At the risk of sounding barbaric, WWE needs to raise the curtain on their blood policy. It’s a shame knowing the proverbial crimson mask is a thing of the past. And if you do happen to catch it chances are it was an accident, so twelve officials run in the ring to disrupt the bleeding and, unfortunately, the match.
For better or worse professional wrestling will always have ties to blood. In point of fact it’s one of the only sports where things “get serious” on a regular basis. Or at least it used to. Nowadays “blood feuds” are more likely to start in the ring with a side headlock, perhaps some jockeying for position and ultimately an escape or two.
Look no further than this year’s Royal Rumble. Weeks before the show Randy Orton assaulted John Cena‘s father at ringside. In storyline he absolutely pummeled him: fractured his jaw, broke his orbital bone and sent him to the ER. What happened when the match finally began and Cena got his hands on the man who caused him so much grief and anguish? They locked up in the center of the ring, jockeyed for position and Orton grabbed Cena in a side headlock. Welcome to the PG era ladies and gents.
The days of profusely bleeding babyfaces, blood-soaked rings and roaring crowds urging on their hero through calamitous odds are finished. In many ways there was no better way to get sympathy than to take out the ole razor when nobody was looking and make a fine slice across the forehead.
On the flip side, fans love it when the babyface turns the tables on the heel and busts them open from ear to ear. Sometimes comeuppance is best served on a claret platter. Don’t tell me the fans in Pittsburgh wouldn’t have loved to see Cena bust Orton open and beat him from pillar to post. That kind of action is what the feud was calling for. What we got instead was two men having a pretty standard (and boring) wrestling match.
Are there problems with “legalized” blood? Of course. In fact there have been some pretty historic disasters when it comes to the spilling of vital fluid.
In 2005 Orton competed against the Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell match with Cowboy Bob Orton Jr., Randy’s father, at ringside. The Cowboy “gigged” at the end of the match after receiving a beating at the hands of the “dead man.” Unfortunately for ‘Taker, Cowboy Bob had been diagnosed with Hepatitis C since his teens. While ‘Taker did not catch the virus from Cowboy Bob it was still a close call. Bob Orton Jr. was released from the WWE less than two months later.
There’s also the problem of cutting a little too deep. At WWE’s Judgment Day PPV in 2004, Eddie Guerrero defended his WWE Championship against John Bradshaw Layfield. JBL leveled Guerrero with a chair fairly early in the match and Guerrero bled like a horse. At the end of the match the mat was literally covered in blood and Guerrero went into legitimate medical shock when the show was over.
Like it or not, bleeding is a sacred institution in wrestling. So many of the greatest ever have the battle scars to show it. Dusty Rhodes no longer has a forehead; it bears a closer resemblance to stucco wallpaper. Abdullah the Butcher can fit poker chips into the razor slots in his head. But these are extremes and people aren’t asking for hideous mutilation. All we want is a little juice every now and then; is that really so much to ask?