Wrestling’s tainted

Death in sports is a hard thing to touch on.

A lot of it is to do with the level of talent and greatness that disappears with memorable characters. The rest is the idea that there’s no way to know how much memories could have been in the making.

The deaths of two NFL players off the coast of Florida were tough and so too is the demise of yet another wrestler.

Andrew Martin, known by his stage name of ‘Test’, was found dead last week in his Tampa apartment.

It was not clear what his cause of death was but the chance of it being drug-related is not impossible.

Martin failed a World Wrestling Entertainment drug test in February 2007 and was arrested on a DUI charge in April 2008.

Test was a star earlier this decade. The 6ft 6in, 280 pound muscleman captured numerous titles in his short career including the Intercontinental, European and Tag Team belts.

With so many recent deaths of big wrestling names the question that seems to come to mind is wrestling still a professional sport?

There are so many strikes against it these days from dull plotlines to (for the most part) narcissistic wrestlers. The biggest of which is an image problem where casual onlookers think wrestlers are nothing more than steroid freaks.

What’s hurt the sport more than anything is all of the recent deaths being linked to substance abuse.

Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero and Mike ‘Crash Holly’ Lockwood are some of the big names that were casualties of the sport and of steroid abuse. With WWE only getting serious with drug testing lately it’s likely there’s hardly anyone clean left.

Granted the WWE has cashed in on the entertainment side of things. It gets high TV ratings consistently, sells loads of merchandise from DVDs to video games and has seen many of its stars cross over into movies – like the Rock.

Yet the trade-off seems to have been the days when wrestling was real, required naturally tough men to do well and had everyone on a level playing field.

Ultimately though the WWE and its stars can be entertaining it’s doubtful they merit a slot in the sports universe.

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