut. Which was idiotic. It slows down the product and kills the realism. MMA fights do not stop because someone bleeds, and people want entertainment, not a youth soccer game where mommy stops the game to put sunscreen on your fair skin.

WWE finally stopped this end of things, most likely because of outrage from the boys in the back. Now if there is a major gash of Joey Mercury proportions, by all means stop the match to help the poor guy.

However, if it’s like one with CM Punk and Rey Mysterio where Punk gets a small cut that happens to free bleed a bit like many cuts tend to do right off, that’s too far in my opinion.

Now WWE has had a habit of stepping into a match similar to before, where the ring doc is getting his money’s worth out of the shoes he bought. As he seems to be involved in a lot more matches than ever before.

While Wrestler safety is okay, I’m all for a guy like Daniel Bryan finishing the match on his own and simply calling for the end earlier like what wrestlers get taught to do in school, than for it to end due to a doc getting involved.

Usually, if a guy is hurt, he tells his opponent and they go home early.

Why this formula which has worked for decades cannot work now is beyond me. Now some will say, well wrestlers need to be protected from themselves. But, these guys get paid to do what they do. They are the best in the world at what they do.

Why on God’s green earth a doc needs to get involved because of a back issue that Bryan had makes no sense to me. Especially when it’s obvious wrestlers hit their backs an awful lot. We don’t talk about the spine having issues though, do we WWE?

The Spine when messed up causes full or partial paralysis, numbness, pain, and even organ failure in some cases. Yet they hit that all the time.

The reason it’s not worried about is because it’s a given that the back is protected a good deal. But the spine is not nearly as protected from issues as the brain is. Where it the skull like bone protecting the spine?

The spine holds up a bit better and can take more damage than the brain of course. But let’s be honest, neither are good to take damage to long term.

Now, while I get that Bryan was hurt and my own point proves that WWE was smart in wanting to protect him. You have to trust the talent. To me, it seems like WWE just had a meeting over wrestler protection that Monday and this was the first case of it in action, taking it too far.

It seems Orton and Bryan, who have had a great series together, are both the target of a ton of safety concerns for WWE. Both recently got fined for a chair shot that Bryan took to the head from Orton. Guess the Kendo Shots to the head didn’t get press huh WWE?

WWE has had several problems in fairness when it comes to this as well.

Think about it. Did Cena or Lesnar get fined when they bled and both targeted the head? Cena even hit Lesnar in the head with a chain. Which is just as dangerous as the chair.

It’s the stigma of the steel chair that WWE is being completely idiotic about. While they did nothing about Cena/Lesnar, they did fine Triple H for using a chair to hit Undertaker in their Wrestlemania match around the same time.

Double standard? Hell yes!

The one with Orton and Bryan was more accidental as well. It seemed that Orton was not prepared for Bryan to come the way he did. He swung the chair then backed it off when he saw Bryan coming head first to protect him. Yet they fine Bryan for that? An accident that was on Orton?

If it was planned, which I also think happened with Undertaker/Triple H, you’d think everyone involved knew the policy. And you’d also think that Vince McMahon allowed the spot as most of that type of stuff would go through him. Especially in the case of Taker/Triple H. If anyone knew the policy it would be Triple H. Who was pretty douche like going by his statements in regards to the head shot policy when he himself broke it under the same policy.

WWE has not released how much anyone was fined. This makes most people think WWE is just covering their own tails by announcing a fine on, and not doing a press release to all stock holders and news outlets. And to others, it’s just something people think is an addition to the Bryan/Orton story. In the end, most feel no one has been fined over head shots done.

While this may or may not be true when it comes to fines being given for real, my problem always comes down to when things are overly done. If you’re told to do something or told its okay to do, yet get fined for it, that’s idiotic to me.

Sure, WWE Superstars aren’t hurting for money. Just like NFL players aren’t hurting for money usually. But the principle of the thing is still valid. No fines should be given if one is told to or Okayed to do something. And double standards should also be eliminated. If you must fine or punish someone, make it fair to all stars. I don’t expect you to suspend John Cena, but if he fails a drug policy, I want his happy butt off my TV for a month.

Overkill when it comes to match safety should also be analyzed too. We’ve seen how it’s started to ruin the game for the NFL fans. Why do the same for wrestling when you can protect, but not go too far with it?

I get that safety is a good thing for the wrestler. But, trust them to take care of themselves in a ring and only get involved when it’s very necessary such as when there is an obvious break, X put up, or major gash that of Mercury level. Anything more, you will ruin the product I love.

Rant over. Let me know your thoughts on WWE’s Wrestler protection Policy. Too far or just enough?

Follow me on Twitter: @JoeBurgett_WE

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