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After Wrestlemania, it looks like WWE has unbanned chairs to the head

Last night at Wrestlemania 27, one of the key spots in the show-stealing Triple H vs The Undertaker match was Triple H nailing Undertaker with a running chairshot to the head.  Undertaker may have gotten a hand up at the last second, but as hard as the shot hit, that probably didn't help matters much at all.  After the match, while he may have been selling as part of a planned angle to explain his latest hiatus, he looked awful, barely moving, and was taken to the locker room on a stretcher that was placed on a motorized cart.

Your mileage may vary as to how legitimate the post-match was.  In his live report of the show, Dave Meltzer of F4WOnline figured it was mostly a work because the trainers weren't being as careful as you'd expect them to when moving him.  Since there have been times in the past where a wrestler was legitimately injured and wasn't tended to properly (Candice Michelle's injury on Raw a few years ago comes to mind) and it didn't mesh with Undertaker's gimmick, I'm not so sure.  And even if a lot of the post-match was a show, it doesn't really matter.

After wavering on the idea for a while, WWE eventually made it clear they were banning chairshots to the head and they've been gone for a while now.  I'm sure you may be thinking "Well, Triple H and Undertaker have so much pull that they won't get in trouble, so maybe they decided to do it on their own for a big Wrestlemania match."  I would, too, except for what happened on the house show on March 25th in Champaign, Illinois.  Sheamus defended the U.S. Title against Daniel Bryan in a street fight.  Sheamus got the win after stopping Bryan's tope with a chair to the head in mid-move.  The spot was made most famous by Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit in their ladder match at the 2001 Royal Rumble, where Benoit took the full force of the chair while rocketing into it.

Two guys who were considered insignificant enough to be bumped from Wrestlemania were allowed to do a chairshot to the head.  I think that the two incidents are, unfortunately, enough of a sign to lead us to believe that chairshots to the head have been unbanned.  I'm not sure I need to go into why this is a bad idea again, but I'll say this: As someone who believes that the repetitive flat-back bumps may very well be a big part of brain damage in wrestling (how else do you explain Andrew "Test" Martin having about the same level of damage as Chris Benoit with his many headbutts and a habit of taking chairshots to the back of the head, which is even more dangerous) and that the style of bumping should be changed, I know it's not a change we'll ever see.  Chairshots to the head are just plain stupid and beyond unecessarily, and at least a decent amount of people seem to understand that.  I'm afraid that it's not enough people, though.

Meanwhile, Daniel Bryan is a guy who was just three years into his career in 2001 when told an interviewer that he had already suffered seven concussions.  He suffered at least one other confirmed concussion in a ROH match (which was disgustingly used as a selling point for the DVD).  There may be many more we don't know about, as he worked a hard style and had multiple matches with Nigel McGuinness (now Desmond Wolfe) in TNA where there repeatedly butted heads like rams.  McGuinness also headbutted the ringpost during one of these matches.  Eventually, he was about to be signed by WWE, but he failed the pre-signing physical exam for an undisclosed reason.  TNA was fine with taking him, though.  Lo and behold, after TNA finally had their wrestlers get physicals last year, he was shelved for another undisclosed medical issue and hasn't wrestled since.

There have generally been two schools of thought as to why he failed the physicals: It was some sort of arm/shoulder issue (he had severe muscle tears during his ROH run because he used stiff clotheslines constantly and...umm...maybe some other reasons) or he's suffered severe brain damage.  I've always believed it was the latter, both because it just makes sense and because I don't understand the secrecy otherwise.  Dave Meltzer has disagreed because they were open about other concussions like Ken Anderson's, but I feel that misses the point: This isn't "just a concussion," this is signing someone who WWE refused to sign over a major medical issue (akin to signing multiple wrestlers who were fired from WWE over drug issues) and then suspending him after they conducted their own physicals.  It makes TNA look horrible, which a wrestler getting a concussion due to an in-ring accident doesn't.

Anyway, I know this article has been kinda stream of consciousness, but this situation is ridiculous and depressing.  Hard shots to the head with anything are stupid, beyond unnecessary, and incredibly dangerous.  Daniel Bryan and Sheamus can have a great match without a chair to the head.  The Undertaker vs Triple H would've been just as great without a chair to the head.  Just stop doing such a stupid thing already.  You're already doing enough damage to yourselves, but this is just too much.

If you hurt your knees, shoulder, back, etc., you're still you.  If you suffer severe enough brain damage from wrestling, you're not you anymore.  That's what happened to Naohiro Hoshikawa.  After suffering a concussion, he didn't take time off and wrestled a scheduled match where he took a powerbomb from close to the top of the cage and then several hard clotheslines to the head.  Since then, he's been confined to a wheelchair.  The last I heard several years ago, he usually couldn't remember who any of his old friends were.

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