On Benefits For Wrestlers: “We all complain about it, we all say, oh, man, we don’t have any healthcare, we don’t have any pensions, we watched our heroes and the people we looked up to our whole life wind up broke or injured or dead, and it hurts us, we always complain about it,” she says, adding that only 5 to 10 percent of those in the business earn the kind of top-flight salaries that ensure financial independence. “But there’s a difference between complaining and doing something about it.”
On What Made Her Start Wrestlers Rescue “The last straw was when I was sitting in Chicago at a convention called the Wizard, and The Iron Sheik was at a table directly in front of me, and this man was falling asleep at the table,” she remembers. “As fans came by, he would lift up and be like, ‘Sheikie Number 1.’ It was like a record, like you’d hit play. ‘Sheikie Number 1,’ doing it out of his sleep. And that broke my heart.
“But what really was the last straw was when his agent wheeled him by me in a wheelchair. And I said, ‘Sheikie where are you going?’ And he said, ‘Gonna Marie, Sheikie go to the bathroom. You watch Sheikie’s gimmicks. And at that moment I looked at my assistant, Michele, and I swear, I was holding back tears. And I said, ‘This has got to stop. This has to stop. This is ridiculous. This man has to rely on an agent or someone else to wheel him to the toilet.’
“I looked at it and it just hit me like a ton of bricks,” she continues. “This is absolutely insane that this is happening. And nobody’s speaking up. Nobody’s doing anything. Nothing’s changing. We have an epidemic in this industry, and the epidemic is this: You fight like hell to get a career, if you’re fortunate to be one of the chosen few you have a career. And then as you’re on your way down, you filter out and you go back to where you started on the indys to ride out your fame and name, and then 10, 15, 20, 30 years down the road, your body starts feeling the damages that were done during your fame and working past your prime because you have no other way of making money.”
For more from Dawn Marie and more information about The Wrestlers Rescue Convention & Autograph Signing, click here. (Thanks to Josh Stewart)