----This site can be accused of many things. I am accused of "starting shit" or at least stirring it. I have been told that I don't know anything about the wrestling business, but in the same breath I have been told I "get it." It is hard to have real friends when you are considered the "press" and some guys will just quit talking to me, when I do not write good things about them. I will then be bashed until I actually say something good about them again, and then "bam" I am their friend again. My objectivity is questioned at times, but I think this site is able to give you news, gossip, opinion and results all wrapped up into a TMZ meets Wall Street Journal package. The current story with Jeremy Wood has been a true test of my objectivity and patience in sitting back and letting the story unfold without making judgment either way. Since I cannot tell you what happened the day Jeremy died or the day before he died, I cannot honestly give a judgment. The one thing I can do though, is to ask that we as a wrestling community band together to make sure that this sort of thing does not happen again.
----Two cases we have to look at:
-January, 2007: Nick Halpin, 28, was reportedly practicing moves with several other individuals when he fell unconscious. A 911 call Sunday from the New Blood Wrestling arena noted Halpin was suffering from heat exhaustion. Halpin died the next day. No negligence was found in this case.
-August, 2010: Jeremy Wood, 20, was reportedly practicing moves with several other individuals when he fell unconscious. Wood would be pronounced dead the Wednesday after the incident. Lt. Weatherford with the Newport Police Department stated in the KARK piece,
"Right now, after interviewing these people, we are not able to point our finger at any specific person or event that caused Mr. Wood's injuries."
----So, if both of these deaths are considered to have no negligence, is there still something that the wrestling community can do?? As I said, we need to band together with everyone involved - TV shows, promoters, commission, workers and RRO to find ways to ensure these tragedies are not repeated.
-TV Shows: The area currently airs TV with NEW and Jerry Lawler's Memphis Wrestling. Both of these shows need to step up and take some time to record a PSA [Public Service Announcement] to air on their TV shows. All it has to be is a 30 second spot featuring either the promoter or the workers saying things like, "Do not do these moves unless you are trained" and "if you want to become a professional wrestler, then please be trained by a professional." I think this would be very effective coming from guys like Jerry Lawler and Ken Wayne. If guys on Memphis Wrestling like Kevin White and Brian Christopher, who run a school, could come totally out of character, it would make the message seem stronger.
-Promoters: Please have your announcers make weekly announcements to tell the fans the same as in a PSA. Promoters also have to get an approved list of wrestling trainers that the whole community will support. The problem is that if you as promoter make the announcement, but then you have "Joe-Bob" become your head trainer, then you are just part of the problem. When someone asks to be trained, you should be able to hand them a piece of paper with contact numbers, instead of telling him to show up before the show next week and we will beat you up type of thing. Also, as a promoter, you need to make sure your crew are professionally trained. Your crew should be representatives of these approved schools. Don't put people in the ring that do not belong in the ring, just because you are trying to cut the budget. Do you think Ken Wayne or Jerry Lawler put guys in the ring that are not trained??
-Commission: There is a fine line here between TOO much and NOTHING. I believe there should exist a commission, but most commissions are one of two things. #1: They are so strict and treat wrestling as a total shoot that small promotions can not survive such as the commission in Missouri. #2: They exist just to get money and have no other real purpose. And in some states, a commission doesn't even exist. I think a person participating weekly in wrestling shows should be able to at least pass a physical exam. You must pass that to participate in high school sports, but not professional wrestling?? Promoters also have to step up here and get licensed as a promotion with all licensed workers. So, we need a commission to at least ask something of the promotions such as a physical, instead of just taking everyone's money.
-Workers: As a wrestler in this area, you have to step up and take some responsibility. Everyone is not going to be able to train guys. You can't just take someone's money and promise them you are going to make them a wrestler. And if the promoters would actually step up to this, then your normal "Joe-Bob" is not going to get you anywhere. As soon as a worker does not say he has been trained by the approved list, then as a promoter, as a fellow worker - YOU do not get to wrestle!! If you do train someone, you have to be a professional, instead of just doing super moves or beating the hell out of a new guy. You have to be approved by the community.
-RRO: I am willing to become the center of all of this change that needs to happen. The promoters, training centers and such have a central location that they can share information. There needs to be a meeting of sorts [even if it has to be via e-mail] that all the promoters sit down and make a decision on who trains and who is considered approved. This site is viewed by all the promoters in this area and 95% of the workers. If I can help to arrange some kind of seminar, meeting or PSA to help this problem, then I will be there to help. I plan to do my part at all the live events that attend in upcoming months and also during the Yearbook Tour in 2011.
-----Can there be a change?? Will the promoters, commission and workers in this area jump in to solve this problem? I know in the past promotions in this area do not seem to be able to work together, but this is a time that everyone needs to put aside their differences and make a difference. Do we really need more people dying to get something done??
Coach's Corner is a feature at RRO by Brian Tramel. Tramel was wrestling manager Coach BT in a former life with Coach's Corner being published on the internet during those days. He has since added it to RRO as his signature column.
Edited by Misty!! Thanks!!