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Jon Moxley has a good idea for a pro wrestling concussion protocol

New Japan Pro-Wrestling ‘The New Beginning in Osaka’ Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

Last Saturday (Oct. 21), Jon Moxley returned to action for the first time since suffering a “minor” concussion early on in his match with Rey Fenix on the Sept. 20 Grand Slam edition of AEW Dynamite.

Mox told The Messenger he was concussed “30 seconds in” to the International title match in Queens, and sent him to “f***in’ outer space for like 10 minutes.”

“I just kept getting progressively more lost and couldn’t figure out where the f--- I was. Then I had this moment of clarity, ‘Oh, I’m f***ed up. I gotta get the f*** out of here.’”

In that case, an in-ring audible was called to end the match and have Fenix win the championship. But that call should have been made earlier, and it’s not how other in-match concussions — which have happened in every company — have been handled.

So what’s the best way to handle an injury that’s unfortunately always a possibility in almost any pro wrestling match? Mox has an idea. It’s something he’s clearly put some thought into, and we can’t say we’re heard a better one.

Before he laid it out to The Messenger, he acknowledged that pro wrestling presents unique challenges that don’t necessarily come up in so-called “real” sports where brain injuries are common:

“In pro wrestling, it’s a really touchy subject. Somebody’s gotta f***ing bring it up.

“Pro wrestling is such a strange thing. In football, if a guy goes down and he doesn’t go back to the huddle, you know he’s f***ed up. In pro wrestling, a lot of times it’s hard to tell what’s real and what’s fake.”

To account for those challenges, Mox proposes a two-man remote team:

“Maybe a really experienced wrestler and a really experienced doctor, who are trained to see signs of that sh**, are watching it on a separate feed. Even if they have a doctor close to ringside, what if the guy f***ing spills outside the ring? He doesn’t see that.

“The doctor and wrestler are completely untethered to the creative portion of it. They have no idea nor any interest in what the story is, who wins, who loses or how long it’s supposed to go.”

It’s obvious why the doctor is monitoring the match. The unaffiliated wrestler is there as the doctor’s kayfabe consultant.

“If a guy f***ing spins around or something and the doctor goes, ‘Is he OK?’, the wrestler can tell him, ‘That’s just a pro wrestling thing. Don’t worry.’”

If it’s not “just a pro wrestling thing”, the doctor has the final say:

“As soon as the doctor sees a sign of somebody being concussed, he just hits the f***ing red button. Boom, this is over. No matter how much time is left. No matter if it’s on live TV. It’s just over, and you figure it out from there.”

The only tweak I’d suggest would be to tell the concussion-monitoring team if a worked injury is planned for the match. Even if it saves a couple seconds worth of discussion between the doctor and the wrestler, those seconds could prove valuable in some situations.

Beyond that, while pulling the plug on a big television or PPV match will impact not only that show but future shows, that’s a small price to pay for wrestlers’ health. Bookers and creatives are always talking about how they have to be flexible due to injury and other changes the pro wrestling business can throw at them. This would just be another way that could happen.

One big obstacle to implementing Mox’s plan — or anything that calls for matches to be stopped at the first sign of a concussed wrestler — is the business’ long-standing “the show must go on” ethos. But if a pro wrestler’s wrestler like Moxley can move past that, here’s hoping everyone else in the business can too.

The other issue is cost, especially for smaller promotions and especially shows that aren’t televised or streamed. That’s the kind of thing a wrestler’s union could address, and fight to have included in a collective bargaining agreement. Sadly... well, you know.

Anyway, let us know what you think of Moxley’s proposal in the comments below.

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