After the tragic murder-suicide last week involving Benoit, it looks like Congress and the sports media glossed over one of the biggest industries in professional sports, which has a storied history of rampant steroid and prescription drug abuse. That “sport” is professional wrestling.
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It’s this complicit attitude of dismissing professional wrestling as a garbage sport that has allowed the rapid physical and mental deterioration of wrestling’s performers to slide under the radar. The pro wrestling environment does not foster long-term employment. It has always been an outlaw sport, but the stakes have gotten higher as more of the marketing share in the business is concentrated in one company — WWE.
The problem with regulating professional wrestling – and the reason it is no longer regulated by state athletic commissions – is that it is a spectacle, not a sport. Truly, it is performance art.
I, for one, doubt that athletic commissions (or whoever may implement regulation) can adequately draft regulations to distinguish between professional wrestling and other stage performances. And, taking this line of reasoning to reductio ad absurdium, do we really want to implement government mandated drug testing to protect actors in Broadway plays?