McGuire’s Mondays: When will pro wrestling clean up its act for good?

By Colin McGuire, Staffer

We can’t stop talking about it.

I don’t say that in a sensational tone; I say that as a missive: We can’t stop talking about it.

For those who haven’t heard, pro wrestling media member Nick Hausman, on one of his podcasts over the holiday season, compared AEW star Chris Jericho to film producer Harvey Weinstein, who not that long ago was found guilty of rape and sexual assault. “There are a lot of questionable stories about Chris that will find their way out over time,” Hausman said, “and when people are ready to hear those stories, they will cast him in a different light.”

This was seemingly tied into Kylie Rae, who mysteriously disappeared from the early days of AEW after she asked for her release. Someone in the past few weeks wrote on Twitter/X that Jericho allegedly manipulated her into a one-on-one situation between her and him in a hotel room. Instead of words, Rae merely responded with a heart emoji to the allegations and that led to the discussion about Jericho and his alleged infractions. And while that discussion feels more on the periphery now than it did a week ago, I will reiterate …

We can’t stop talking about it.

Why? Because it’s irresponsible if we stop talking about it. I’m not saying we demand anything from anyone who has ever suffered from abuse. I’m not saying victims should feel pressured to share their stories. I’m not saying survivors should be subjected to any comment from anybody who has anything to say about situations like these – disgusting alleged situations that call into question the morals of men in power and the atmospheres that subliminally enable them.

I’m just saying we can’t stop talking about it. Because if we stop talking about it, these types of stories, rumors, accusations and everything else in between will become even more normalized than they are now. And that’s unacceptable. I don’t care if there was a smattering of boos lobbed Jericho’s way on an episode of Collision. The way we’ve seen these things play out, it wouldn’t surprise me if those boos are gone by the time AEW’s next pay-per-view rolls around and we’ll just chalk it up to, “Yeah, there were some rumors about him, but … oh, wait, let’s sing along to ‘Judas!'”

Think about everything that’s happened in the pro wrestling world over the last five to seven years. Think about the Speaking Out Movement, when those who had been reluctant to speak truth to power decided enough was enough. Sure, a few wrestlers faced consequences, but look at those who didn’t (or if they did, they translated to a slap on the wrist). Sammy Guevara thought it was funny to joke about raping a woman. He’s doing fine. Joe Coffey seems to be doing all right on NXT TV. Don Callis has more whispers surrounding his Impact Wrestling departure than an attentive librarian on a busy Saturday morning. Jordan Devlin, as JD McDonough, is enjoying his time in one of WWE’s most popular stables, Judgment Day. Then, of course, there was Matt Riddle.

Oh, yeah. There’s that guy Vince McMahon, too.

All these people faced serious accusations and all those people have benefited from a world that found no issue with moving on in an expedited manner. And yeah. All the justifications are out there. “Well, but so-and-so’s wife/partner stuck up for him,” or “this was taken to court and the allegations were thrown out,” or, especially in the case of the latest Jericho stuff, “these are just rumors and we can’t comment on rumors.” Even this column, right now. You might not want to read it because these things have become so murky and it’s just another crusade from some guy with a laptop railing against people he doesn’t know about situations for which he lacks full detail.

Cowards. Anyone who wants to turn away from these things on the basis of burnout is a coward. Anybody with a major pro wrestling media platform who won’t as much as acknowledge this stuff is a coward. Anybody who wants to hide behind a “no comment” commitment is a coward. Reports of this type of behavior happens too often for me to believe we should merely shrug our shoulders and move on because … that’s just how it is? The business has changed? What can ya do?

Come on, guys. Vince McMahon had some of his ugly past exploits outed and the guy strutted to the ring on national television that night. It took Matt Riddle to go out of his way and act like an idiot in public before WWE gave him his walking papers. And now Chris Jericho, working for the company whose owner couldn’t wait to take pot shots at his competition about this very subject, finds himself in the middle of his own controversy while said owner wears an obnoxious wig and obnoxious sunglasses while telling the pro wrestling media that he won’t comment on rumors.

Don’t tell me this is getting better.

I’ve been working in journalism for 20 years. I’ve had plenty of off-the-record conversations. I’ve had stories I knew I couldn’t publish, but I also knew were true. I’ve been stonewalled a trillion times by mayors, council members, legislators … hell, even one rock star who had me removed from a building because I was seeking comment on reporting I had done. When there’s smoke, there’s fire. We can all take a deep breath and lecture everyone else on how much sympathy they should have and for whom they should have it, but ultimately, so many fires are burned with the help of morbid curiosity rather than the pursuit of actual change.

