For the second time in four decades, the baseball writers of America failed to elect any of this year’s nominees for the Hall of Fame. Steroid tainted stars such as Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds are the main cause of this shut out. This development makes a definitive statement as to what baseball fans expect from its elite. This makes me wonder if wrestlers should be held to a similar standard in order to gain entrance into the WWE Hall of Fame? Some food for thought.
Now, I realize baseball is legitimate competition while wrestling is performance art. Yes, I know the WWE Hall of Fame lacks credibility since legends such as Bruno Sammartino and Randy Savage are not in while names like Koko B Ware are enshrined as wrestling royalty.
There are probably some players in the Baseball Hall of Fame that did steroids but never got caught and the same can be said for the WWE. Baseball fans tend to be more outraged about a testing failure since the legitimacy of a players accomplishments are questioned. Wrestling fans don’t really seem to care too much aside from cracking a few jokes about a testing failure on message boards.
Alex Rodriguez tests positive for steroids and it instantly becomes a worldwide headline courtesy of ESPN, ABC, MLB, CNN, and more.
Randy Orton tests positive for steroids and it gets a little blurb on WWE.com and it’s never mentioned on television.
Is, or should, Edge’s Hall of Fame status be tainted because of his involvement in the illegal pharmacy ring? If so, should he be in the Hall of Fame to begin with?
Before I continue, I want to mention that I have nothing against Edge at all and I’ve enjoyed his work for years. He is just the best example for a this touchy subject.
Edge is one of the best wrestlers to ever step in the ring and Roger Clemens is one of the greatest major league pitchers to ever throw a fastball. Clemens will most likely never get into the Hall of Fame because of his checked past with steroids.
Why is it fair for one to get in and not the other? Do five star matches mean more than wins on the pitcher’s mound? I believe the two are comparable considering the athletic nature of their professions and the validity of whether or not they could have performed to the magnitude of their reputation without PEDs.
Some might be able to justify steroid use in pro wrestling since baseball has an off season while pro wrestling does not. I don’t buy that argument because as an adult, they made the decision to enter a profession that takes a grueling toll on the human body.
According to the report conducted in the illegal pharmacy ring, Edge received somatropin, genotropin and stanozolol between September 2004 and February 2007.
Here are some of the big matches he had during that time frame:
Randy Orton – Vengeance 2004
Money in the Bank -Wrestlemania 21 (2005)
TLC Match against Ric Flair – Raw 1/16/06
Edge vs. Mick Foley – WrestleMnaia 22 (2006)
WWE Championship feud with John Cena in 2006
Edge came back in 2004 after a long layoff from neck surgery. It is the lingering effects of that injury which ultimately led to his retirement in 2011. It’s plausible that Edge used steroids to buy himself seven more years in the business and nothing more
However, what if Edge was only as good as he was in the ring because of steroids? If so, does that mean someone on the roster who didn’t take steroids would have been better than Edge on an even playing field? Just like in stick and ball sports, once your caught, all of your accomplishments are called into question. What about his matches outside of the pharmacy ring time frame? The TLC matches at Wrestlemania 2000 & Wrestlemania 17 come to mind.
Wrestling is a cynical business where the cream doesn’t always rise to the top. It’s about style and guile over substance. As long as this is the status quo, wrestlers will always get a free pass because the genre is considered the bastard son of the entertainment industry. It will continue to be that way unless we hold wrestlers and the industry to a higher standard instead of hiding behind the perception that demeans us all simply so we can chant “This is awesome, clap, clap, clap, clap, clap.”