Jim Ross comments on suspended superstars.

From J. R.’s Blog:

We have been hit with more negatively vented comments the past couple of days than I am going to suggest the webmaster post regarding the suspensions of several wrestlers regarding violations of the WWE’s Wellness Policy.

Some of these comments borderline on the insane ramblings of uninformed, albeit passionate people, who now have a new cause du jour to rally around. I must also point out that some of the comments were succinctly written, well thought out and heartfelt. Those might see “the light of day” but the voluminous, seemingly never ending ones will not.

The WWE’s Wellness Policy is real. It is also evolving and improving. Changes to this program needed to be made and are being initiated. The long term health of all WWE Superstars should be, and I feel, is the top priority of the company. It certainly is from my personal perspective. Talent and Television are what makes the WWE what it is today and one without the other is a recipe for less then desired success. Being a former head of talent, I have always, perhaps egocentrically, said that talent was the key to the WWE because that’s what the company is selling; talented, athletic, charismatic performers who draw fans into the talents’ personas by encouraging the fans to emotionally invest. Without talented and highly skilled men and women, what do the TV folks put on the tube? Again, that’s an old, talent guy talking.

Talent being the key to a wrestling company has been true since I was a kid and started watching wrestling on TV in the 1960s. It was the classic good vs. evil scenario with clearly defined reasons as to why “good” was battling “evil” inside a wrestling ring. I was hooked on the product as a small kid and have been ever since. Strong, personal issues between charismatic wrestlers/characters that came to life on our black and white TV screen when I was in elementary school are still memories that I cherish.

Times continue to evolve in all phases of our lives and even though many of us fondly remember and like to talk about the “good old days” and “how wrestling used to be” those days are largely history. That’s not to say most of us won’t still enjoy pro wrestling but it definitely won’t be our grandfather’s wrestling program. But neither is the NFL or Major League Baseball, etc for instance. Their game, the rules, the equipment, the fields, the TV production, etc has changed drastically since I was a kid even though I am a self professed dinosaur. But I still LOVE all levels of football and enjoy MLB’s playoffs and the World Series, for example.

The WWE has suspended several of its superstars this past week for the right reasons.

Some “fans” and many wrestling pundits/critics will say, “well, it’s about time”, or some might say, “it’s only because Congress is looking over the WWE’s shoulder”, and a few, I stress a few, might even say, “Good job, WWE.” You select any response you choose. That’s your right, but most likely the responses will be less than positive because that’s the type of society we seem to live in today. Good news doesn’t travel as fast as bad news nor is it as ratings worthy or as topical. Cable news shows rarely lead off their broadcasts with “good news” and there is a reason for that. It’s called ratings. Controversy does create cash.

I applaud the WWE for taking such a strong stance in suspending many of its Superstars for violation of policy. The WWE cut the wrestlers a break by not making their names public but will do so after November 1 to anyone who is in violation of the Wellness Program. Even though it would have not been totally fair, I would have been tempted to make these recent offenders’ names public on this go round. Most likely or at least in my personal opinion no one violated the Wellness Program inadvertently and everyone knew the ramifications. It will be interesting to see how many “fess up” to their indiscretions and admit their wrong doing and learn from this experience. How many will pass the buck and rationalize that what they did was somewhat, no matter how vaguely, the right thing to do under their particular and specific situations?

Not getting paid for 30 days and being largely forgotten on TV isn’t a good thing for any performer or wrestler. Adding the public embarrassment of the world knowing of the indiscretion will also be challenging and embarrassing for individuals to handle as it relates to their families, including their children, business associates, fans and themselves. Some of these wrestlers could easily lose six figures of income for their lack of judgment. That would definitely get my attention. And if it didn’t, I would suggest I did not belong in the organization. Period.

I don’t know how any of us are going to change the past and the tragedies that have occurred to another generation of wrestlers. I sure wish I could. We can’t bring back our many friends and peers who have left us too early. But we can do something about the future. Things can and must change going forward. And I believe they will.

As mortal beings we can only affect the present and the future to any degree. The past is history and history is to be studied and learned from.

I am saddened and disappointed in those that have been suspended. I hope they learn from their mistakes and can return to the roster and become positive role models to their teammates and to the fans. That opportunity exists. In the meantime, the absence of the offenders from the locker room will provide an extraordinary opportunity to those superstars who haven’t cheated and are still on the active roster. In all candor, I would say fans of the product are in for some interesting TV fare over the next several weeks. New faces in new scenarios isn’t a bad thing.

Opportunity knocks and I can’t wait to see who steps up.

As usual, I am not asking anyone to agree with my personal opinions. This space is my space to express myself and to provide a platform for the visitors of our site to do likewise much more often than not. If you are angered that your comment was not posted, then I apologize. However, there are plenty of forums that will encourage and solicit all the angst one might want to contribute.

I have been honest with you on this commentary and if that isn’t good enough, then so be it. No one asked me to write this nor did any one approve or disapprove it before it was posted in case some of the “Oliver Stone’s” out there might be thinking otherwise.

We will return to our regularly scheduled programming after I return from Columbus, Ohio. Until then your comments and feedback, as always, are encouraged and appreciated, as is your business.

Have a wonderful holiday weekend.


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