In an interesting development, Chris Benoit's father Michael wrote an editorial published by The Hartford Courant about WWE's poor safety record and the evidence of brain damage suffered by his son and Andrew "Test" Martin.
Most people view wrestling as fake and the McMahon family pushed that theory to avoid regulation. But in its lust for higher ratings and dollars, WWE began demanding that performers use more weapons and dangerous stunts in wrestling matches. Although matches are rigged and scripted, the harsh physical abuse in the form of blunt force steel chair shots to the head and power bombs through tables onto cement floors are real. I believe that this change in the industry is responsible for the majority of deaths it experienced in the last 20 years.
The WWE and Linda McMahon evade any responsibility for the early deaths that their industry suffers at an astronomical rate. After the Martin tests were completed, I sought to educate the McMahons about the scientific findings on brain trauma and how their wrestling stunts could cause this serious and fatal health issue. They were having none of it. It was clear, the McMahons were more interested in making hundreds of millions of dollars at the expense of these wrestlers, whom they regard as little more than circus animals to be ridden until their value expires.
On CNN in 2007, Vince McMahon, Linda's husband, said they had stopped wrestlers from smashing each other's heads with chairs. That practice, however, was not ended until January of this year — scores of "head shots" later. There are still all sorts of weapons and stunts that the McMahons use to equally dangerous effect. For a sport that is "fake," there is an all too disturbing reality.
You might say that these young wrestlers make their own choices, and that is true. And the McMahons entice them with prospects for fame, wealth and glory that few achieve. If this were any other business or sport, there would be congressional hearings and laws passed to reform this dirty and dangerous enterprise. The McMahons have steadfastly held that wrestlers are just independent contractors and not entitled to health care benefits, pensions or unionization to represent their best interests.
This is how Linda McMahon made the money she uses for her Senate race. This is how she ran her business. This is the true character behind the fancy, Hollywood advertisements. I pray the people of Connecticut do not allow her to buy her way into the world's most distinguished legislative body.