Since the 1920s, the state has regulated wrestling with rules and requirements in 2017 a new set of rules will be added. Some have said this will end most small wrestling organizations throughout the state. Are these rules really needed and what exactly are the rules?
The New York State Athletic Commission looks over the sport of professional wrestling, it has actually paired boxing along with wrestling. Because those two sports are so similar, because they both have a squared ring. I suppose that’s why they are paired together.
The commission has come up with a set of rules both for boxing and wrestling, those rules are to protect and promote safety. Some of those rules don’t really make sense, some make perfect sense. If you’re a fan of professional wrestling and not just the WWE, you can notice subtle changes when you visit different independent wrestling organizations that are located in different states.
Like I said most of these rules are designated to protect safety. One of these is the requirement of a doctor to be on hand at these New York state wrestling shows. That way wrestlers can get checked out prior to their matches and after their, in case they obtain any injuries or have a pre-existing injury.
This, of course, ups the money that has to be committed by those running the wrestling show, but it it’s an added factor to help ensure the safety of the wrestlers. You can easily argue how it’s an unneeded thing. But do you really want to put a wrestler out there who’s already injured and will further his injury?
While most of the rules associated with the commission are to regulate the boxing, yet those that regulate wrestling are quite well odd. For instance, they have a rule on which time the wrestling shows should end:
216.9 Time for commencement of wrestling programs. All wrestling cards shall commence no later then 8:30 p.m. unless otherwise authorized by the commission.
Yet while this has been part of the rule book for some time, there hasn’t been many shows I actually attended that this rule has been part of. A lot of the shows I’ve attended have ended much later than this time and some haven’t even started at this time.
There are other interesting rules that you tend to think, if you’re a wrestling fan, how could any of the bad guy wrestlers have made it in New York State. One of the great things Ric Flair has done was exit the ring, yet, this is one of the laws against that action.
216.18 Effect of wrestler leaving ring. No wrestler shall deliberately leave the enclosed ring during the course of an exhibition, and if the offense is repeated after once given warnings by the referee, a penalty fall will be scored against him or her by the referee.
There have been other violations of the laws and rules of the commission that I have witnessed first hand. Meaning that either the commission has lacked enforcing these or well, somehow nobody cares about the stated law. This next rule I will share…
This next rule I will share…
216.24 Wrestling manager may not be a promoter. No person licensed as a wrestling manager is permitted to act as a wrestling promoter without prior approval from the commission.
Has been violated numerous times as I’ve seen this occur numerous times. But maybe they mean real managers and not just a ringside cheerleader. But still, I’ve seen that violated numerous times.
One of the other rules that I either find funny, odd or one that hasn’t been put into place by a man of the wrestling organizations is this following one…
5. Every licensed promoter of professional wrestling who promotes six or more exhibitions in the state in a calendar year must have in place an anti-drug plan and file with the commission a written copy of the plan. Each such plan shall address the use of a controlled substance defined in article 33 of the public health law, and such plan shall at minimum provide for the following:
(a) dissemination of educational materials to professional wrestlers who perform for any such promoter including a list of prohibited drugs and available rehabilitation services; and
(b) a referral procedure to permit any such professional wrestler to obtain rehabilitation services.
The anti-drug world it’s part of this world whether you love it or hate it. One thing I’ve learned about professional wrestling especially on the independent wrestling scene that there are drugs involved. Either it is by the fans or the wrestlers themselves. This rule while it includes more than just marijuana it’s something that I doubt many wrestling organizations that run 6 or more shows actually partake in.
Obviously, with all these rules and laws much like those laws by other branches of government aren’t enforced as strictly as they should be. We have also seen more rules and laws coming into play every year and this year for the NYSAC world is no different. It’s also one of the major reasons for me writing this post. As within the previous week, it’s been reported that a series of new regulations are set to be enforced starting in the beginning of next year.
One of those laws includes the act of the bad guy wrestler, the new law states
In no event shall a participant be permitted to threaten, molest, hit or abuse, physically or verbally, any spectator, or engage in any conduct endangering the health, safety, or well being of any spectator during the course of a professional wrestling exhibition.
