Good morning, children. You might remember that last week, I took some of my valuable time to teach you about the WWE that you don’t see on TV. The WWE that they ask you to “stand up” for. And that was written BEFORE they had this poor Natalya girl go around farting on people and killing midgets. This week, I’m going to go ahead and do the same type of article – on TNA – but with a different kind of slant.
Last Sunday was TNA’s Against All Odds PPV, which I recapped. It’s a pretty amazing recap. I watched this PPV with in the super-secret Fist Pump Screening Room with my man Swayze and our newest addition to the Pulse writing team, Martin Shaw (check out his first article). Swayze said in his article this week that he thought it was a decent PPV. I don’t know if I’d be willing to go that far – for my money (the money that I didn’t pay to watch it), there was one really good match and one other good match. The rest of it was lame, and THEN you had the main-event and the match before it, which brought the show to an amazing screeching halt, even for TNA.
This PPV, however, made big news. Not so much because of how good or bad it was, but because of a very severe incident involving a TNA performer. I know what you’re thinking – that Jesse Sorensen can just buy another football anywhere – but we all know that TNA doesn’t pay all that well, and, that’s actually not what I’m talking about. Jesse Sorensen was legitimately injured when he took a knee to the back of his head on a moonsault from Zema Ion. Sorensen was taken to the hospital for evaluation, and now it’s being reported by PW Torch that “several TNA wrestlers expressed concern over his health”, and that he “was taken away in an ambulance for tests because his body went numb.”
Later on in the week, Dixie Carter passed this along: “Jesse Sorensen has sustained a C1 vertebrae fracture with spinal cord edema. He is slowly regaining feeling and movement in his arms and legs. He wants to thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. Once we speak to the neurosurgeon, we will pass on more details.”
Even later on in the week, Kurt Angle (MD) passed THIS piece of brilliance along: “I Visited Jesse Sorenson, He Is Moving His Arms and Legs. Drs’ say 1 Year recovery. I Say 4 Months. Jesse Is a Hero and Fighter.”
(Here’s hoping that Jesse is smart enough to listen to his doctors before he listens to Kurt.)
So here are the questions I’m posing to you:
Does TNA still have a job for Jesse Sorensen if / when he recovers? Do they take care of him in the meantime? Or is he on his own?
I know what you’re thinking – Dixie is Tweeting about him, everyone is concerned, they’re making a big show of support for him – of course they’re going to take care of him!
I certainly hope they do. I haven’t seen a lot of the kid, and I have no idea if he’s any good or not, but I suppose that’s not really relevant. NO ONE deserves to get hurt like that, ESPECIALLY in a fake fight. No one deserves to have life as they know it taken away by something like what happened to Droz. That’s really all there is to it.
But, the truth is, TNA has an incredibly poor track record when it comes to paying hospital bills. Let’s take a look at how TNA handled just one of those similar situations. I posted about this story last year when I was covering TNA.
The Story Of TNA Knockout Daffney
The stories of how women in professional wrestling are treated are sad ones. Low respect. Even lower pay. And in most cases, an even lower level of degrading acts to perform. We all remember the stories coming out about how TNA Knockouts needed to find second jobs, just so they could afford to attend TNA PPV’s. None of that relates to what happened here, as these women are making the choice to pursue these careers. That doesn’t justify the situations they’re put in, but regardless – Daffney had been a professional wrestler for quite some time. She started out back in WCW, worked her way through the indies, and eventually to TNA. She was fairly well known, for someone who had never set foot in the WWE. She always got a nice little response from the TNA fans when she was brought back to the show. TNA fans even chanted “Daffney” quite a bit when Daffney was only brought in to put other Knockouts over.
In 2009, Daffney got a concussion at a PPV after being chokeslammed from the ring apron onto a barb-wire board by Abyss. She then got another one after Tara beat her over the head with a toolbox. Believe it or not, none of THAT was the final straw, and all of that is bad enough on it’s own.
After all of that – Daffney THEN received a deeply bruised sternum, a severe stinger and yet another concussion in a TNA try-out match for Rosie Lottalove. Rosie was a girl who had been trained by Bully Ray, who’s gimmick was that she was overweight. Rosie was actually given a TNA contract after this happened, although she was soon let go.
After CageSideSeats.com author S. Bruce wrote an article on the subject, he was contacted by a current TNA employee who asked to remain anonymous. The employee said the following:
“Daffney was asked to do the spot to which she would go through a table full of tacks. She was hesitant to take the spot. Terry Taylor assured Daffney that she would be fine that she would be taken care of. After a lot of convincing from both Terry and Vince Russo, who was telling her how important the spot was for the feud that was going on, Daffney goes through with the spot and was injured. Following the injury she is treated at the hospital and taken via ambulance. Worse still is that Spike wouldn’t let TNA air the spot on Impact. They refuse to air it on their policy of violence towards women. To put a cherry on the top of this story, a huge bill from the hospital would follow for Daffney.
TNA and Daffney went back and forth for several months about TNA not paying the bill. There were emails back and forth between Terry and Daffney which would result in Terry forwarding the emails to the responsible parties and then Terry delivering news that the matters were being tended to. This however would all be a smoke screen as more notices of delinquencies would follow for Daffney. TNA would hold out on paying certain bills and make claims that the agencies would settle for lower amounts if they held out. When this method didn’t work, they would turn around and claim that they are not responsible for the bill and that Daffney herself would be the one responsible for the bills.”
Another TNA-connected name the author spoke to verified this account, claimed this type of pressure was common, and blamed Russo (who is often known for encouraging risky and hardcore spots in a bid to get his car-crash style angles over) for “being personally responsible for the situation of Daffney and many, many others.”
So, Daffney received no compensation. When she filed a Worker’s Compensation Claim, TNA took her off TV.
Daffney’s Situation .vs. Jesse’s Situation
So, is there any reason that even your stauntest TNA defender could preach that Jesse deserves compensation and Daffney doesn’t? I realize that that question even being asked is pretty harsh. Naturally, they both DESERVE compensation.
But why should one get it while the other is denied?
Take a look at the two situations. If you want, toss out the parts about Daffney being hurt and about TNA convincing her to do stunts that she didn’t want to do. Let’s say that she was perfectly healthy even just going into that one match with Rosie Lottalove.
She still got hurt from just that one match. I’m assuming Jesse went into his match with Zema Ion perfectly fine, and he got hurt from just that one match as well.
The Bottom Line
I’m assuming that TNA will be covering Jesse Sorensen’s bills. That’s a good thing. I’m not trying to say that just because TNA screwed Daffney over that they should just continue that cycle and leave this poor kid Sorensen on the side of the road. The question that I’m raising is why I they will take care of Jesse, when they didn’t take care of Daffney.
The answer, I believe, lies in what this anonymous TNA employee told CageSideSeats – “The company needs to change to grow, and if the company can’t see the truth, maybe an enlightened fan base can help change the company. TNA fears greatly for their public image.” The reality is that this Sorensen thing is a lot more public than I’m sure TNA would like it to be. That Daffney thing, most people hadn’t even heard about. It was easier to sweep under the rug.
I’m curious as to what people will think about this. Am I wrong? Did TNA just grow up in the couple of years since this Daffney thing happened? Are they really a more caring and compassionate employer now? Is there a difference in the two situations that I’m not seeing? Or am I actually wrong that TNA will cover this Sorensen kid? I think they will, but maybe that’s just me hoping they will.
Let me know what you think. Leave a comment, shoot me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or hit me up on Twitter @BlairADouglas.
This has been “Air Up There”. Thanks for reading and have a great weekend! I’ll be in my trailer.
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