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When is it enough?

Posted in Xtremeview by Jack at 17:22, Jul 13 2007

June 25, 2007 will go down as the darkest day in professional wrestling history. Throughout my history of writing columns I have used the phase ?one of the darkest day in professional wrestling? two times however this time it?s different. On that day someone didn?t simply pass away or be taken because of drugs. This is the day that Chris Benoit, Nancy Benoit, and Daniel Benoit were all found dead.

According to authorities over the weekend of June 22nd to June 24th Chris Benoit a man respected and loved murdered his wife Nancy and son Daniel and took his own life. Which has left everyone asking the simple question of why? How could a man who was loved and respected do something so heinous and brutal? That answer may never be known but there are theories. Many theories revolve around drugs and steroids and WWE claims it was a domestic issue. However at the end of the day when is enough, enough?

In this column I?m not looking at Chris Benoit the Wrestler, I?m not going to say if he?s innocent or whatever because that?s not what this column is about. Today I ask when is it enough? The day Chris Benoit?s story was picked up by the media was truly the day Professional Wrestling proved without a shadow of a doubt how dirty it truly is. In the last 22 years around 100 wrestlers failed to even make 65 years of age when the life expectancy in America is around 75 years old. All of these wrestlers were at least a name in the business now I ask how large is the list when every wrestler who has passed is on it?

At the end of the day 100 deaths in 22 years is pathetic, sad, and the exact example of the issue facing Professional Wrestling today. The Benoit tragedy should be a wake up call to every promotion, promoter, and wrestler in the world. However I fear once again it will fall on deaf ears. This tragedy shows not only professional wrestling?s irresponsibility but the irresponsibility of the media. It has truly exposed the worst of Wrestling and 24 hour network news channels. Wrestling?s side is still obsessed with protecting a drugged up business and the Media is giving out miss information on serious subjects.

The network news channels have shown just how low certain people can get. They are stuck on the theory of steroid induced roid rage which is just not realistic. Now if the network news did research on the subject they would realize roid rage is a burst of rage and it doesn?t last long enough for someone to do murders hours apart. However steroids may still have something to do with it because they can lead to depression, anxiety, and paranoia and though together are a deadly mix. Also Steroids mixed with other drugs can create a deadly mix that can lead to some dangerous effects. So when Fox, NBC, CNN, and other networks discuss steroids make sure you get your facts straight and stop saying its roid rage because its obviously not.

Not only have Network News gotten information wrong about steroid abuse but have also just sunk to new lows. Fox News has been the shinning example of the media being irresponsible and just ignorant. Case in point on the O'Reilly Factor the host Bill O?Reilly pretty much blamed Nancy Benoit for her own death by claiming she should have left Chris to protect there child because Chris was dangerous according to Bill. Then earlier this week O?Reilly claimed he was going to interview Linda McMahon however he used a interview from 2002 and proceeded to attack WWE on their influence on kids and the Benoit Tragedy. Then Fox has peddled in guests who have absolutely no reason what so ever to be interviewed like the Ultimate Warrior, Shawn Stasiak, Lanny Poffo, and Chyna. Then the media?s version of Doink the Clown Geraldo Rivera has proven time and time again he doesn?t know anything about professional wrestling. That is fine you can?t expect everyone to know about the business but when you say Nancy Benoit died a week before she did and try to use the nickname Canadian Crippler to attack Chris Benoit it just makes you come off like a clown. Too make matters worst depending on the night CNN?s Nancy Grace has tried to cover a subject she has no clue about. The only highlight so far has been Dan Abrams of MSNBC because he stayed out of the conversation most of the time and lets the wrestlers talk.

Then you have the WWE which has proven without a shadow of a doubt that they are the biggest idiots on the planet. Within hours of steroids being discussed WWE seemed to come up with every excuse to try and change the media?s opinion. They introduced a theory about Daniel Benoit having Fragile X Syndrome, claimed Chris Benoit passed a drug test in April of 2007, and said Chris and Nancy Benoit were arguing about how to care for Daniel Benoit. Throughout all the theories the WWE point blank said in a press release that steroids had absolutely nothing to do with the tragedy.

The problem with WWE saying that is on July 3rd 2007 though claim was pretty much shot dead in the water. WWE has repeatedly pointed to the April drug test to prove Benoit wasn?t on steroids however his personal doctor Phil Astin has been charged and arrested for illegally handling prescription drugs. In fact U.S. Attorney David Nahmias called Dr. Astin a candy man for illegal drugs. Nahmias has claimed that over the last year alone Chris Benoit was getting 10 months worth of steroids every 3 to 4 weeks which would completely discredit their claim that Benoit passed a drug test. In fact it completely discredited their claimed that steroids had nothing to do with it.

Sadly that wouldn?t be their only claim to lose credibility as it looks like Daniel Benoit didn?t suffer from Fragile X Syndrome so it would make WWE?s claim of the Benoit?s arguing about child care, again useless. To make matters worst a report has said Chris was addicted to GHB. So if all of this is true how does WWE know the Benoit Tragedy had nothing to do with steroids? The question is they don?t and once again WWE tried to save their ass instead of really confronting the problem. As much as I have attacked the media in this column at least someone is starting to ask why so many are dying so young and nothing is being done?

