Fans are asking the question, "Who will replace Kurt Angle at WrestleMania," when they should be asking, "Who will have to die before the WWE slows down the pace"?
I may be going out on a limb here, but the growing number of WWE superstars joining the Neck Surgery For Men Club isn't hard to figure out. Edge and Angle's injuries both have been attributed to the constant grind of WWE action rather than any one particular bad bump. The insane bumps and breakneck pace of today's WWE matches have to slow down or the WWE will continue to lose superstars. There's no question that the WWE has to take a closer look at what they put their wrestlers through. The real question is whether or not fans will continue to watch if things slow down.
I'll be the first to admit that Mick Foley's fall off the cage in his Hell in the Cell match with Undertaker was one of the most exciting moments in all of entertainment whether you're talking music, sports, or television. As unbelievable and exciting as it was though, it wasn't worth the toll it took on Mick Foley's body and career. The WWE superstars have pushed the envelope time and time again to please their fans but isn't it time the fans said, "Enough." Will wrestlers have to start getting paralyzed or killed on a regular basis before things slow down?
The envelope has been pushed time and time again in the quest to entertain, but it's all too easy to lay the blame all on Vince McMahon. Part of the blame also lies with the superstars who sacrificed their bodies by performing outrageous moves to give the fans another "Holy Shit" moment. Whoever you blame, the fact remains, Pandora's Box has been opened and it can't be closed.
It wasn't always so, though. Back in the day (in my case, the early '80s) wrestlers sold a chairshot like a gunshot. Superfly Snuka was piledriven on the concrete by Ray "the Crippler" Stevens and he gushed blood by the buckets and had to wear a neckbrace while taking time off to sell the injury. I remember reading in one of the Apter mags about Pedro Morales getting hospitalized after a suplex outside the ring. Such a move was unthinkable then. Now it's given as much effect as a spitball.
It's no surprise that fans have been conditioned to expect nothing less than the Apocalypse in every match. Last year, the Rock got hit by a semitruck and he was back on TV in a couple of weeks with hardly a scratch.. Triple H was dropped off a forklift and managed to make his way onto TV the next day. Wrestlers kick out routinely after being clobbered by sledgehammers. The WWE Superstars have become WWE Supermen. Pretty soon we'll see wrestlers shrugging off hand grenades and nothing less than a smart bomb will be enough to get the 1-2-3.
Nobody says that we have to go back to the five minute chinlocks or Bob Backlund amateur snoozefests. There has been and always will be the need for some insane bumps. Superfly Snuka risked life and limb when he took his famous dives off the cage in MSG. The difference was, Snuka didn't do this every week like it was nothing more than executing a fingerlock.
Maybe the wrestlers need more time off but this seems unlikely with the grueling routine of the sport. In that case the solution is obvious-slow the matches down a notch and make the insane bumps few and far between (like on a major PPV). It will take time but condition the fans to treat things like chairshots as serious rather than just another move.?
Or the WWE can continue business as usual and let the bodies hit the floor.