It’s me, it’s me, it’s JDB…
The year is 1995. In an ECW feud with Tommy Dreamer, Mick Foley did something rather unexpected in that time. He became the “anti-hardcore” wrestler. Foley would deliver some of the best promos in wrestling history during this time, and quotes from these promos bear repeating. This especially from his “The Problem with Being Hardcore” promo.
“We give of our selves, of our body, of heart and of our souls. And for each one of that gives, there’s bloodthirsty, low-life fans out there only willing to take.” – Mick Foley | 1995
At last night’s AEW Blood and Guts, a brutal and bloody wargames-style match took center stage. This is after Darby Allin essentially threw himself down a flight of concrete stairs after taking multiple bumps. Even Cody Rhodes juiced a little last night.
While the match was sloppy at times, the main event was full of brutal spots, lots of blading, and overall chaos that you’d expect from the headliner of a show called “Blood and Guts”.
After Jericho took a bump off the TOP of a cage, something incredibly stupid happened:
Fans started to complain…
It wasn’t about the storytelling that concluded with MJF forcing surrender from the Inner Circle with threats of seriously injuring their leader. It was the simple fact that Jericho landed on a crash-pad.
After seeing NXT superstar Shotzi Blackheart’s Twitter response to the spot with her own cheeky video of a woman falling on a comfy bed, I realized something about wrestling fans…
Wrestling Fans Ask Too Much
“What is it with you? Is it ignorance or apathy?” – Mick Foley | 1995
Last night was a damn good show. Omega and Cassidy has been teased for Double or Nothing. SCU faces a potential break-up of their tag team when they face the Young Bucks in a week (if they lose just one match they’re disbanded forever). Even Cody Rhodes is putting over a potential star in Anthony Ogogo. We get Darby Allin and Ethan Page feud with years of history behind it, and to top it off, Britt Baker vs. Hikaru Shida was announced for Double or Nothing.
But Chris Jericho, a 50-year-old man, fell from atop a cage onto a crash-pad covered in stage props, and all hell breaks loose.
What is wrong with you folks?
Should he have taken the fall onto a bed of nails? Should the blood and guts match have offered actual disembowelments to keep with the namesake? Perhaps a live human sacrifice would have quenched the fans’ thirst much better.
This is Wrestling, Not Bloodsport
“How many of you have dialed up the Dynamite Kid and said ‘Kid, thanks for the dives to the concrete floor. Sorry that you don’t have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out. But thanks for the memories.'” – Mick Foley | 1995
All Elite Wrestling has delivered a lot of “blood and guts” through their short history, yet some fans demanded more from an already dangerous spot. The takeaway wasn’t supposed to be ‘Jericho lands on crash-pad’. The takeaway is that the leader of the Inner Circle has been taken out of commission, and that The Pinnacle has risen into the top spot.
Why AEW naysayers expected anything more than honest storytelling shows me their true colors:
They don’t care about the health and well-being of professional wrestlers, they only care about being mindlessly entertained. For my money, this can be said for just about any promotion that promises even a hint above the norm of expected violence during a wrestling match.
Even if Mick Foley was in the midst of a short-lived gimmick change at the time, he was right about many wrestling fans. For some, the bloodshed is simply never enough, and they expect far too much from those in the ring.
These are human beings, taking risks for our entertainment and love of the sport. If you can’t take yourself out of the element of wrestler safety to enjoy the story being told in a match, perhaps you’re not the right kind of wrestling fan the industry needs right now.
I know that sounds harsh, but we have so much fantastic wrestling at our fingertips nowadays. We can enjoy so many different types of wrestling that caters to specific interests, yet people are still complaining about something so trivial as a wrestler’s safety.
Whether or not you thought the crash-pad made it look “fake” is beyond the point. Sometimes it’s best just to take a beat and enjoy the story for what it is.