WWE could do more to help old-timers, but so could the wrestlers

Posted in: Powell Editorials
By By Jason Powell
May 2, 2008 - 02:56 PM

Bruno Sammartino made some fair points about WWE not doing enough to help retired pro wrestlers. It's a shame that wrestlers receive no pension from WWE, and I agree that the company could do more to take care of their current wrestlers and those who worked for the company in the past.

That being said, people like Sammartino have to realize that they have the power to make positive changes. This isn't an anti-Sammartino piece. For all I know, he's very active in helping out ailing performers. Rather, this is directed at every wrestler who feels that WWE should do more to help the old-timers.

The message is simple. Step up and make a difference. Bitching about the problem will only get you so far. Rather than badmouth WWE, make an effort to get the company involved.

In Bruno's case, he refuses to allow WWE to induct him into the Hall of Fame because he doesn't think they're doing enough to help out the wrestlers who blazed the trail. Rather than be pigheaded about the situation, why not use it as an opportunity to help out wrestlers who are struggling.

Bruno is in a unique position in that WWE wants to induct him into their Hall of Fame more than he wants to be inducted. He has leverage. He mentioned in the Baltimore Sun interview that WWE makes a lot of money by selling their Hall of Fame DVDs. Why not negotiate with Vince McMahon and request that the company donate a percentage of the profits to a fund established to help struggling wrestlers?

Likewise, Bruno could use his Hall of Fame induction speech to raise awareness for the issues he's concerned with. Don't just badmouth the company. Prepare a speech that might actually make a difference and open some eyes. He could also donate whatever money he receives from appearing at WrestleMania weekend to ailing old-timers.

What can others do? Pro wrestling conventions are becoming very popular. Rather than let a promoter make the bulk of the money from conventions, a group of old-timers could organize the events themselves and then donate the profits. Hold online auctions for donated memorabilia. WWE might even be willing to help. Even during the peak of the Monday Night Wars, WWE and WCW sent their talent to appear at the Brian Pillman memorial shows that Les Thatcher held in Cincinnati.

I don't have any easy answers on who should decide how to spend the money raised or which struggling wrestlers should receive financial assistance first. I just know there are ways that wrestlers could help out that go beyond complaining about what WWE isn't doing.

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