Yet, if you have read the current law, you’ll have read this…
No wrestler shall molest, hit or abuse any spectator, referee or judge, or engage in any unsportsmanlike conduct.
The new rule is much clearer yet states the same overall theme. So no real big change there.
There’s another rule about people renting promoter’s licenses which read as follows
Engaging in fraud or fraudulent practices, or for dishonest or misleading advertising, including representing a professional wrestling event as anything but an exhibition, availing the entity’s license to another, or for demonstrated untrustworthiness or incompetency in relation to the promotion or conduct of professional wrestling exhibitions
Which is basically like saying if you have a driver’s license it’s yours and nobody else’s. You shall not let the kid down the street use it so he can buy beer. A rule that I strongly agree with mainly because well, I don’t like to be lied to.
This next rule is something that many have been up in arms about, simply because they already have a doctor on hand but some reason think it’s absurd for this to be required as well
Prior to the commencement of any professional boxing or professional mixed martial arts card, the Commission shall designate a lead physician or physician coordinator and a treating hospital for that card. Prior to the commencement of the first match on the card, the lead physician or physician coordinator shall contact the designated treating hospital, review the location of the designated Commission area(s) at the venue, review and walk the evacuation route for transportation of an injured combatant from the ring to the onsite ambulance. The lead physician or physician coordinator shall provide a briefing on the foregoing to all ringside physicians present and designated to work on the card, prior to commencement of the first match.
So basically, they’re requiring companies to not only provide a doctor on hand but as well as an ambulance and a plan in place in case someone gets hurt. Which can not be a bad thing at all? Because if you’ve ever been in an emergency situation, yes, you ask if there’s a doctor on hand, but you always need to have an EMT as well. This is just common sense.
This next rule isn’t an updated rule, but Mike Johnson of PWInsider.com who’s post about the new rules have garnered so much attention. Brought up the fact that the following rule, which is currently on the books isn’t being changed or altered.
Age of participants and spectators. No person under the age of eighteen years shall participate in any professional boxing, sparring or professional wrestling match or exhibition, and no person under sixteen years of age shall be permitted to attend thereat as a spectator; provided, however, that a person between the ages of eight and sixteen shall be permitted to attend thereat as a spectator if accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Basically says that professional wrestling, boxing and even the now included Mixed Martial Arts people have to be a certain age to participate. Which isn’t something that people are crying about but the fact of the spectator’s age is. This rule is similar to the rules of movie theaters wherein they rate movies give them an R, PG or PG-13 rating and that kids must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Yet for some reason, people are livid about this rule. A rule that at a certain number of shows in Rome, New York should have been strictly enforced. But wasn’t. Children should be accompanied by a parent or guardian. A wrestling show is not a childcare center. These things that are performed inside the ring are dangerous, they’re violent.
Most of these new additions are just common sense. And most of the complaints people are making are mostly complaints about the old rules. Rules that haven’t been enforced nor probably will be.
The major new addition is the calling of the ambulance, which is again just common sense. Yes, this will cost more money, but it will make wrestlers want to come to your organization so they can feel safer. Also with the fact people can’t rent other people’s license you’ll see a better production. You’ll get less “Shindy” wrestling (a term for bad wrestling companies) companies and more organizations that want to make money and promote a good show.
Yes, you’ll have to charge the fans a little more, but maybe instead of bringing in a few dozen people you’ll bring in a few hundreds. It’s going to be tougher, you’ll have to have your own license, which costs money, you’ll have to obtain not only a doctor but an ambulance as well.
A lot of companies will go out of business, but I and most of you know that those companies shouldn’t be around anyways. Because even calling them companies are outlandish. You’ll have to be more of a business person and not a crook.
But before you judge me, the NYSAC or the companies that actually make it in this new face of professional wrestling in New York State remember you can either blame the powers to be or be like Macho Man Randy Savage at WrestleMania III and be the cream of the crop.
Before you go signing a peititon or marching on Albany to change these rules. Know that most of them have been in effect for years, and that most of them are to protect you the fan. Yes, small companies will go out of business. But like Macho Man said the cream of the crop will rise to the top.