For some wrestling fans, this is a controversial statement.
“In ECW, it was, Hit me as hard as you can with a steel chair, and you did not put your hands up. In 2016, there should never be another chair shot to anyone’s head at any level, because we know more about concussions and all that,” Dreamer told Live Audio Wrestling in an interview in which he also recounted a chairshot that his wife, the former ECW valet Beulah, took in a 2013 match that still affects her today.
Most wrestling fans understand that it doesn’t make a lot of sense for bookers to continue to write unprotected head chairshots into matches given what we know about the long-term impact of concussions.
Quite a few even wonder if it ever made sense, as if we didn’t know in ECW’s heyday, for example, what a steel chair to the cranium can do in terms of damage.
Before guys like Dreamer made it macho to take the shot straight to the skull, the rare appearance of the steel chair in a match would involve either a shot to the back and upper shoulders, or in the occasions when it would go higher would have the performer on the receiving end blocking most if not all of the blow with his hands and forearms.
Judging from the comments sections on wrestling news websites reporting on the Dreamer interview, though, there are still plenty of fans who think that removing the headshot from the repertoire is the coward’s way out.
Funny thing about that. None of these fans are signing up to take an unprotected chairshot to the head. For that matter, few of them have the wherewithal to climb from the floor into a ring.
It’s all fun and games when you’re watching on TV, indeed. You watch, you assume that the canvas is padded, for instance, which it’s not; if you’ve ever watched the crew build the ring hours before a show, you’d see that it’s canvas on top of wood planks on top of a steel frame, with little give.
The ropes that the performers bounce off are steel cables. The turnbuckles are padding on top of steel cables.
Everything you see in terms of bumps – body slams, suplexes, back body drops, all manner of takedowns – involves some level of pain.
There are ways to minimize that pain in terms of training on how to spread the force of the blows out across a wider area.
That’s how a chair shot the back can make some sense, because a wider area of the body with plenty of padding in terms of muscle is taking the blow.
A chairshot to the head involves none of that. There is no muscle to pad the blow, and the shot ends up being a direct hit that swishes the brain back and forth inside the skull to a point where a concussion is almost inevitable.
Me personally, I don’t want to be entertained at the expense of a guy losing a few years off the end of his life, and many more years of quality life ahead of that, for my sake.
Column by Chris Graham