There’s a culture of silence within professional wrestling that almost rivals omerta, the rule in professional cycling to do with talking about drugs, steroid abuse and what goes on behind the scenes of something like the Tour de France. When you get caught doing something you shouldn’t in professional cycling, the response is to deny, deny, bribe your way out of it, deny, and deny again. After all, no team sponsor, or team, is going to stick with someone who has not only been accused of taking banned substances, but has also spoken out about the culture within the sport that demands they take these substances in order to succeed, are they?
Within wrestling, the silence is kept for similar reasons – especially once you hit the big time. WWE is, for a lot of their roster, where they’ve dreamed of being their entire lives, like playing premiership football versus a five-a-side in the park, taking the final step into making something a career instead of a job that makes little to no money, ruins your body, and make health insurance pretty impossible to get hold of. But with the rise of social media, the talent are becoming louder, not the voiceless automatons that corporate would prefer to have. We’ve had Titus O’Neil accepting his suspension gracefully, despite it being for the cardinal sin of trying to let a woman leave first/touching Vince McMahon and trying to steal his secrets of immortality or some shit. But other people don’t want to accept the company rules and regulations so easily, and won’t back down without calling out the company on their policies.
Now, we’ve got two WWE superstars speaking their minds about situations right now, and I’m going to let them talk on this, rather than taking my own standpoint. But either way, the talent speaking out is interesting, and it also puts a line in the sand. In a time where business are being pressed for more ehtical behaviour, and to be transparent, for WWE susperstars to be openign their months about unfair company treatment has got to be a blow for a product that, if we’re honest, everyone has known has ethical issues for a long time. None of us are blind to the institutional racism, the sexism, the imbalance for smaller guys… we’ve known this for so long. But with no one on the inside speaking out, maybe we’ve forgotten that these things have a human cost beyond what we talk about online, beyond dismissive comments made to friends.
Maybe, with people speaking out, we can shape the big time, the company everyone wants to be in, into something everyone wants to stay in. Something that isn’t all about money and job security and doing what you love in front of the biggest crowds – but is about being part of a supportive workplace, being in a company that gives a shit about you. Maybe between the talent speaking out, and the consumers making a fuss about this? We can make the company change for the better.
Firstly, we have Ryback talking about how losers of matches get less money – substantially less – than the guys who win, despite a pre-determined outcome meaning that both guys are just going out there to do what they’re told, and to work towards the same match ending. I’ve included an image of the first few paragraphs, but really, the whole thing deserves to be read on his tumblr.
Secondly, Adam Rose talking about taking Adderall and being pulled off for a Wellness Violation due to this medication, which he says WWE have known about for a year.