Case in point: AEW’s World’s End media scrum. There was so much rumbling about how interesting it was going to be. How would Tony Khan respond to questions about Jericho? Would Jericho try to get out in front of it? Would other wrestlers go to his defense? Accompanying those questions were social media posts about how Hausman mishandled his inside information or how important it is that we respect any and all victims’ privacy. All fair points. But where are those thoughts now? We are only eight days removed from the situation at hand, AEW hasn’t said a word, Jericho hasn’t said a word, and whatever questions any of us may have about what did or did not happen …

… Eh, at least a few people booed Jericho?

Things will never change for as long as change never experiences the luxury of commitment. I have no idea what the truth is. I have no idea who meant what, what stories might be out there, what the personal fallout from the Jericho allegations were for either side. What I do know is that out of respect for every single woman in the pro wrestling industry, AEW and Chris Jericho need to say something beyond sitting behind the rumor excuse. Even if Jericho thinks he is/was 100 percent in the right, there needs to be some respect shown from both company and wrestler, even if that comes in the form of a simple acknowledgment that this stuff is out there.

You can’t tell me you run the safest company in the business if you can’t even take some time to dig into whatever it was Hausman insinuated and Kylie Rae hearted. I cannot speak for women, victims or survivors; I can, however, speak for what is objectively responsible behavior. At some point, somebody in a position of authority is going to actually have to stand up, take risks that could ripple through financials, popularity, success and whatever else they’re scared of compromising in order for this entire cycle to change. Be accountable. Be contrite. Be respectful. Be sympathetic. Be aware.

Be better.

Or, in other words, don’t stop talking about it. Because the less we talk about it, the more likely it is that situations like Jericho’s will never not be uncommon. Not only is that a shame; it’s irrefutable.

So, please. Even if you love singing along to “Judas.” Even if you’re ready to just move on from yet another abuse rumor because you’ve become immune to all this type of chatter happening so often in the pro wrestling world. Even if you’re tired of reading about it and even if I’m tired of writing about it. Let’s please agree on one thing.

We can’t stop talking about it.

Not until it gets better for good. And even then, the conversation should never end.


Readers Comments (9)

  1. You tell em! Give it all that you’ve got! Name and shame those bastards!
    Oh……. You didn’t name or shame anyone from your ‘20 years’ because you’re too scared to stand up and be the man you were proposing to be in your article. Go you.

    • Original Jabroni January 8, 2024 @ 11:41 pm

      Love it! Thought the exact same. What a true, genuine hero. Writing about nothing specific but with such virtue-signaling outrage.

  2. Well said, Colin.

    Like any corporation, I’m sure AEW is hoping the situation will fade away. We’ve seen it too many times before. Jericho won’t defend himself, because the minute he does, the stories will come out, just as they recently did for Matt Striker.

    In any setting, to ignore abuse is to be complicit in it.

    I wrote some editorials you might enjoy, about how men gain power then use it to abuse, and Vince McMahons last TV appearance, as you mentioned above.



  3. “When there’s smoke, there’s fire”

    In other words, if you ever read any rumour about anyone, it must be true. Come on, Colin, this is seriously irresponsible coming from a journalist. You can thank “When there’s smoke, there’s fire” for a loser crook egging on a mob of hooligans to storm the Capitol because he couldn’t take getting beat.

    I believe your heart is in the right place here, and I am not defending any of the individuals named in your article (apart from Sammy Guevara, who made a dumb, lame joke and nothing more). I too was disgusted when Vince McMahon got “thank you Vince” chants after everything that happened, and if Jericho is found to have done anything to Kylie Rae I hope he gets fired.

    Nevertheless, “innocent until proven guilty” matters. It HAS to matter in a civilised society.

  4. LOVE the now-super-popular virtue signaling, so make sure you don’t tear a rotator cuff patting yourself on your self-righteous back.
    That reality being said, “stories, rumors, accusations” are all missing one thing……PROOF. Educate yourself, because its happened FAR too many times that men’s lives were destroyed by accusations that turned out to be completely false.
    BTW, enjoy the hypocrisy in having watched a show put on by a company owned by Vince.

    • C. Peter Roberts January 9, 2024 @ 1:14 pm

      I won’t argue that proof is key in these matters. But what’s happened FAR too many more times than false allegations is women’s lives destroyed because of the truth being ignored. We can certainly talk about both.

  5. *shrugs shoulders*

  6. Be better than writing this stuff.. Most celebrities get accused now of things true or not so the “victim” can get attention/monetary gains.. Lets see real proof then deal with it.. This Jericho thing seems very suspect to prove. I also bet you’ve had shady experiences with people in your past.. Should we let everyone air those all out true or not?

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.