Reality From Ringside #13
May 11, 2009
By: Doug Lackey of

For the past few weeks, I have been bringing to light very harsh and bitter realities. They may be pieces of truth we as wrestling enthusiasts don?t like to admit but they need to be aired out with the rest of the dirty laundry of the industry. This week’s topic is no different, as it is one that I have a very difficult responsibility trying to put into words. I?m sure by looking at the title of this week’s edition you could surmise what I am trying to write about.

There are a handful of performers that need to retire. Not later on in the calendar year. Not during the most celebrated events of their respective company’s schedule. A merciful killing of their illustrious career needs to take place right now before their bodies take too much of a toll and begin to tarnish what we know them for. While they may be given lighter working schedules and the occasional cameo appearance for a main event in a pay-per-view, it needs to end now before we begin to see them as a withered decrepit shell of their former glory.

Sting is an athlete that no one can ever doubt when it comes to resilience and perseverance. From his wild ambitious youth of multi-colored face-paints to his time-honored monochromatic present, Sting has been performer that many purists would consider their first to ?mark? to. His matches with Ric Flair archived for many to analyze and admire, Sting is also one of the very few performers to not seek refuge in the evil empire housed in Connecticut. Injuries now plague him and his only glory is to be found in a second-rate federation that has now become a refuge for employees of the same evil empire he has kept from.

I used to attend group therapy sessions during the debacle in WCW known as the NWO break-up. How many separate factions were there of the original, like 32? Wasn?t Sting trying to combat this group of miscreants? Why did he side with them? More important to the fact, why is this same thing happening in TNA with the Main Event Mafia? I?m relapsing into a place I do not want to return to, and combining it with the mediocre production quality of TNA’s programs it makes it doubly painful.

Sting? please? just lose the title match you will be competing in for the next pay-per-view. End this insanity now, not just for my own sake, but for the sake of your own legacy. I would rather celebrate the career of ?The Stinger? than tread through the muck of ?The Mafia’s Designated Hitter? with Louisville Slugger in hand. I?m sure I heard a faint ?amen? somewhere out there.

He has been hobbling up the ramp after every show he has performed in. We used to stand with jaws dropped as he hulked the body bag encasing his finished opponent towards the back. Now he winces in agony and pain before raising his fist high in the air on top of said ramp. We have admired his prowess and followed his legendary career through the shames of ?The Executioner? and ?Giant Gonzales? followed by the claims of many an unfortunate souls. The list is long, the history is deep, but his body cannot take much more.

Rumors of The Undertaker’s injuries and potential surgeries grow every week. He has performed through them all and nearly gave us all a Dale Earnhardt-like moment at Wrestlemania 25; I swore I thought he had broken his neck and ended his career in front of my own eyes, like a swan dive into an empty pool. The madness needs to end. His suffering and grimacing need to stop.

The Undertaker was the first performer I ever ?marked? to. ?Taker never ceased to amaze me with is entrance, his ominous and eerie presence in the ring, and his blood-curdling interviews and monologues. Just like Sting, he would have his periods of mediocrity, as many of us are still trying to erase the memory of ?Big Red Devil?. Shockingly enough, Limp Bizkit couldn?t tarnish this man’s legacy. I will always remember him for his casket matches and his body bags. I do not want to remember him for hobbling up the ramp after every match like a withered old man? end it now, please!

This is all just too much for me to bear but unfortunately, I?m not through yet.

There is no funnier man behind a microphone then this current member of the Main Event Mafia. Ten years ago, he used to be an intimidating force in the ring with his size-up elbows in the corner followed by his ?jackknife? powerbomb. Now he is known for rigorous injuries to his knees and unknown illnesses due to unsanitary conditions? I don?t really want to know how he got the staph infection, and please don?t litter my mailbox with the reasons? some things are better left to be unknown.

