“At the present, I am first a trainer and teacher of wrestlers, but why would I ever quit what I enjoy?”
Bauer thinks guys such as Lou Thesz, Gypsy Joe or Terry or Dory Funk Jr. could compete in their advanced years.
“At times I myself booked and presented older talent, in MLW, like Terry Funk, Jerry The King Lawler and Abdullah the Butcher, and hindsight being what it is, I do not think I would do such again because of the inherit risks,” Bauer said.
“But that’s easy to say from my position since I’m not tempted by the opportunity today because I am not promoting or a matchmaker today. I will say, though that I had an ambulance at 80 percent of my events. We could not fit an ambulance at our site in Orlando but had certified EMTs on hand. That provided talent with instant access to medical care in the event it was ever required. That’s a very rare thing in the wrestling business. I suspect that 90 percent of non-WWE promoted wrestling shows don’t provide a physician, EMTs or an ambulance at their events for talent.”
With this in mind, WWE has a full medical team ready for anything, which may have been the difference between life and death for Lawler.
“They don’t do the bare minimum,” Bauer said. “They have an exceptional medical team, trainers, a physician and an ambulance at all events. And because of those resources, they were able to act swiftly and tend to Jerry and ensure he had a chance to survive this. Had this been at an independent show or anywhere else, be it an airplane or a hotel elevator I fear what the odds of survival would’ve been.
“Frankly, outside of being in a hospital when the heart attack occurred, there probably isn’t a better place for such a catastrophic event to have occurred. This sounds like I’m pandering, but it’s just real talk. WWE is light years ahead of everyone else and even where they were as a company a few years ago. That’s a very good thing.
“What needs to be examined are the requirements by independent companies and TNA. Whether it’s regulating wrestling or arenas requiring a higher level of emergency medical services, I truly believe this is an issue that needs to be addressed. The question is will anyone think twice about what they would do in this situation a week from now? A month from [now]? Doubtful.”
The safety and well being of talent is a top priority of TNA Impact Wrestling, according to Chris Thomas, the company’s public relations manager. He said at TNA Impact Wrestling TV shows at Universal Studios Orlando they have a doctor, a physical trainer, an EMT team and an ambulance.
“Universal Health Services and Fire Department are also on site,” he added. “At all live events we have an EMT team.”
The company also requires health screenings before the wrestlers compete.
“TNA takes the health and welfare of our athletes, staff and fans very seriously,” TNA Impact Wrestling President Dixie Carter said. “We make every effort to ensure their safety. In the unfortunate circumstance something does go wrong, we have experts available to provide the best care possible.”
Smashing Pumpkins music frontman Billy Corgan is attached to Resistance Pro Wrestling, an indie group based in Chicago.