Inside Pulse 12

Do the wrestlers of today have the same passion wrestlers of the past did? (Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts comments on passion response)

Earlier this week, I was listening to Sam Robert’s podcast. Sam’s guest this week was the legendary Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts. Jake is incredibly interesting to listen to, he brings such a massive wealth of knowledge, on the world of pro wrestling. That’s to be expected, Jake was masterful in the ring, and he clearly knows a thing or two. Jake made some comments that I simply couldn’t agree with, on this particular podcast, though. Jake stated that he believed wrestlers today; simply do not have the same passion that he and his co-workers did, in years gone by. Jake’s main reasoning was about how he and many others gave so much for wrestling. While Jake argued that a lot of current day wrestlers aren’t willing to give as much. Jake stated a neck injury resulted in a doctor telling him he’d never wrestle again. Jake did go on to wrestle again, however. So, is Jake right? Do many current day wrestlers really lack the same passion Jake had?

I will say this, this a lot of speculation over people I’ve never met. Truthfully, I can’t fully understand the passion that any of these wrestlers have. That said, Jake probably doesn’t know a lot of these wrestlers very much either. Today there is so much “behind the scenes” content on the network, so many podcasts, different interview series etc. Many fans get an insight into the personalities of their favourite wrestlers.

Massive collections of people cannot be grouped together. However, in a majority, when you hear a lot of the competitors in the WWE speak about wrestling; you can feel the passion they possess. You have people who have watched wrestling from an early age. From that moment, they’ve dreamed of stepping inside a WWE ring. From that point onwards, everything becomes another step in getting there. Some of these people dedicate their lives to getting into wrestling. Then, once they are in the WWE, they spend far more days on the road, than they do with their families at home. A lot of their spare time is still used to advance in wrestling. Practicing, doing media, using social media to gain more popularity, getting gear designed and going to the gym. To many wrestlers their whole day is centred on when they go to the gym, when they eat, when they get to the show – all for the love of wrestling.

Now sure, plenty of wrestlers in the past did all of this as well. That isn’t the debate though, none of the current crop of wrestlers, are going out and claiming to be more passionate than those in the past. It just doesn’t seem as though that passion has dissipated over the years. If anything and I wouldn’t outright claim this, I just see it being more likely than what Jake is claiming, the current crop are more passionate.

Why would I claim this? Jake claims his generation were willing to give more, I’d say that instead, the current generation will give the same, but also have the passion not to fall into the vices older generations did. Sure, this generation of wrestlers isn’t perfect, people will fail drug tests. However, the drug and alcohol lifestyle is not nearly as rampant nowadays. Sure, a lot of stars of the past will claim their passion for wrestling, drove them to drugs and alcohol, in order to deal with the pain from wrestling. I’m not going to judge individual people’s reasons for doing drugs, or developing an alcohol problem. My view would be todays wrestlers are still falling down for a living. Many of them do not fall into the same issues, as some of the older generation did. I just can’t see how developing a drug problem, in order to continue wrestling, proves you had more passion. Wouldn’t resisting drugs and battling through the pain anyway show a bigger passion?

Drugs and pain bring me to my last and final point. Jake talked about his neck injury, which I mentioned earlier. Jake mentioned how a baseball player is about to retire, due to a similar injury. Essentially Jake used the fact he had a serious neck injury, which caused a doctor to tell him he’d never wrestle again, yet kept wrestling, to illustrate his passion. Jake deserves all the respect in the world for doing that. However, I would argue that many wrestlers today are still willing to work through serious injuries. However, today, the WWE will not let them. Wrestlers like Edge and Daniel Bryan probably would have continued to wrestle. Edge after his neck injury and Bryan after his concussion issues. However, the WWE will no longer allow talent to work through such serious injuries. I think Daniel Bryan would take extreme offence to being told that he, one of the hardest workers in this generation of wrestling, does not have the passion for wrestling others did. Simply because the WWE would not allow him to continue to wrestle.

Roberts claimed that the likes of himself couldn’t do anything but wrestling. Even those who did have qualifications and skills to do something else couldn’t bring themselves to give up on wrestling. I do get Jake’s point on this one. Many of the guys on the WWE roster come in with a back-up plan. For some, if it doesn’t work out in WWE, they’ll make use of that back-up plan. Having said that, it could also be said that having a back-up plan and even putting that plan into action, does not show a lack of passion.

Take the likes of Stone Cold Steve Austin and the Rock for instance. Both knew when it was time to call it quits. Both had differing reasons. Austin was suffering with a neck injury, possibly similar to that Jake had. The Rock had very lucrative movie opportunities. When both guys went to take opportunities in Hollywood, could they really be accused of having a lack of passion? Both men had achieved so much, they’d abused their bodies enough and had the potential to make a lot of money elsewhere. Just like so many others though, they keep coming back, because that passion runs deep in their veins. The passion is still there today, however, many guys know that sometimes health, family and business do have to come in front of their passion sometimes. I’d disagree that means they lack that passion.

Maybe Jake will look at Bryan as an exception, maybe Bryan and a few other guys do have the passion Jake has. However, maybe Jake thinks many more wrestlers today don’t possess that. Maybe it is that way, but it certainly doesn’t look that way from the inside looking in. Many wrestlers work through injuries, work for little or no money and dedicate their lives to fulfilling their dreams of being a wrestler. I wouldn’t deny Jake’s passion; he has incredible passion for the business. However, so do many of today’s stars. I don’t think that it’s clear who has the more passion, wrestlers of yesterday, or current wrestlers. I certainly don’t think there is as big of a gap as Jake made out. Passion is still very prevalent today. We simply wouldn’t get some of the incredible matches. Week in week out, if the current crop of wrestlers were not passionate about what they do.

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