The response to that question from the WWE?s side has been embarrassing from every standpoint. Just last week on Dan Abrams Live on MSNBC WWE attorney Jerry McDevitt completely bombed during an interview. McDevitt couldn?t give a simple answer as to why WWE came out with this press release claiming Steroids had nothing to do with it. When questioned about list of dead wrestlers over the past couple of years he said he?s never seen a list and claimed a majority of them have never worked for the WWE however wrestler and panelist for the segment Marc Mero had a list of 25 guys he wrestled who have died and claimed a majority worked for the WWE. Then McDevitt said only 5 wrestlers have died under WWE contract which is true however he forgets to mention a lot of people on that list worked for WWE with in 3 years of their deaths and to claim that WWE had no responsibility in that is just dodging the question.

That interview was just a mark on a long list of examples that the WWE doesn?t want to deal with the steroid and drug issues within the business. From WWE?s weak attempts in the 90s to enforce a policy to the building of the current Wellness Policy that is filled with loop holes the WWE has been irresponsible. WWE?s history of running from the problem and it has never been more evident then this tragedy. WWE took every mention of Chris Benoit down and put up things to save their own ass within 2 days of the news breaking. Vince McMahon himself said ?we had no idea this man was a monster? and then when questioned if Wrestling created that monster he claimed no. Well Mr. McMahon the time has come for you to wake up and realize enough is enough.

The WWE?s laziness and unwillingness to change has lead to these tragedies and deaths. Is WWE the only responsible company in the business for these issues? Obviously no, WCW is the same company who took Scott Hall and made him a drunk on TV when he had a drinking problem. ECW was the wasteland for wrestlers with problems and Heyman allowed it. TNA is the same company whose president Dixie Carter said ?we don?t have that problem? and weeks after this comment Shane Douglas their employee was placed in rehab. Professional Wrestling over the last 10 years alone has been pathetic in handling the drug issue and now its coming back to bite them in the ass.

If WWE and TNA don?t change then they are doomed to repeat history and over the last 22 years history has not been kind to the wrestling industry. That in it self brings up the question of wrestling being regulated. Major League Baseball once had a huge steroids issue and finally it caused the United States Congress to get involve and regulate the sport. Baseball however didn?t have the deaths that wrestling do and didn?t have the drug issues that wrestling does. So now you have to ask is time for Congress to regulate professional wrestling?

In my opinion yes Congress should regulate Wrestling because enough is enough. Vince McMahon has had every opportunity to change his polices and start really trying to do something for the business. The fact of the matter is while Vince has done some he hasn?t done enough and either has wrestling in general. At the end of the day you have to go to a quote from Jeff Jarrett on ESPN?s Quiet Frankly when questioned about a drug policy ??We?ll handle them as they come, unless there drawing money?. Some could argue Jarrett was joking but I think Professional Wrestling isn?t joking. Konnan on Headline News?s Nancy Grace made the great point of WWE?s Wellness policy would just pop a couple of small names and they never nailed the big names. So how can WWE, TNA, and any other company be trusted to monitor their own wrestlers? The answer is they can?t and it?s probably time for Congress or some other outside force to get involved. I am personally glad to hear that Republican from Florida Clifford Stearns is trying to get Congress involved because its time.

Now can WWE and TNA change it themselves? Yeah and there are very simple things they can do to make sure tragedies like Benoit and Guerrero never happen again. First off WWE needs to lay off the house shows its not 1980 anymore they are not needed. They need to cut at least one show a week so wrestlers are working 3 days a week and not 4. Also WWE and TNA both need to adapt a strict Drug Policy and enforce it for everyone including Triple H and Jeff Jarrett. WWE and TNA both need to make sure wrestlers don?t let the pressure get to them by just simply having someone there for the wrestlers to talk to. Lastly and this is a big thing they need to start pushing people who don?t look like their on steroids which would help the stereotype of wrestlers needing to be on steroids a lot. If you start putting these policies into your company you may not only save yourself the embarrassment of a congressional hearing but you may avoid tragedies like Chris Benoit from ever happening again.

The fact of the matter is its already catching up to Vince McMahon and Wrestling as ratings have gone down since the Benoit tragedy. In fact Raw and ECW has hit huge lows over the past two weeks and WWE seems to be clueless to the reason. When WWE officials try to figure out the issue look no further then in the mirror. When the Media thinks steroids is an issue in the Benoit Tragedy then it?s probably time to not push Bobby Lashley and Dave Batista who are two huge jacked up men all over your TV programs. Whether they are on steroids is not even an issue the fact is people think they are and to ignore that is stupid. Also WWE?s own wrestlers need to shut up and stop jerking off the company. A couple stars have said the coverage needs to be dropped and the media is irresponsible which is just putting a log on the fire and to make matters worst it makes you look guilty. Guilty or not of steroids defending WWE right now is not really smart when they won?t defend themselves.

Professional Wrestling at the end of the day needs to change. Whether Professional Wrestling itself brings on the change or congressional hearings forces it something needs to be done. Can Vince and Dixie change their companies for the better? Only time will tell but for the sake of everyone involved I hope they both do.

Until next time send feedback good or bad I will answer you.

Jason ?Xtremefalls? Simmons

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11:20, Jul 14 2007

Well done column Xtreme. I think that this is your best one yet. I share most of your feelings about this issue. At the end of the day, professional wrestling needs regulation and change, and as fans, we can't be complacent and say nothing. Well done man.

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