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By Dave Scherer on 2023-11-20 19:19:00

Our own Anthony Pires has been on me to write a column about the blood porn that occurred during the Swerve Strickland-Hangman Page match at Full Gear, where they took blading and ingesting said blood to a new level of inhumanity.  AP told me as one of the only respected journalists (his words, not mine) that will call out things that are so, so wrong, while reporters close to Khan give him a pass, I had a duty.  

As he will tell you, I basically said, “What’s the point?”  I have called out Tony Khan for a lot of things over the years and he never listens to me.  He listens to the people who tell him how great he is, so why should I bother?

But what AP said did eat at me.  I had been thinking about how to actually say what needed to be said in a way where I didn’t come off like Jim Cornette on steroids (and I mean that in the best possible way and know that Jim might not have had any issue with what happened because he thinks the blade has a place in the business in 2023 while I sure as hell do not, especially when the guy booking it is Tony Khan, who doesn’t understand what makes color work).

Let me say this up front, what Page and Swerve did was so horrific and disgusting that it turned off super loyal AEW fans.  I was slammed with missives from the various platforms on Saturday night.  The common theme, other than all of the blood was disgusting, was “how could a man ingest another man’s blood”?  The easy answer is that they work for one of the worst bookers and promoters of all time, a guy who has shown that he learned nothing about making a business successful from his ultra-business legend father.  All he learned was how to get his father give him real money to bring his fantasy wrestling fed to life.  Human beings are now doing the things that fake people on paper never would, and feeling the repercussions of them.

Tony allowed the blood porn and he probably popped for it because it wouldn’t shock me to find out that he “booked” just such a scenario in one of the many “TV shows” that he wrote for his three man email group well before he got his father to give him the money to do it for real.

But still, what happened on Saturday mattered, in a big way.

Long time AEW fans told me that they will never spend money on the product again.

People who called me names that I can’t share here for years told me I was right about AEW and Tony all along.

So, tomorrow, I was going to pen a column.  I have come to accept that Tony is a truly bad booker and promoter, and I have given up thinking he can suddenly see the light and become competent.  I knew if I wrote the column, it would have probably gotten ugly.

Thankfully, I don’t have to do that.  JC Croyle was so upset about what he saw on Saturday that he sent us a column.  He did a Joe Friday and just shared the facts.  I understand that some out there might not care what he, and I, have to say but to all of you who felt disgusted by what you saw, you aren’t wrong.  You have the science and the facts on your side.  

And now, onto JC.


Why some of us have an issue with the blood-fest.

By JC Croyle

Saturday night I watched Hangman Page staple Swerve’s head and then quite literally drink his blood.  Some wrestling fans like violence for the sake of violence.  Some of us do not.  But in this particular case, and cases like it, I think wrestling fans should know some truths.  I train caregivers by day as my profession and write curricula for online courses.  Standard Precautions and First Aid are two of the main classes I teach. 

Bloodborne pathogens are viruses, bacteria, and other infectious agents that cause human disease and can be spread from human to human through exposure to infected blood. These pathogens include, but are not limited to, hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus that causes AIDS. 

If there is even the possibility that someone could take in a blood-borne virus, there are protocols to follow.  Whether you work at a hospital or a nursing home, play for the NFL or strike fear into your opponents in the squared circle, these precautions should be maintained. 

First, no one should be going out of their way to get another person’s blood into their system.  I am not at all saying Page or Strickland have any disease, and maybe they even got tested for bloodborne viruses before the match if they knew they were going to do that spot, but even then, it’s just is a scary idea to consider.

Here are some things that caregivers MUST follow to be in their position and many of these should be and can be taken up in wrestling:

·       If blood spills people should be wearing gloves (in this case especially the referee).

·       There should be an exposure plan on file and that exposure plan should be updated annually.

·       The place where the blood is coming from should be immediately addressed.  Even in a hardcore match, they could have stopped or had someone do a distraction while Strickland was put back together enough to stop the bleeding and continue the match.  Remember Finn during his Hell in a Cell Match with Edge?

·       Everyone should be using what we call standard precautions, which is basically that you treat everyone else as if they might have a disease to not catch one yourself.

·       Hepatitis vaccinations should be readily available if the wrestlers want one.

·       A post-exposure plan should be followed in the case of a blood-to-blood contact situation.

Now how does this play into wrestling?  Well…they should never have done that spot but let’s say it was just a happenstance.  Let’s say Hangman started bleeding from a scrape on a table and then Swerve happened to get some of that blood in his mouth.  Honestly, in any other profession the contest would stop right then and there but I get it, it’s wrestling and the show must go on.

Hangman Page when he got to the back should have gone directly to a hospital not for his bruises and injuries but for testing of any transfer.

Strickland should need to do the same because in this scenario you never know if there could be an issue. 

People backstage, whether on the crew or one of the wrestlers or Tony Khan himself, should immediately have placed on Protective Equipment.  At a minimum, gloves and preferably a mask. 

A blood spill kit should be used in the ring and the ring apron should be replaced before the next match (This may have occurred, but I don’t recall). 

Anyone involved, i.e. the referee or any other “run-in” wrestlers should also have gone to the “local medical facility” to be checked as well.

And everything from the ring to the back should have been disinfected top to bottom before the next match occurred including the dressing area of the wrestlers and bathrooms.

In 2023 there is no reason for this.  


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