COMMENTARY | On the Friday, May 10 edition of WWE Smackdown (which actually took place three days earlier) World Heavyweight Champion Dolph Ziggler sustained a serious concussion. Ziggler interfered in a match between Big E Langston and one of his opponents at the upcoming WWE Extreme Rules pay-per-view, Jack Swagger. Swagger kicked Ziggler in the head, proving once again that pro wrestling isn't as fake as most people think.
In an interview with wwe.com, Dolph Ziggler revealed that he has suffered several concussions in the past. But the severity of his most recent concussion is shown in that Ziggler completely lost two days of his memory. He said, "I don't even remember Monday until I watched Raw when I got home. I don't even remember traveling from Raw to Smackdown. I don't remember Tuesday. I remember AJ and Big E taking me to the airport on Wednesday morning."
Dolph Ziggler also admitted to having headaches, which thankfully have gone from severe to mild. Other websites are reporting that the WWE medical staff has pulled Ziggler from the weekend's house shows. The question on everyone's mind is whether Ziggler will have time to sufficiently recover in order to defend his World Heavyweight title against Swagger and Alberto Del Rio in a Triple Threat Ladder Match at Extreme Rules on Sunday, May 19.
I'm sure some readers are questioning the validity of Ziggler's concussion as the WWE and other promotions routinely fabricate injuries to promote a storyline. And sometimes it takes quite a bit of research and experience to discern between "kayfabe" (storyline) and legitimate injuries. In fact, I recently wrote that Ziggler is one of the best "sellers" (making his opponent look good) in pro wrestling. But this concussion is almost certainly legitimate.
I am also glad to see that the WWE is exercising caution with respect to Dolph Ziggler's concussion. Wrestlers should be respected for continuing matches through injuries when they occur. But once they get backstage, doctors are forcing wrestlers to take time off and heal like never before. I know that independent wrestlers in smaller promotions can't afford to take time off. However, the WWE is setting a positive trend with concussions and other injuries.
In addition to Dolph Ziggler missing time as he nurses his concussion, one of the WWE's top draws, CM Punk, will reportedly be out of action for much longer as he recovers from a number of real injuries. Like most of the wrestlers on the WWE roster, Punk wrestles and travels several days a week and for him to take off several months is significant.
At the least in the WWE, the days of "you don't wrestle, you don't get paid" appear to be over. Although the NFL truly set the tone with respect to treating concussions seriously, it's good to see professional wrestling getting on board as well. WWE fans would love nothing better than to see Dolph Ziggler "steal the show" at Extreme Rules in one of the most exciting types of matches in wrestling. But it's more important for Ziggler to be able to perform for WWE fans for years to come.
Patrick Michael lives in New Orleans and has always been a big fan of pro wrestling. Patrick's favorite wrestling promotion was Mid-South Wrestling back in the 1980s. Patrick's favorite wrestling angle of all-time was the NWO and his favorite wrestler is Roddy Piper. Follow Patrick Michael on Twitter at patmichael84.
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