Since the late 90’s, professional wrestling has had no problem doing things that cross the line. We saw it happen in ECW, WCW and WWE. We’ve seen it happen in Impact Wrestling when it was TNA Wrestling and other promotions around the world. The question has always been, where do you cross the line? Many have said the wrestling business has become too soft and too sensitive like the rest of society, while others have said that there are things that should be left alone and unsaid. Where do you draw the line?
At Wrestlemania 36, many people were upset with one particular moment during the Edge and Randy Orton match. At one point during the match, Randy Orton was choking out Edge on weight equipment, which caught the attention of many wrestling fans because of the Benoit Double Murder-Suicide tragedy in 2007. After Chris Benoit did the most evil thing you could do, he took his own life by hanging himself on his weight machine. The spot at Wrestlemania also happened between Part One and Two of the Chris Benoit Dark Side of the Ring episode which also is very interesting timing. It makes we wonder if Edge and Orton were sending some sort of message to the Benoit Family or if they just using whatever they could in the performance center. Regardless, the spot probably shouldn’t have been done because two innocent people lost their lives as a result of that tragedy.
We fast forward two months later to AEW Double or Nothing where The Inner Circle took on The Elite in a Stadium Stampede Match. At one point, Santana and Ortiz took Matt Hardy into a swimming pool and began putting Hardy underwater. If you know anything about Matt Hardy’s gimmick you would know that the Lake of Reincarnation has been a part of Matt’s character for the last five years. It’s a place where the Hardy’s have gone to restore themselves or become different versions of what they have been overtime. On this particular night, Hardy’s body was floating face down at one point and Ortiz proclaimed, “He’s dead.” This spot happened just a few short days after former WWE Superstar Shad Gaspard died in a drowning while making sure his son was saved. I personally have no issue with Matt Hardy’s gimmick but I do take issue with how it was presented. There are different ways you could have done the spot like throwing him into an ice chest, throwing him into a freezer or supporting a cause like the Ice Bucket Challenge.
I truly believe that AEW should have released a statement afterwards and just simply apologized if it offended anyone. I’m not making excuses for some of the garbage that WWE has done in the past, but AEW is a new company that really can’t afford the bad publicity or lose fans this early on in the game. I also think that if you’re going to criticize one that you need to be critical of both. They were both ill-timed and in bad taste. By not condemning both spots it shows just how much hypocrisy there is in a pro wrestling and that fans will let things slide for the sake of supporting their favorite wrestlers and promotion. I also believe in creativity and trying to be different from others, but that should not come at the expense of insulting people’s intelligence and doing things in bad taste. I hope in the future that AEW and WWE will think twice about what they’re doing. Leave the real tragedies alone and don’t stir up things that are going to generate real life negative emotions.