Kevin Nash used to be hilarious and brutal at the same time. He used to be an imposing figure inside the ring. Now he looks like Kenny Rogers in platform boots fronting a group of performers who believe they are entitled to everything because of how long they have been in the business? it’s not that I don?t like the persona he has taken on, I just don?t like how pathetic the turnaround is. Seeing Nash lift his right leg upward to attempt a big boot off the ropes causes me to sigh in relief because he didn?t fall over due to the lack of equilibrium or he didn?t break his brittle kneecap from slamming it back down on the mat.

Last fall, Pro Wrestling Illustrated released their annual ?PWI 500?, a ranking of the top 500 professional wrestlers in the world. Now I know Nash was injured throughout most of that year, but so was John Cena.

?Now hold on a second,? you proclaim, ?you can?t compare Kevin Nash’s staph infection with John Cena’s neck surgery! They?re two completely different injuries and two completely different performers! Nash has gotta? be at least 40 years older than Cena!?

So? He’s in an organization that has been touted as an alternative to the evil empire. If he is to be promoted as a headlining, main event talent then he needs to be compared to such. Cena was ranked ninth out of 500? Nash was ranked 186. For God’s sake, Lance Cade outranked him (80), and he was released from WWE in October of that year!

Nash? please? just end this madness. TNA has become a refuge for elder statesman like you and needs to desperately transform into the viable alternative it claimed to be. Do it for yourself and your decaying frame, do it for the company you helped to form, but more than that, do it for the fans who remember your dark hair and want to forget you?re gray.

I know I?m going to get a lot of flack for this? asking for the resignation or retirement of not only these great athletes, but for potentially many others who are beginning to enter the final stages in their career (And no, Batista, just because you?re turning 40 doesn?t mean you?re nearing the end of the road? tell that to the man who taught you). The reason I have not mentioned Shawn Michaels is roughly because he has acknowledged his time is coming? although I would like his time to come sooner than later. Not everyone can retire at Wrestlemania or when they would like the lights to be the brightest for themselves.

What needs to be realized is these organizations need to grow, and clutching onto the past does not help with that effort. Prolonging the inevitable or holding your own glorified ?farewell tour? only keeps the youth of your respective organizations from growing. I?m not speaking of the ones we have already witnessed on televised broadcasts; I?m talking about the ones yet to be discovered. The next great professional wrestler of our generation (for me, the aftermath of Gen-X) could be waiting in the wings but we will never see him/her in action because the performers and promoters want the timing for retirements and send-offs to be just right. Professional wrestlers? bodies are not exactly well-tuned machines; they deteriorate greatly over time? I would think I don?t need to bring up examples of that, it’s just fact. Time is of the essence.

For those of you, who don?t agree with my sentiments about just ending these legendary careers now instead of waiting for the roses to be in bloom so the path is strewn, understand this. I?m not asking for a letter and a bulletin on an organization’s website ?wishing them well in their future endeavors?. I?m asking for the ceremonies and reflections to be as swift as possible. Retire The Undertaker after his final match has reduced his hips and knees to brittle cracker crumbs. Send off Kevin Nash after he has given his final all in a TNA Title match against Mick Foley or someone else that could possibly make him look menacing. Finally, hopefully Sting will lose his upcoming match at Sacrifice and make his exit a graceful one. The method is not what I?m arguing for; it’s the expeditious nature of it.

If you still disagree with me though, damn it, tell me! You have no problem seeing ?Taker scowl up the ramp in pain with the aid of a walker? Convince me how that is a good thing. Kevin Nash rubbing two pounds of Icy Hot on his silver-haired knees before every match on the ring apron sounds appealing to you? Assure me that is pure entertainment. Email me at ? humor me with your excuses. I?m sure they will be much more entertaining than glancing at the rumor mills every week to read if an aged performer is willing to walk behind the woodshed and take the bullet? or cling onto what’s left just to have a moment like Ric Flair’s? a moment that has made every experienced professional wrestler envious and every prospective professional wrestler wait that much longer.

Until next time, mouth-breathers!