I read this article about Amanda Bynes, who has been the train wreck of all train wrecks. It seems that a doctor diagnosed her with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and I finally was able to make a connection to wrestling that didn’t involve a conspiracy theory.
At first, I thought the former child star of Nickelodeon fame was working everyone, a modern day Andy Kaufman. No one can be that whacked out of her skull but after 22 years in wrestling, I think everything is pre-determined… yes, the NBA finals. Everything…
But now with this diagnosis, I see that Amanda Bynes isn’t Andy Kaufman, she’s everyone who has lost their mind while working in the WWE. I never went off the deep end like Amanda but I worked with many who did.
It’s the pressure to succeed plus the subjective nature of pro wrestling combined with the non-answers to legitimate questions asked by the wrestlers that drive them crazy. Let me explain…
All top athletes deal with the pressure to succeed but they can point to the scoreboard to say who won and who lost. Who did well and who failed. Wrestling is subjective and as such, it doesn’t provide the athlete a way to quantify their performance. That’s why the WWE’s plan to recruit football players won’t mean they get great pro wrestlers.
One great skill the WWE cultivates with their Talent Relations people is the ability to talk in circles. Simple question… so, are you going to hire so-and-so? “Well, he’s got a lot going for him. He’s a good hand. I really like him. It’s not up to me. If it were up to me, I’d hire him yesterday.”
That was an actual conversation I had with someone from there. Can’t get a straight answer out of anyone. Imagine hearing that type of non-information all day, every day.
They don’t want to give a straight answer because they don’t want to run counter to This Week’s Plan. Since The Plan changes every week, your job in Talent Relations/Talent Development is to keep your job.
Since The Plan changes every week, WWE folks may get it right this week but could get screamed at next week for doing the same thing which is now completely wrong.
It’s a wonder they aren’t all crazy in Stamford.
What’s the “Problem” With Pro Wrestling?
BJ Whitmer got hurt at a ROH event in Toronto and it was eerily reminiscent for me to the night that Owen Hart gave Stone Cold Steve Austin a piledriver at SummerSlam 97.
Owen felt terrible, Steve never forgave him and policies changed regarding certain moves.
Whenever something bad happens, some ask for changes to be made.
You want change? You want to reduce injuries in professional wrestling?
Stop bumping. Or at least greatly reduce it… like 80-90% less per match.
Every time a wrestler falls on the mat, it’s equivalent to a slow speed car accident. Bigger bumps, bigger toll. More bumps, more damage done.
Bump, feed, bump, feed… stop it! Comebacks are hokey. Why take the bump? Who’s the mark?
That doesn’t mean all wrestling needs to be comedy. Just the opposite… the toughest boxers never get knocked down but every fight can be a slugfest.
Steve Austin didn’t get a bad neck from one piledriver. He got it from all the bumps. The mistake by Owen didn’t help but wrestlers can have longer careers if they stop falling down so much.
Companies need to lead their athletes in the right direction. Surround young wrestlers with experienced guys who KNOW how to get MORE out of LESS.
Are we ready to have an adult conversation about this going forward or do we just want to point fingers?
Thoughts? Write to me on Twitter @RealKevinKelly