Last night, a fan attacked WWE superstar Seth Rollins during Monday Night Raw. The fan came from the stage and slammed into Rollins as he was walking up the stage and the two were grappling on the floor until referees and security got involved. Rollins emerged with a cut on his lip while the fan was ejected and charged with “attempted assault and attempted violation of arts and cultural affairs (disrupting a live sporting event).” It’s the second fan attack on a wrestler at Barclays Center after a fan attacked Bret Hart during the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony in 2019.

It didn’t take long for someone who remembered the “good ol’ days” a lot more fondly than it actually was to make a point about how today’s wrestlers aren’t as tough because Rollins didn’t beat the fan half to death. Chavo Guerrero jumped on that grenade for the old school crowd.

Yes, in generations past, if a fan entered the stage or the ring it was anything goes. Go back further, back when fans thought wrestling was “real,” some promotions mandated that if you lost a fight to a fan in public you were fired. So yeah, if you’re trying to put 1980s logic in something from 2021, Rollins looked weak by not attacking the fan.

However, there are three reasons why Rollins was right to get out and it has nothing to do with a lack of toughness.

1) It’s still live TV. Rollins knew that the camera was on him as he walked up the stage. It’s still live TV so it made sense to get out and get to a position where the camera can get back on him to continue the show.

2) At the point where Rollins could escape to actually be able to throw a punch, there are four or five refs and security people subduing the guy. Where is Rollins supposed to hit and not accidentally hit someone else? At his feet?

3) For better or worse, we are a much more litigious society now than even 20 years ago. Yeah, the guy broke the law and maybe deserves to be beaten within an inch of his life but given WWE is a multi-billion dollar publicly traded corporation and Rollins is a multi-millionaire pro wrestler who’s on TV every week, the guy would probably get at minimum a sizable settlement even if he broke the law.

In pro wrestling, there is a belief among some that today’s wrestlers aren’t as tough as their predecessors. The Undertaker in particular remarked how he liked it “when men were men” because when he started wrestling, “half of them had guns and knives in their bags” while nowadays, wrestlers are “playing video games” and “making sure they look pretty” in the locker room. I mean, this was pre-9/11 and pre-mobile phones that captures anything and everything on video but sure.

Let’s say for the sake of argument, wrestlers were tougher back then. There was also rampant drug and steroid use and wrestlers drank heavily. A wrestler who turned 40 back then looked like they were 65 and likely had the brain and body of a 65-year-old due to that wear and tear. Nowadays, there are plenty of wrestlers over the age of 40 who look like they could still wrestle another 10 years.

Bringing this back to Chavo, and his stance that wrestlers aren’t tougher than the fans anymore. For one thing, there are a bunch of MMA fighters on the WWE roster and I would bet on them in a fight against a fan. And second, back when wrestlers were achieving this level of “toughness,” Chavo’s brother died before the age of 40 due to an enlarged heart from prolonged drug and steroid use and then his friend killed his family and himself as it was discovered he had severe CTE.

Maybe it pays to not be so “tough” these days.

 

About Phillip Bupp

News editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing, highlight consultant for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them.

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