Crime And Punishment

So this is what the world has come to? Giving your word that you’ll do something really doesn’t mean a damn thing so long as somebody with a bigger wallet is on the other side? And people wonder why society has degenerated into a cesspool of contracts and lawsuits.

I read the following this morning and pretty much gagged on my Pop Tarts:

“TNA will be removing Roderick Strong and Austin Aries from their bookings for at least the next several tapings and possibly as long as several months in a disciplinary move for willingly putting themselves in a position where they could have missed the Against All Odds PPV this past weekend, despite orders to skip a Ring of Honor event to travel to Florida.”

So these two guys, who had given a verbal commitment months ago to appear at an event for company A on Saturday (and had said appearance promoted as such), are being disciplined by company B, for whom they had a written agreement to appear on *Sunday*, based on the fact that even though they didn’t actually MISS their contracted appearance for company B, they *might* have. I know the answer to this question is an obvious and emphatic “NO!”, but don’t ethics mean anything anymore?

Look, I understand TNA wanting to protect their investment. But demanding that people knowingly screw over another company for no other reason than to assuage your fears is about as petty and sleazy as I can imagine. *Particularly* when you consider the fact that ROH is where both guys (along with Alex Shelley, Jay Lethal and Homicide… the three guys who actually DID skip the ROH show like TNA asked, breaking their word in the process) made their names. If it wasn’t for ROH, none of those five guys would currently have jobs with TNA. Yet TNA expects them to shit on ROH because TNA pays them slightly better (I assume) and has better national exposure? Another fine example of the Bigger Dick Theory at work in American business.

Let’s understand something here: this is not a case of TNA and ROH being booked on the same night. I could actually sympathize with the guys if TNA had scheduled a show for the same time as ROH and they needed to make a decision based solely on finance. “Sorry, ROH, but TNA is my bread and butter right now. I gotta go with them.” That didn’t happen here. TNA was Sunday. Yes, there was a big storm hitting the area where the ROH show was, but so what? So long as they make their scheduled appearance for TNA on Sunday – which they DID – how can TNA possibly be upset? Did TNA offer to pay them the money they would lose by not appearing for ROH? Even if they did, how much did they pay them to tarnish their own reputation by no-showing ROH?

Yes, yes, I know. This will all blow over in time. ROH will use all the guys again, (they’ve already re-scheduled Shelley’s World Title shot that was missed when he chose to skip on Saturday), and at the end of the day, no one’s reputations will be *that* damaged. This is pro wrestling after all. There is no such thing as ethics. And, yes, I’m insanely naïve for thinking that a person’s word or reputation actually has any value in the real world. But you know what? Fuck that, it matters to me. When I tell somebody I’m gonna do something, I’m gonna do it. And maybe that’s why I don’t have tons of money; and maybe that’s why I’m not rich and famous; and maybe all the cynical pricks of the world are laughing as they read this, but I couldn’t care less. Honor actually means something to me. It’s not just the name of a wrestling company. In my eyes, Austin Aries and Roderick Strong should be praised right now for keeping their word to ROH and then doing their damndest to do the same with TNA, rather then being slapped down because they refused to be less than honorable.

Money and fame can’t buy back integrity, no matter what the cynics say.

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