Let’s talk about the happiness of wrestlers. It’s an odd topic, I know, but with the arrival of AEW as a promotion with equal money and exposure to WWE, it’s becoming more common. With the majority of the globe reevaluating their beliefs in the aftermath of the epidemic, happiness and personal fulfillment are undeniably hot-button issues.
We’ve already seen a slew of disgruntled wrestlers defect, and with each round of releases comes the cry of “So-and-so squandered his time there. They should attend a wrestling promotion.” We have a tendency to leap down wrestlers’ necks. vilifying them for choosing a higher-paying job over the nobler cause of working somewhere where their character is respected.
While this statement is legitimate and may play a factor in evaluating if a wrestler is satisfied with their current position, I feel that such allegations are frequently made without considering a simple reality. Wrestlers are people, too. Despite their larger-than-life in-ring personas, they are affected by the same forces that influence our employment selections. Money, respect, and opportunities for advancement all play a factor in a wrestler’s decision to stay or quit an organization.
The purpose of this article is to investigate the aspects that impact a wrestler’s happiness and how they differ depending on the individual. This post is not intended to pass judgment, but rather to demonstrate that wrestlers, like us, desire the same things out of our jobs.
Before we get into the heart of this discussion, it’s important to establish what we mean by happy. It’s a phrase with a lot of different meanings. Happiness, in its fullest meaning, implies being content. While content has a negative connotation, since it is connected with settling, in this context, content implies being at ease with as few anxieties as possible. Acceptance, or being content with your place in life and who you are as a person, is another definition of happiness. Now, I’m not going to pretend that being completely satisfied with every area of your life is feasible or even healthy. However, whether your employment is in an office or a wrestling ring, having a workspace that gives you a feeling of fulfillment is vital to living a happy life.
Money is the first and most evident component of happiness. Money is what makes the world go round, and despite its tangible worth and importance in our personal lives, it is the one we as wrestling fans despise the most. People who chose to return to wrestling or stay at a certain firm for a trash truck of money are sometimes ridiculed, portrayed as selfish money grabbers who take the place of someone more skilled and deserving. And, certainly, there are occasions when that attitude is absolutely justified, especially when the money is stained with blood. However, for every Shawn Michaels or Goldberg, there are others that worked during a slump or weren’t huge merch sellers and legitimately needed the money.
There is no such thing as assurance in wrestling. It’s a workplace where one false move may be the end of your career or impede a drive. People are fired at the drop of a hat. There are no pensions or severance payments available. Wrestlers have families to care for, expenses to pay, and their post-wrestling lives to consider. As a result, I don’t blame people for wanting to produce as much paper as possible.
Look no farther than Mickie James to understand how much money can influence decisions and someone’s happiness. After being given her release and a garbage bag full of her belongings, you’d think WWE television would be the last place we’d see James. But, surprise, surprise, the TNA Knockouts Champion is expected to return at the Royal Rumble. And congratulations to her. More power to Mickie if she can turn her position and the lack of a women’s roster into a large payoff for herself. I’m sure we all regard money as a taboo issue. Nonetheless, financial security, providing a nice living for your family, and pursuing other professions outside of wrestling are all determined by how much money a wrestler has in his bank account.
If money is the dark secret of deciding pleasure, recognition, and opportunity, We can always tell when a wrestler is suffering artistically, and we are always delighted to see them thrive in an atmosphere where they are allowed the freedom to be the greatest version of themselves. The importance of creative freedom cannot be overstated. How many wrestlers have remade themselves in an atmosphere that does not dismiss every innovative notion they have or that does not label them as a top star? We just witnessed this with Big Swole, who left AEW after feeling underrepresented. In the same breath, Ruby Soho has found a home in AEW’s women’s section. Then there are individuals who have discovered chances behind the scenes. There is now a surge of women working behind the scenes in executive roles, shaping the future of women’s wrestling. Women are now getting a second shot in the wrestling business, whether it’s Maria Kanellis, Mickey James in NWA, or Gail Kim in TNA.
Sometimes a wrestler’s happiness isn’t defined by the number of zeros on his or her salary or a title run. Wrestlers’ requirements can be even more realistic. Happiness might imply a more relaxed schedule and less taxing travel. Even if it meant earning less money, I’m sure wrestlers would jump at the chance to improve their work-life balance. During the epidemic, this mentality has begun to pervade workplace culture. After nearly two years of being surrounded by loneliness and mortality, people who were formerly nose to the grindstone, die-hard corporate loyalists, are reprioritizing their lives. As society begins to see mental health as a major issue, an increasing number of individuals are choosing quality time with their families before a promotion.
The final and most likely hottest take. Some wrestlers must give up wrestling in order to achieve happiness. It’s insane, I know. But bear with me. When coping with anxiety, a frequent strategy is to list every possible way to deal with it as well as the potential consequences of these acts. Then you choose the alternative with the least amount of impact.
We all go through this process, whether consciously or unconsciously, and it has previously been employed in wrestling. People have postponed surgery for financial reasons, and they have come out of retirement in the hopes of having another Wrestlemania moment and a proper finale to their career. The same reasoning, however, has never been applied to the opposite. Few wrestlers look at their injuries, exhaustion, and lack of fulfillment and say to themselves, “You know what? ‘Perhaps I should take a break from wrestling.’ I can only recall one wrestler who willingly retired too soon. Fortunately, this is beginning to change. More wrestlers are considering their mental health and taking a break from the sport. People going away from wrestling, such as John Moxley and Kylie Rae, should serve as a watershed moment in which people choose their personal well-being over the adrenaline of performing in front of a crowd.
Happiness manifests itself in a variety of ways and is a difficult balancing act. Some people love the thought of putting on 60-minute clinics, while others salivate at the prospect of earning seven figures for a few appearances, and yet others simply want to play games with their friends and be paid for it. Whatever happiness means to a wrestler, we should accept their decision to pursue what makes them happy, even if it means leaving the ring.