Another day, another WWE tragedy.
This time, it’s about Shad Gaspard. Wrestling fans know him best as one-half of the Cryme Tyme tag-team, which was a terrible — and racist — parody of “street thugs.”
They were only on the roster for a year before getting booted onto the independent circuit. Gaspard and his former Cryme Tyme partner JTG struggled for years after the Vince McMahon-owed organization unceremoniously kicked them to the curb.
Sadly, Gaspard has just gone missing after getting caught in a riptide. He’s all but presumed dead, at this point.
And what was the WWE’s response to this tragic news? “No comment. ”
More than just tone-deaf, WWE actively and noticeably mistreats its most valuable employees: their wrestlers.
Whether you believe they’re entertainers or athletes, the wrestlers make up the backbone of the business. Without them, the company ceases to exist.
Yet, the company treats them so poorly that even John Oliver — HBO’s snarky late-night talk-show host — took them to task.
But late-night commentators aren’t the only ones who have noticed the WWE’s poor treatment of its wrestlers.
Rachael Evers — daughter of wrestling legend Paul Ellering — wanted to continue the family wrestling legacy. So, she joined the WWE under their NXT development umbrella.
A few months ago, Evers had to have reconstructive surgery on her knee. She petitioned the company to have their medical team help her heal.
When the WWE’s medical team didn’t provide the quality of care she required, Evers verbalized her concerns to upper management.
How did they respond?
They gave her two options — both of which required her to get discharged from the company .
Evers is far from alone in her experience.
Former WWE superstar Nikki Bella said she was “nearly paralyzed ” after the medical team failed to diagnose her neck condition properly. Sami Zayn was stripped of the Intercontinental Championship title after he complained about having to work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
And the list of wrestlers who were released after expressing their concerns reads like a who’s who of the WWE roster. Lio Russo, Taynara Conti, Deonna Purrazzo, Karl Anderson, and Rusev were all released this year after they vocalized their opinions about the company to upper management.
Vince McMahon has a reputation for releasing wrestlers who don’t “play ball” and toe the company party line. But this has gone beyond creative differences. This is open and outward hostility towards its most valuable assets.
The WWE needs to treat their wrestlers better. They won’t breed loyalty with hostility.