At his official website, Raven put up a rather interesting blog post where he talks about chairshots to the head, steroids, booking logic, and more as part of a "current wrestling pet peeves" list:
I would like to point out a few of my current wrestling pet peeves. It could be written more clearly and concisely but I dont have much time before I have to go out of town but I wanted to get them off my chest.
A) Chairshots to the head should only be banned if you dont know how to throw one properly. A suplex can be deadly in the wrong hands. If you throw a chair shot correctly, or know how to bump so the chair shot only grazes you hard enough to make a noise, they are fine. It is idiots who swing for the fences or morons who dont bump with them that should be banned.
B) I guarantee you that more concussions are had by wrestlers from endless nonsensical high spots that the sheets promote as making a better match than chair shots to the head.
C) I guarantee you that more concussions are had by wrestlers from working strong style that the sheets promote as making a better match than chair shots to the head.
After the jump, we'll look at the rest of Raven's list and Dave Meltzer's reply.
D) Dreamer's kids have been actresses since about 2 years old. They know what acting is. They were introduced to Tommy's friend Scotty (thats me) before the match and told that is was all acting. After the show, all bloody, I went up and talked to the girls to see if they were ok. They were laughing and said they had a great time. They thought the whole thing was a blast. Huh? But how could that be? Dont they have to be traumatized? Ever think that each case is a little different and should be treated as such. How bout giving Tommy credit for being a wonderful father who would never harm his little girls for the world and made sure they knew exactly what would happen ahead of time, and if he for an instant thought it would be problematic, he would have left that spot out completely.
E) Get some f@#king facts before you disparage shit.
For example 1): One of the guys they put over for looking good and cleaning up was the only person f@#ked up out of his gourd which was obvious to anyone watching a Tv except them.
For example 2): For years the sheets would always say, how come so and so always happens to have the right pair of keys to open the handcuffs when they would be handcuffed allowing them to escape at the most fortuitous moments? What they didnt know, nor decided to look into was that all f@#king handcuff keys are the same. Yet they spent years dogging any and all matches when someone would happen to have keys to escape.
The sheets arent always right. They thought Sean Waltman early in his career was one of the greatest wrestlers in the world. Same with Sabu. A couple years later, when both actually became the incredible workers the sheets thought they had been (which both Sean and Sabu will tell you, they werent nearly as good as they became and the sheets were wrong), the sheets are shitting on both for not being as good as they used to be because they didnt have the kind of matches the sheets wanted, non stop action without a story. In Hollywood, movies with non stop action and no stories are called crap. The sheets are quite often wrong, and there is a word for people who follow them without thinking for themselves, it is sheep.
F) The sheets crapped on the former ECW guys who werent in shape, but decry when wrestlers used steroids. Make up your mind. Benoit who until he became a double murderer was the biggest steroid user in the business and without steroids he never would have had a career, yet he was never buried for it. Other guys were. Dont you love people who pick and choose their favorites when condemning society.
G) Finally to all the sheet writers, if you were really as strongly convicted about stopping all the deaths in wrestling, you'd stop watching wrestling and supporting such a horrible business, you'd stop making money off it, you would try and get your readers to stop watching, and you would fight for what you claim to believe in, like getting us health care or what not. But no, you prefer to sit in your ivory tower decrying every death, then writing all about it waiting for the next death and continue to line your pocketbooks like the carpetbaggers you are. Which makes you pompous, holier than thou assholes.
Dave Meltzer commented on the post on his message board:
He's allowed to give his opinion.
Some points are valid, to a degree, but his generalization, particularly on subjects where he ignores at least what I've written, loses me. When you write "the sheets" as an all encompassing word is naturally going to lose me because not all writers think alike, and he generalizes. That would be like me, after a bad match with guys past their, saying every pro wrestling match sucks and all pro wrestlers are old and not in condition.
The other was if it's bad, stop watching it. That's like what a five year old would say and I'd expect more from him.
Also, Bryan and I CONSTANTLY complain about unsafe spots and blows to the heads, from chairs or anything. For all his complaints regarding styles and safety, while there have been tragedies in New Japan strong style (Takayama, although he came from both a worked style where he was known for letting guys all out punch him in the face, and he took some brtual beatings in MMA and pro wrestilng; Fukuda although that was a doctor screwing up, Hashimoto died young but that wasn't from beatings as much as high blood pressure and being overweight) they pale in comparison to the tragedies resulting from those who worked ECW in the 90s. So the idea of one being safer than the other long-term, the facts point in the opposite direction and strongly so. Both styles have their dangers but he's backing the horse with the worst record of the two.
Please, how many times have I written about steroids in regard to Benoit & Guerrero? That's part of the tragedy of the business. Eddie Guerrero was as talented a wrestler as there was in the world in 1994 and if there was no Paul Heyman, it is very questionable whether his career would have ever gotten past New Japan and AAA. Without steroids, it's almost a surety that it wouldn't have. Exactly who was clamoring to sign an on steroids Eddie Guerrero in 1994 after he just wrestled the match of the year on a U.S. PPV. WWF? No. WCW? No.
Bringing up the handcuff stuff because of how I'd write how stupid whenever there was a handcuffing angle that somehow the refs would have trusty keys after the angle was from 90s WCW. That's a long time to keep things pent up.
While he's mostly right, I think that Meltzer is missing Raven's point with regards to steroids. Sure, he wrote plenty about Benoit's steroid use after his death, but he was one of the most blatant steroid abusers in wrestling before that (though forums were full of people saying he looked like he was clean) and I don't ever recall reading comments in the Observer about how ridiculous he looked. I can't think of many cases of "great worker" types who was scrutinized and/or joked about in the pages of the Observer itself at the level that the "stiffs" were. That said, I'm not accusing Dave of having a personal double standard, as he's made comments about how ridiculous it was that people gave the Steiner Brothers a pass for ostensible steroid use "because they're good workers," as well as being part of this story told by former newsletter writer John Williams:
I think I've joked over the years about Meltzer and I seeing Benoit jogging around an arena hours before a New Japan show in March 1995. Chris was extremely "stiff" in his running, in an over muscled, harder to move way. Meltzer's comment while watching him was that he looking like "Little Hawk" - an juiced out of his mind junior heavyweight. Chris stopped after he was done doing laps to talk to us, so it wasn't just a distant observation of him, but up close. It was the biggest Dave had ever seen him up to that point, and frankly Dave had been watching his career longer than just about anyone at that point and across every promotion and country he worked in. "Alarmed" would be the way I would describe Dave's reaction to the size.
On the topic of concussions, I think this is a case of both having good points. I don't believe that Raven was referring specifically to New Japan when he mentioned "strong style," as even though it was their own name for their style, it's been co-opted to refer to harder hitting Japanese style wrestling in general, and there have been a lot more major head injuries in Japan (like with Naohiro Hoshikawa becoming severely impaired and wheelchair bound, as well as the deaths of Plum Mariko and Emiko Kado). As far as US-based wrestlers, Mike Quackenbush wrote in his biography years ago about the permanent damage that he had thanks to a series of concussions. Bryan Danielson, who started as a high flier and moved on to a harder hitting style, had 8 concussions that he knew of by late 2001. Nigel McGuinness/Desmond Wolfe wasn't hired by WWE because he failed a physical, and it's widely believed that this was due to brain damage. Chris Benoit fit into this box, too (both stylistically, though he did take a number of hard chair shots to the back of the head. The hardcore style has been plenty of damage, too, with Mick Foley's memory issues and Mike Awesome's suicidal depression being the most notable cases. I don't think one should necessarily be branded as worse as much as hard shots to the head should be done away with.